15 Tips for Traveling With A Baby
We have had a whirlwind travel schedule this past month. Olivia has been coast to coast, and we are loving traveling with her. It is so exciting seeing new places through her eyes. Traveling with a baby obviously comes with many challenges. However, we are learning as we go with Olivia, and we feel like we are slowly but surely becoming experts in baby travel. I’ve put together this quick list of my top tips for traveling with a baby 0-6 months old.
Most photos in this post were taken by a Flytographer. Love this company!
Navigating the Airport
01. Wear Your Baby
In my opinion, it’s so much easier than a stroller. You can move about the airport easily, and generally be quicker and more nimble in a time crunch. Plus, babies love to be close to you. We have found that she naps and sleeps great in the carrier. I know this won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a try because it’s magical in tight spaces like a plane. We love the Baby Bjorn. We check our stroller & car seat with our luggage, and that makes navigating around the airport and getting on the plane much more efficient.
I purchased a few cheap travel bags from Amazon for our car seat and stroller, since the airlines are so hard on this stuff. HERE are the bags I purchased.
Note: Our car seat clips into our stroller…this is key! This car seat is easy to buckle into a car, uber, or taxi when traveling.
02. Breastfeed if you can
It obviously makes it easier as you have less gear to deal with. It also helps with altitude change for baby’s ears. I always dress for breast feedings…easy access! Plus, putting Olivia on the boob always helps calm her down in any situation. If you do not breastfeed, no worries, you just have to be organized. I pack bottles with formula ready to go. Once we get on the plane I immediately mix a bottle. I ask the flight attendant when I get on for a cup of hot water. I pour half hot water/half cold bottled water…it seems to make the perfect combo and it is quick. (Obviously, check the temp before giving it to baby.)
03. Altitude adjustment
Baby ears are just like our ears, and they pop when changing altitude. A pacifier is perfect to help babies suck while their ears pop. You could also use a bottle, boob, or a thumb as well. We also use a pacifier clip when traveling to avoid it falling on the floor all of the time.
04. Priority Boarding, Security, and Customs
In almost all flight situations, people with babies can board early to get settled. We have learned it works best for us to send my husband on first with all the stuff, get settled, and get a bottle ready. Baby and I are always the last on the plane. We found this works great as it gives her less time in a confined space. And, if she is throwing a fit during boarding, it’s no big deal in the noisy airport as opposed to sitting on the plane. TSA Pre-Check is crucial in my opinion. You get through security quickly without taking out your laptop, liquids, or taking off your shoes.
05. Trash can be toys
I try to pack as light as possible on the plane. I bring a few small items, but honestly (we quickly learned), A.) she cannot tell the difference between an empty water bottle and a real toy, and B.) she prefers the empty water bottle over the toy. This saves us from carrying and buying a bunch of useless things she won’t use.
06. Dave & Ava App
Some people are anti-screens entirely. I get that. We certainly aren’t those parents who shove her in front of a TV or computer as a babysitter or for recreational activity. But, when you are stuck on an airplane, experience unexpected delays, or you are on a long car ride, survival is key. I have no problem playing her favorite nursery rhymes with the Dave & Ava app. You can download all of the nursery rhyme videos ahead of time, and then no wifi will be necessary in those unexpected situations.
07. Take as little baby gear as possible
See below for my minimalist baby travel essentials. The lighter you travel, the easier your life will be. It is exhausting hauling around a bunch of items you don’t actually need and trying to pack and unpack all these items, especially if you are moving around during your trip like we do. Below I cover what I pack in all of our bags. Babies really don’t need as much as we’ve been led to believe they do. They need to eat, they need their diapers changed, and they need a safe place to sleep. One way to avoid having too many bags is to share suitcases. I pack Olivia and myself in one suitcase. This also helps when ordering a taxi or renting a car from the airport that can hold all your items. Our luggage list includes:
- One bag for Olivia & I
- Doc-a-tot, you can purchase a travel bag, I highly recommend (which is helpful for overflow items on the way home & is light-weight)
- My husband brings a carry-on luggage bag
- Diaper bag
- Stroller + car seat
08. Don’t travel with a lifetime supply of diapers
If you have a long vacation coming up I would ship my diapers through www.diapers.com to my destination, or buy them when you get there. They can take up so much space. I pack enough for the first few days and then ship depending on how many days we are gone.
09. The doc-a-tot
I may sound redundant about the doc-a-tot, but it has been the #1 best purchase that we have made. It may not work for everyone, but we have found that this is key to a good nights’ sleep on the road. The doc-a-tot is lightweight and so very easy to travel with (make sure to buy the travel bag). Olivia knows this is her bed no matter where we are. It smells like her and makes sleeping feel familiar when we are in a foreign place. Most importantly, I know she is safe in here and she feels safe. This helps us avoid always needing a pack-and-play or crib in every hotel room. Plus, when we have been in a bind, we can put the doc-a-tot between us in bed.
10. Blowouts…they happen
Bring extra clothes for everyone and something to put the soiled items in. Be prepared to change diapers anywhere! I also always have these head to toe wipes in my bag.
11. Travel with a backpack to free up your hands
I love our Fawn Design backpack for traveling. The backpack makes it much easier to use both hands while holding a baby. When baby and I travel by ourselves, this is a must.
12. Sound machine on your phone
Instead of packing a sound machine, download one to your phone. We love the Sleep Pillow app. We have been using it since Olivia was born. It’s conveniently located on my phone, and it helps with sleeping in an unknown place.
12. Look into local babysitters or nanny services for date nights.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me about this. We have left Olivia with a sitter a few times while traveling. I always reach out to friends or acquaintances I may know in the area. Usually, they have a friend of a friend who has a great nanny. I always call/facetime with them before we leave for our trip, just to see if I will initially be comfortable. The second option, most reputable hotels have great nanny services available. No matter what, who you leave your baby with is a matter of personal judgment. If you do not feel comfortable…don’t do it!
13. Ask for a crib or pack’n play at the hotel
We put her doc-a-tot in the crib, it works great for hanging out, napping, or sleeping!
14. Do laundry on the road
I try to launder a few of Olivia’s items while traveling. This helps cut back on the amount of clothes and blankets that I need to pack.
15. Don’t worry too much about the nap schedule
Olivia has learned to sleep everywhere and anywhere, which makes it easy to get in a few naps while we travel. Granted these naps are not like the ones at home, but babies adjust.
Minimalist Baby Packing List
The Diaper Bag + Carry On Packing List
- Wipes + Full body wipes
- Burp Cloth
- Baby hat
- Diaper Cream
- Breastfeeding shawl
- Pacifiers + Pacifier Clip
- Disposable diaper changing pads
- Plastic bag for soiled clothes
- Extra clothes
- Blanket -- love the swaddles for traveling
- "Toys" -- we usually carry a few small toys that will keep her amused
- Bottles + formula
- Baby Carrier
- Hand Sanitizer
For the Suitcase + Checked Luggage
- Breast pump or more formula + bottles
- Extra burp clothes
- Baby clothes (jammies, onsies, bibs, shoes, hats, ect)
- Extra blankets-- I bring one swaddle per day + her favorite night time blanket
- Nose aspirator + saline spray
- Baby lotion + baby body wash
- A few small books
- A few days worth of diapers and wipes
My Favorite Baby Gear
02. Baby Bjorn
08. These disposable diaper changing pads
10. Mam pacifiers
11. Nose Frida — love this
12. Jet Kids Bed Box — I don’t have this yet, but it’s on my list for a few upcoming trips.
13. In the pocket baby seat — Also do not have this yet, but as she gets older this would be helpful.