Traveling with a baby can be intimidating, to be sure- where to go? What to pack? Will she nap?
I am no stranger to the complications of traveling with my wee one, and the guilt that sometimes accompanies it. On one particularly hot trip to Santorini, I overheard comments from fellow travelers about how shocked they were that anyone would bring their baby out on such a hot day (I guess they’d never experienced a Texas heat wave!)
Still, even after some hiccups along the way, I’d recommend traveling with a baby to anyone. It’s a great way to teach your child about the world! Here are a few of the things I’ve learned to make life just a little easier with baby;
1.) Pack light
I know, I know, most babies don’t travel light and it seems stupid to suggest otherwise. Obviously you can’t leave out the items that are vital, like a carseat if you plan on driving. But as I stated in my post on flying with a baby which you can read here, cutting out the nonessentials makes the trip much less stressful. Mostly, I cut out the gear— a pack and play can often be procured wherever you are staying and using a stroller isn’t always feasible anyway while traveling— and pack clothing, supplies, and toys as efficiently as piossible. Having to lug items to the airport, through the airport, to your location, and then keep track of them during your trip is not usually worth the added benefit of having the items!
2.) Dress in layers
Even in the coldest of climates, baby might get too warm if they are being worn around under mom’s snuggly jacket. A hot day may cool off quickly after sundown. Going in and out of doors and being out from morning until evening usually means that baby may need to adjust their wardrobe a bit throughout the day.
3.) Plan some baby-friendly activities
A few stops at the local parks can do wonders for morale! It can also be a great way to observe local culture. Pools, children’s museums, a quick look around the toy store, or simply a chance to get down and play can all provide some respite for your wee one and make all the difference in your day. Even a young baby can benefit from a brief, child-centric stop in the midst of tours! One of Leila’s favorite stops was the Turkish baths in Hungary, where she enjoyed an afternoon of swimming and was refreshed for more sight-seeing!
4.) Plan your meals strategically
My husband and I generally either a.) eat dinner a little early or b.) make lunch our big meal out and do a quick dinner/ grab takeout. We tend to prioritize staying somewhere that offers (free!) breakfast, or staying somewhere where we can make our own. We also try to have options in mind in case baby has had enough walking around for the day. Nothing is worse than stumbling your way through a strange city in search of food for too overly hungry adults with a grumpy baby in toe!
5.) Get out early
We have shifted our travel days to get out as early as possible and see as much as we can before nightfall. That doesn’t mean that we never get to do drinks after dinner or stroll around at night— it just allows us a bit more flexibility when we see the sights we most want to take in during the times of day we are relatively sure that baby will be in a good mood. Besides, grabbing a bottle of wine and some cheese from a local shop to enjoy after you put baby down? Those are some of my best travel memories 🙂
I know I’ve learned a lot about traveling with a baby through trial and error, so hopefully these tips can help you avoid some of my mistakes! Now I want to hear from you— what are the most useful pieces of advice you’ve received about traveling with a baby? Any success stories to share?