Travel: We usually think of a chill getaway where we can meander about as we please, resting on a tropical beach. Travelling with a baby though? An entirely different story!
Travelling with a baby or toddler isn’t relaxing. That is a fact. That doesn’t mean it isn’t still fun, and that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it! You have to set your expectations accordingly, and be flexible. It will require a lot of planning, but the better prepared, the more smoothly things will go.
Some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these, I may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you!).
While most of my travels were before I had my first son, I have still been able to travel plenty since then. After road trips, flights, and international trips too, these are the best tips for travelling with a baby I can offer! :
Pack the right gear- Possibly the best tip for travelling with a young one is to pack strategically! Come prepared with the right supplies so your child is entertained by “new” items, and comfortable enough to actually sleep while on the road. Here are a few of my favorite travel products for babies or toddlers:
1.) Pack & Play– This is the baby’s crib, but one that folds down to a manageable size. Some airlines will also allow these to be checked for free to your destination. Some hotels will have cribs, but in my experience most do not. Also, check here for my other suggested baby sleep products for travel.
2.) Slumber Pod– This is like a tent that goes over your crib (or Pack & Play) so that your child can have a dark, quiet place to sleep. These are especially useful for staying in hotels because without this, once your baby goes to bed you are stuck in the dark room (unless you want to hang out in the bathroom all night!). With the slumber pod, you can keep the lights on in the room, and your child won’t know it.
3.) Mini Voyager Toys– Perfect for a flight or a road trip, these toys are specially curated to keep your child entertained and engaged during travel. This is a small business that I love to support, and you can pick and choose which specific items you’d like!
4.) Car Seat Cover(for airplane)- If you’ll be flying, and can’t bring your car seat on the flight with you, make sure to cover it with this before checking it to your destination. Speaking of, make sure to ask the gate agents at your flight, because sometimes airlines will allow you to bring your car seat on board for free if there is space. This is obviously better than having to keep your child on your lap the whole flight! Click to see my list of other very helpful baby travel products.
5.) “New Toys”– Whether your trip is 1 hour or 10, having new toys to entertain your child will be one of the best survival tactics you can use! Click to see a few of my favorite baby/toddler travel toys.
6.)“Comfort Aids”– During a long flight, if your baby isn’t able to be in their car seat, having a sleep or “comfort aid” can be a game-changer. This blow up foot rest is a common solution, however my advice is to always check with the airline first, because some allow certain inflatable products (or things that would be on the ground), while others do not. For example, United Airlines does not allow anything that would be on the ground, even in a window seat.
One product we used on a recent flight to the UK was the “Seat to Sleep” pillow. This is an inflatable “body” pillow my toddler used it to sleep on the flight. It was a great find, and especially useful if you can’t use products that touch the ground.
Take It Slow- One of the main things to keep in mind when travelling with a baby or toddler is that you won’t be able to do and see as much in a day as you might be used to in previous travels. You are now at the whim of your child and their needs. If you mentally prepare, and know that you can still explore and have fun (but just at a slower pace) that will help. Flexibility is the key!
When I traveled to Kanab, Utah with my son at 9 months old, we sadly did not listen to this advice. We packed too much into each day, and the result was a fussy baby and cranky parents. If possible, wait to book things like day-trips or excursions until you are there, in case you need to move things around in your schedule.
Bring Extra Supplies + Use Packing Cubes- You may try to pack everything you need into your car or suitcase, but most likely you’ll need to shop for supplies at your destination. Keep in mind that some more touristy cities will have escalated prices on staples like diapers, wipes, or baby food- so try to pack as many extra supplies as you can. One thing I do sometimes is to pack diapers and wipes into the base of my stroller – the airlines will typically have you “gate check” these, so why not consolidate?
My other tip for travelling with a baby or toddler is to stay organized! It’s very frustrating when you desperately need something but can’t find it in your bag. I am a huge fan of using packing cubes to keep baby items and clothing organized.
Have a Quality Stroller- After a recent trip to Scotland with my toddler, I now also have a new favorite stroller: The Inglesina Quid. It is very compact and surprisingly lightweight, but still sturdy enough to handle cobblestone and other bumpy surfaces. It folds down and back out super easily too! It also can fit in an airplane overhead bin, if the airline lets you bring the stroller onto the plane (most of the time they sadly force you to “gate check” it, but sometimes you get lucky!).
Make Use of Baby Gear Rental Services- An emerging trend, renting baby gear is something I wish I knew about sooner! Using services such as Baby Quip, you can pack light, but still have everything you need once you arrive to your vacation. For example, if you’re flying to a beach house in Miami, you can use this service to have items delivered to your rental/hotel. It’s so convenient to have bulky items like a crib, stroller, or high chair brought right to your door! This makes the airport process MUCH easier.
If it fits in your budget, set up a local grocery delivery with a nearby store as well, and get food and other supplies brought right to your door. This can cut back on wasting time at unfamiliar stores, and you’ll be heading to a fully stocked hotel or rental.
Keep organized– Make use of my detailed packing list for travelling with a baby or toddler. Enter your email below to get my custom packing list PDF sent right to your inbox! Thanks for checking out my best tips for travelling with a baby!