I am super excited to share my tips for traveling with a baby bc it means that we survived our first family vacation!! What’s better, I’m happy to share that we actually had a fantastic time in Mexico and Isla was SUCH a good girl!! While it did take some serious preparation and brain power for packing (I’ve included my checklist for you in this post!), I can honestly say the pre-trip anxiety was way worse than anything we actually encountered while away. So, check out my tips for traveling with a baby below — I tried to group them in sequential order and hope this helps any fellow new mamas (which, by now you know, is basically my life goal lol). And the main thing before you read on, is to please remember to give yourself and your partner grace!! Traveling with a baby is tough and can be super intimidating but is so worth it for the memories!!
Would also just like to note that these tips are based on travel regulations out of Canada so may vary depending where you’re flying out from & also your destination. Also, that my daughter was just shy of 4 months when we went away, so some tips may be age dependant as well.**
+ if you’re wanting to maintain naps/sleeping as easily as possible, consider destinations with no time change. Either way it will be fine, but if you can, why not?
+ we booked a room that had an actual bedroom with a door and that proved to be really helpful for naps/bedtime so we could still move about normally in the living space. We also made sure our room had a tub for baths and a kitchenette area was a bonus for washing/prepping bottles! Not always possible but worth it to check the resort’s room options.
+ try to select flight times that aren’t super early or late to make it easier on yourself. It was nice that we didn’t have to be up at the crack of dawn or get in super late either.
+ don’t take flight times at face value – there are always delays and other aspects (like transfers) that add to your travel time so decide based on your baby’s age what’s realistic. For example, we didn’t want to exceed 5 hours for her first flight & wanted a place that wasn’t too far of a drive from the airport knowing she’d probably be tired & cranky at that point.
+ baby carrier through the airport if you’re able — reason being that you’re allowed to walk through security without unstrapping the baby so if they’re sleeping you don’t have to potentially wake them like if they’re in the stroller. Also, super nice to have free hands to navigate rolling your carry on, accessing passports, etc. (note: on the way home, the Mexican airport did make me take off the carrier).
+ anything you need for feeding the baby (water in bottles, formula, breast milk), is exempted from the regular 100ml liquid restriction. This is so key!! We had 6 bottles pre-filled with water so we could make Isla’s bottles on the plane and when we landed super quickly.
+ put anything for feeding in a separate bag altogether (I’ve seen some moms bring lunch boxes or coolers) OR like I did, just in ziplock bags in your diaper bag or carry on to make them easy to pull out for inspection/stay sanitary.
+ you get two free pieces that you can check at the plane, so use that for your car seat and stroller… we opted to get dropped at the airport in our own vehicle so we had the carseat but didn’t have to bring it with us, and just brought the stroller with the rumble seat attached (one less thing if you’re not going somewhere that you will be driving).
+ get travel cases for your stroller and carseat — unfortunately I can attest that the airline staff is definitely not gentle with and it will get banged up (our case is all scuffed).
+ try to get in a quick diaper change right before you board — you’ll probably still have to do at least one more depending where you’re headed, but the change tables in the plane washrooms are small AF and overall plane washrooms just freak me out lol (germaphobe).
+ main thing I was worried about was Isla’s ears during take off and landing — whether the pressure will bug them is not something you can control, but have a bottle or Paci ready because if it does the sucking will help!! (a paci clip is helpful for the whole trip, too!).
+ bring antibacterial wipes to wipe down your trays, arm rests, seats, etc. I did a full wipe down as soon as we boarded bc inevitably your baby will touch things and then put their hands in their mouths (again, germaphobe).
+make sure baby is dressed in layers bc the plane gets cold! & bring a change of clothes for accidents & one to change into once you get to warmer temps.
+ first off, give yourself and your partner a f*kken pat on the back!
+ secondly, just accept your trip will look different with a baby there, and your schedule will largely revolve around their needs and moods. That’s more than OK and you will still have fun!!
+ set up a sleep & change station — this will make your regular daily routine easier and IMO help your baby get comfortable in their temporary environment. If you saw my stories, we used a piece of foam and extra change pad for ours, and brought a slumberpod for blacking out the crib.
+ try to maintain your naps even if they look different – in the stroller while you walk around, on a beach chair, etc. etc. It will just make bedtime less tough if they’re not overtired.
+ take advantage of early dinner resos and room service! We certainly did and it was great. We still tried every restaurant on the resort but being open to other options will save you stress.
+ if you’re bottle feeding at all, and are in a destination where the regular water is not safe for drinking, stock pile bottled water from the hotel for boiling and use that for washing and prep. Hot tip from my doctor: letting used bottles sit increases germ build up so wash them as soon as you can!
+ the main question I got on social re: traveling with a baby, is how did we manage with Isla in the sun (also a big concern of mine before we left) – since you can’t use sunscreen before 6 months, we avoided 12-3PM outdoors unless we were in a shaded area, kept beach time to early morning or late afternoon, and used a hat/rashguard with SPF when we were taking her out to the water.
Lastly, see below for my extra AF baby travel checklist, and let me know any of your thoughts/ tips for traveling with a baby in the comments! x