Have Baby, Will Travel: Tips for Your First Trip with an Infant
When you’re a new parent, even trips to the grocery store can seem daunting — let alone a family vacation. But with some planning, lots of flexibility and a little help, you can travel like a pro with your infant.
Choose a hotel that caters to families, and the front-desk staff can help you set up your stay to make it as comfortable as possible. Call before your trip, and request a room on the top floor that’s away from the elevator (this will reduce any foot-traffic noise). Ask for a crib if you need one, and find out what access you have to laundry facilities — just in case. And don’t be afraid to request any amenities, such as extra towels, that you would like to have upon arrival. Small luxuries are extra comforting when you’re traveling with an infant — if you’re well cared for, you can do an even better job of focusing on your baby’s needs.
Packing for baby
Pack more clothes than you think your baby will need — they don’t take up much room, and you never know when a baby will soil their outfit. Be sure to include some warm outfits, even in a warm weather destination, where air-conditioning can still make it feel chilly inside. If you have room in your bag for a crib sheet from your baby’s bed, bring it — the familiar feel and smell can soothe a little one.
A few night lights are also worth the space in your bag. And if you are flying, pack an extra outfit for the baby and a shirt for you in a carry-on luggage in case of spit up during the flight. What to leave at home? Toys — very young babies don’t really need them, and they just take up valuable space.
Taking your time
Whether you are flying or road-tripping with your baby, give yourself extra time so you don’t feel rushed. For road trips, stop often to feed the baby, stretch your legs and get some fresh air. You might consider breaking long drives into shorter chunks, even stopping for a night along the way to make the trip more leisurely.
Flying with baby
Make flying with a baby easier with these simple tips. If possible, wear your baby in a carrier, and check the stroller and car seat (most airlines won’t charge you extra for these items) — this makes it easier to move through the airport. Track your flight from home, and give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and move through security without being too early if there’s a delay.
Instead of boarding the plane early, consider waiting until later so that you are spending the minimum amount of time on board with the baby. (If you are traveling with someone else, have them go on board first with all the bags.) And plan to feed your baby during take off and landing, because this will relieve pressure on little ears.
Making your hotel feel like home
Once you’re at your hotel, you can do some simple hacks to re-create the feeling of home. When you check in, confirm that the crib has been brought to your room and make sure the person at the front desk knows you have a baby with you and need peace and quiet. Hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign when you get to your room so that no one knocks on the door when you are trying to nurse or put the baby down for a nap.
Before you go to sleep, plug in those night lights you so cleverly packed. Install a noise machine application on your phone, and use it to keep your room as peaceful as possible.
With these tips, you will hopefully enjoy your first travels with your baby and set the stage for years of shared memories on the road together.