After sharing our road trip essentials and after several trips with Harlee, many of you asked me to pull together a post with my tips. Alan and I are not professionals, but we’ve learned a few things during our travels with Harlee. Another note is that Harlee has been an easy traveler. What does that mean? Well, she’s flexible with her nap times, feeding schedule, and does not fuss too much when in the car for hours at a time. We plan road trips and schedule a lot of the driving during her nap time and flights are generally evening flights so she sleeps during the long haul. There are a few things that I think make traveling with a baby much, much easier and this is what I’m sharing below.
Tips for Traveling with a Baby
Invest in a Travel Stroller. The Babyzen Yoyo+ is hands down the best stroller for travel and for daily errands and walks around town. The Babyzen Yoyo+ folds into a small carry on size that fits in the overhead bin on an airplane. I also keep it in my car for daily use since it doesn’t take up any space and I can load up the car with other essentials. If you love customizing, the Babyzen comes with a variety of colorpacks.
Adjust to your new time zone. There is an endless debate about this, but I think it’s best to adjust your baby to your new time zone. I keep naps, bedtime, and feeding at the same time but on the new time zone. I prefer this option because it allows for everyone on the trip to keep some sense of normalcy (e.g. babe isn’t waking up at 4am on East Coast time because she wakes up at 7am in Los Angeles). Traveling all day with a baby throws everyone for a loop, so I just go with the flow and have the baby adjust.
Pack the essentials in a Backpack. Traditional diaper bags are popular, but the practical option is a backpack. This one from Itzy Ritzy fits all of the essentials, plus it’s comfortable and easy to carry around all day. I’m still surprised by how much I’m able to fit in this backpack without slowing myself down. Plus it has straps and hooks so you can hang from a stroller easily. A backpack is easier for flights and road trips and can easily fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. You can also unzip the backpack when laying flat and see what you have stored without making a mess!
If you’re traveling to family, friends, or anywhere that has stores, buy at your destination. That means don’t pack a huge supply of diapers in your checked baggage. Pack enough for the flight and for the first day or two, but buy the rest when you arrive at your destination. This goes for formula and other bulky items like wipes and food packets. I learned this on our trip to visit Alan’s family in Michigan. Harlee required the largest suitcase and it ended up being filled up with diapers, wipes, formula, baby food and there was no room for anything else. On our trip to Hawaii, we packed enough for the flight there and the first day, and then hit up the local store to buy what we needed.
Feed the babe during takeoff and landing. This is the most important thing when it comes to being on a plane with a baby for hours. Even if you’re nursing, have a bottle of formula or breastmilk ready to go. Although Harlee was a champion nurser, as soon as we got on the plane, it was as if she had never nursed before. Fortunately, we had a bottle ready to go and we gave her the bottle during take off. This helps the baby adjust to the pressure changes. Honestly, travel is not the time to be pious, do what makes your baby comfortable!
Pack extra and then more for the flight. Pack extra diapers, formula or breastmilk, change of clothes for everyone, and snacks. Some people swear their babes have explosive episodes on flights, but Harlee has been the opposite (thankfully)! But I still packed 3 diapers per hour of travel. I also packed 3 extra outfits for her and extra tees for myself and Alan. When Harlee was 3 and 6 months old, she would nap most of the flight, so Alan and I took turns carrying her in a baby carrier. It keeps your hands free and baby happy, but you do get sweaty after a few hours so having an extra top is key.
Don’t stress, be flexible, and have fun. This is most important. Just take it easy; you’re traveling with a baby. If you’re stressed, the baby will pick up on it and fuss. Alan and I have always agreed to be a team and that we both need to be calm and flexible. There will be people who stare or grumble, but they would do it regardless of whether you’re traveling with a baby or wearing a pink tee – they are just going to be grumpy.