If you’ve ever experienced travelling with a baby or a small child, you know how hard it is to get them to be compliant. Sometimes, it even becomes challenging just to get them to settle down. However, going on a trip with your children doesn’t always have to be the super terrible experience it’s put out to be. If you know how to handle your little one, then your trip will be among the most peaceful in your recent memory. To help you with that, here’s a checklist of the things you need to consider when traveling with the newer members of the family.
The first thing you need to make sure of jetting off on a holiday with the little ones is that you’ve packed all of the essentials, and then some. Make sure that you’ve packed plenty of diapers and changes of clothes in case any “accidents” occur. We advise that you bring lots of your kids’ favorite snacks as well. A baby with a full stomach is a sleepy baby, and if your baby is fast asleep, there’s no way they’re going to make noise. Not only will you be saving yourself from headache, the people sharing the plane with you will also be thankful.
The Right Spot on the Airplane
It would be better to have your child sit next to the window on a long flight so they can be entertained throughout most of the flight. You can also make use of toys and books to distract your baby on a long flight. On shorter flights, we recommend sitting with your child near the aisle. This is so you can easily access the rest room in case a change of clothes or diapers is needed. Remember, you need to get to the rest room first. You wouldn’t want to hold a crying baby with a full diaper as you wait for the long line at the loo.
If your baby doesn’t have his own seat on the plane, try to ask for one – chances are the airline will oblige if there’s one available. It’s a great feeling to be able to sit next to your child during a trip, especially a longer one. If possible, request for an empty seat next to you on the plane even if your baby already has a seat of his or her own. This will give you more space to take care of your baby. Not only that, it will also spare another person the potential headache of sitting next to a crying baby for the whole flight. It’s worth spending an extra bit of money to be as comfortable as possible on a plane ride, especially if your little one isn’t used to travelling.
You should also take the baggage restrictions of your flight into consideration. Some won’t allow items that are larger than a certain size, while others won’t permit items that are heavier than a set weight. If need be, go and purchase some extra baggage allowance so you can bring important things like infant seats along. Some seats are designed for air travel and can actually be fitted onto the seats of the plane. If you’re going on a road trip instead of flying on an airplane, it makes it all the more important that you get the best car seat you can afford.
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A Good Quality Car Seat
Even if you’re going to fly to your destination, at some point you’re probably going to ride in an airport shuttle or taxi. It makes all the difference in terms of your child’s comfort if he or she gets to ride in a car seat during these parts of the trip. In fact, some countries have made it mandatory for children to be secured in car seats when they’re in a moving vehicle. To save space, try looking for convertible car seats. If you’re renting a car, some already come with a child’s car seat. Call the rental company ahead of time to see if there are any more of these vehicles available. If you’re lucky, you’ll find one with a car seat that fits your baby just right.
A Comfortable Stroller or Carrier
You should also think through what kind of baby stroller you’ll bring for the trip, or whether or not you’ll bring a stroller in the first place. For shorter and more relaxed trips, you could pack a lightweight umbrella stroller. This type of baby stroller is light and can be folded up for easy storage. If you’re going to a lot of touristy places to go sightseeing with your baby, we recommend bringing a full size stroller with you, as these tend to be more durable. Aside from being longer lasting, these larger strollers are more comfortable for your child.
Other parents prefer having their little ones tag along in a wearable baby carrier instead of a stroller. The advantage of this is that you won’t have to push a large contraption around, which means that you’ll be able to move more freely. There’s also less of a chance of accidentally bumping your child into hazards on the road. As an added bonus, your baby will love the feeling of constantly being close to a parent. However, a downside to this is that you may experience strain on your shoulders and back after carrying your baby for too long.
The Right Accommodations
Once you get to your destination, you want to make sure that you got the proper accommodations. Not all hotels are equipped for baby visitors, so it’s best to call ahead. Before booking a stay at a hotel, make sure that there is a crib or baby bed in the room you’re looking to get. You should also ask if the hotel has kid-friendly amenities such as a play area and a kiddie pool. If you can, get a room at the corner of the hotel. This lessens the number of people that will be disturbed if your baby suddenly decides to throw a fit, especially at night.
Items for A Good Night’s Sleep
Another thing you should have on your checklist when traveling with a small child are things that make her sleep more comfortable. For instance, you can bring their favorite blanket or stuffed animal along, so they’ll still feel at home in the hotel or AirBnB you’re staying in. If your baby has a hard time sleeping in unfamiliar places, it wouldn’t hurt to lie down next to them for a couple of minutes to allow them to fall asleep. You can gently move from their bed to yours once they’ve dozed off.
Whether you like it or not, your baby’s sleep schedule is most probably going to get messed up if you travel to a foreign country. They’re just not that up for the sudden change in time zones. Accept that it’s just a part of life and stay up with your baby, even if they decide to become wide awake at an ungodly hour. If you’re traveling with your significant other, it can make things a little bit easier since you can take turns watching the baby as the other one sleeps. You can also try changing your baby’s sleep schedule at home before going on holiday.
Your Baby’s Favorite Food
You wouldn’t want your baby to go hungry, so bring an ample amount of food with you, especially if the little one doesn’t take a liking to local cuisine. To lessen the hassle of packing and save space, you may want to consider breastfeeding your child. Studies have shown that this is actually healthier for younger children compared to the bulky bottles and formulas you may bring along. Don’t worry about it being awkward. Fewer people care than you might think. In most cases, not a single soul would mind you’re breastfeeding your child. This is also ideal if you’re traveling to a country that’s rampant with bacteria and foodborne illnesses.
Similar to your baby’s sleeping schedule, you shouldn’t worry about following your baby’s feeding times to the letter while you’re in a foreign location. If your child is hungry, they’ll let you know by crying or asking for food if they can already talk. Otherwise, the meals can wait for a little bit longer so you can enjoy what the place you’re going to has to offer. You don’t need to spend the majority of your time on vacation trying to get your baby to eat even if they’re still full from their last meal just a short while ago. Don’t make your baby eat food they don’t like. It’s just going to be a waste of both your time.
If you do plan on bringing your child along to a restaurant or café, don’t do so at peak hours. For instance, if you’re having dinner with your baby, go earlier than 6 or 7 PM. This minimizes the amount of people that will be disturbed by any sudden outbursts. This also gives you ample time to feed your baby, especially if he or she is a picky eater. If you can endure being hungry for a bit, wait for your baby to fall asleep before heading out for a meal. Just make sure that someone will be there to attend to your baby in case anything happens.
A Qualified Caretaker
Speaking of having someone to care for your baby while you’re on holiday with them, we also advise looking for baby sitters or nannies that are local to the area. There are times when you and your significant other would want to be free from the responsibilities of taking care of a child. You may want to have a few hours to yourselves to go on a fancy dinner date or a tour of a museum. Only browse through trusted sources and carefully read reviews if you’re looking for caretaker services online. If you know people who’ve already travelled with their children to the country you’re going to, ask for their recommendations.
Aside from a qualified caregiver, you should also look for the nearest medical personnel from the place where you’ll be staying. Of course, we wouldn’t hope for anything bad to happen to your little one, but of course it’s better to be safe than sorry. For instance, your child may get an allergy he’s never had in your home country or he may be bitten by an unfamiliar insect. If ever a medical emergency happens, at least you’ll know who to go to. It would also be a good idea to get travel insurance so you can get these expenses easily reimbursed.
Things to Keep Your Baby Clean
Even if you’re concerned about your baby getting sick on your trip, you shouldn’t be such a neat freak around them. Let them explore and learn about things they wouldn’t usually encounter back home. You definitely don’t need to wash their hands after every single thing they touch. However, you should have a bottle of hand sanitizer ready if your child has a tendency to swallow their fingers. Other than that, we advise that you let your little ones have a chance to roam around. In moderation, exposure to foreign objects may even be good for their immune system in the long run.
Like with breastfeeding, you can also change a diaper anywhere. Just as long as you dispose of your baby’s soiled diapers properly, no one would really mind. A blanket would work just fine as a changing surface as opposed to bringing a bulky changing mat. Plus, this won’t take as much space in your baggage. Don’t obsess about bathing your little one regularly, too. If you didn’t do a lot of outdoor activities with them, they won’t get particularly dirty. A simple wipe down will do if your child doesn’t want to take a bath in their new environment.
Those are just a few of the things you need to bring when you’re going on a trip with your little one. Accept that there are some things that are simply going to be out of your control and don’t stress over every little detail. Instead of overthinking, just let go and enjoy your vacation.