Tips for Traveling with a Baby for the First Time

Tips for Traveling with a Baby for the First Time

Traveling with a baby for the first time can be a nerve wracking and daunting experience, but with careful planning and preparation, it can go very smoothly. Here are some helpful tips to guide you through preparing for your trip, what to do while you’re in transit, and how to handle things once you’ve arrived at your destination. 

Plan Ahead

Book Travel Well In Advance

  • As soon as you know potential travel dates, start looking for airfare, accommodations, car rental companies and local amenities in the surrounding area.
  • Make a copy of your baby’s birth certificate and bring it with you as the airline or customs agent may ask to see it. Check to see if your baby will need a passport or visa to travel to your destination. Obtaining a passport can take months and you will need time to prepare the required documents for the application.
  • Let the airline know that you are traveling with a baby. This is required even if your baby is under 2 years and flying as a “lap baby”. You will receive advance boarding privileges. If you are traveling globally, some airline carriers may offer you a bassinet for your baby to sleep in. Additionally, they may have diapers and/or baby bottles on hand and hot water to warm up your milk.
  • Do your research for kid friendly hotels or vacation home rentals.  Look for places that offer amenities such as roll-in cribs, high chairs, booster seats, lactation rooms or other services that will be helpful to you and your baby. Be sure to ask if the lodging/car rental company partners with a local baby rental company so that you do not have to worry about leaving your larger baby gear behind. Typically, big brand names are available for rent in many destinations around the globe. Check to see if your accommodation is in a convenient location and within walking distance to convenience stores, restaurants and a local park/playground .

Packing Essentials

  • Be sure to overpack important baby essentials such as diapers, wipes, breast milk and/or baby formula, PopYum baby bottles, pacifiers, and clothing. This will prepare you for unexpected travel delays at the airport or in the car. 
  • Another essential is your light cotton/linen baby blankets; not only used for warmth but act as great sun shades over strollers and car seats, as well as floor mats for impromptu diaper changing and playmats.
  • Bring a first aid kit. Be sure to include bandaids, infant pain reliever with the syringe dispenser, thermometer, antiseptic pads, saline wipes and a nasal aspirator. 
  • Comfort and activity items from home, such as their favorite stuffed animal, toys, books or blanket, may help babies feel more comfortable away from home. 

Health and Safety 

  • Before traveling with a baby for the first time, it would be a good idea to consult your pediatrician about any health concerns. If you are able to purchase travel Insurance, it may also be a good idea in case your baby needs medical care away from home. 

Heading to Destination

At the Airport

  • Arrive early to give yourself extra time to handle check-in, security, and boarding. In case you need to attend to your baby’s needs before take-off, you will be less stressed having extra time before your flight.
  • You may want to consider checking-in your baggage so you have a minimal amount of items with you when navigating the airport with your baby. A light backpack comes into good use, as well as a baby carrier or light fold up stroller. 
  • Change your baby’s diaper before the flight so s/he will have a fresh diaper to be comfortable during the flight. 
  • Airlines will generally give priority boarding to those traveling with infants, so take advantage of family boarding if offered to get settled in before everyone else boards the plane. 

On the Plane

  • Dress your baby in layers for easy adjustments. Remember, your baby typically runs much warmer than you. If your baby is getting fussy in the seat, s/he is probably too warm.
  • Take out your baby blanket for added comfort. It would also be a good idea to have some pre-loaded PopYum bottles either filled with breastmilk or pre-loaded with water and formula so that when your baby gets hungry, you can feed your baby within seconds! 

In Transit

  • Plan for frequent breaks as it would make it easier to attend to your baby and ensure that their needs are still being met while in transit. Be sure your baby is sitting in your lap properly and in a safe position. For safety, if traveling by car, make sure the car seat is correctly installed and meets safety standards.

At Your Destination

Stick to the Routine and be Flexible

  • Try to stick to your baby’s routine as much as possible, such as their feeding and sleeping schedules. Depending on where you are traveling to and how long you are at the destination, it may help to slowly adjust to the local time by gradually shifting their schedule if necessary but still trying to maintain a similar routine. 
  • Plan a flexible itinerary with plenty of downtime so you and baby can both take breaks when needed. It’s important to keep your baby hydrated and if you are somewhere warm, make sure they are protected from the sun with appropriate clothing and sunscreen. If you are somewhere cold, make sure to dress your baby in enough layers to keep them warm. 
  • Local Resources: Take note of some nearby clinics, stores, and more that may be useful if you need to go somewhere to seek help or get baby items. 
  • Stay calm and flexible.  Expect the unexpected and try to stay as calm as possible. Babies can be unpredictable, so stay patient and adaptable. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from people around you, such as flight attendants, hotel staff, or others that are there to support you if you need some assistance. 

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