As a new parent, chances are you’re not going to be choosing a war zone as your destination, and you’ll hopefully decide on a place with good access to healthcare. Small babies are more susceptible to illness, but when they’re really little you have more control over what and who they come in contact with. And is traveling with a baby difficult? Yes — but so is travel without a baby sometimes, and we still love doing that. There is definitely more work involved than tossing a handful of diapers into your backpack, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.
1. Don’t overschedule.
If you try to cram too much into your days and into your trip, you’ll all end up feeling exhausted and frazzled. Use your destination’s local parenting websites to find parks and other baby-friendly outings that will be easy and comfortable for everyone. That climbable monument/jungle trek/coral reef has been there for a long time already and will still be there when your child is old enough to enjoy it with you.
2. Take a little baby gear as possible.
The lighter you travel, the easier your life will be. There’s nothing more exhausting than hauling a bunch of junk you don’t actually need around and unpacking & packing it up as well. Especially if you’ll be doing things like catching trains or moving around much at all. Definitely think about your mobility needs and pack accordingly—i.e. if you’re going to one destination and have a car door to door it’s no big deal to stuff a giant suitcase (though I would still say annoying to deal with unpacking/packing all the stuff!), but if you’re going to be train-hopping around a country, that would be very difficult. Babies really don’t need as much as we’ve been led to believe they do. They need diapers, love, to eat, and a safe place to sleep.
3. Bring a stroller
When you’re traveling, a stroller is not just a stroller, it is a high chair, a bed, and an all-around stuff-lugger. The type of travel you prefer will dictate whether a lightweight or an all-terrain stroller would be more appropriate but don’t cheap out here. Good strollers are easy to push, and most are easy to fold up when needed. Therefore, you need to bring a Collapsible Baby Stroller while traveling. (see below for easy-one-hand collapse stroller recommendation)
4. Protocol for going through security varies by airport
Usually, you will need to take your baby out of the sling or stroller to walk through the metal detector, and usually, they will want you to collapse the stroller and put it on the belt. If you’re flying alone, I recommend getting everything out you need to get out *before* you get in the security line. Stash your laptop under the stroller, and that way you can just throw it in the tray and not be struggling to get it out while wrangling a baby *and* folding a stroller if you have one. In other situations, they want someone to walk through with the baby, hand the baby off, and then walk back through alone. It helps to have a partner for this otherwise a security officer can hold the baby.
5. Gate check strollers and car seats.
You can take these all the way to the gate and they will check them for you for free at the gate. Sometimes you do need to get a tag for them when you drop your luggage, so make sure the agent gives you one. So if you’re a stroller person, stroll right up. And if you’re bringing a car seat, I highly recommend that be attached to that stroller! A two-in-one is the only way you won’t end up miserably lugging it all over. We didn’t travel with a stroller for most of the first year, preferring to just use a carrier.
6. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Last but not the least, a simple outing to the park with your baby requires 15 minutes of packing and planning, so a lengthy trip, especially to a foreign country demands serious preparation. Make a list, check it twice, and then rip it to shreds because parenting-on-the-go is all about flexibility.
Easy-one-hand-collapse stroller recommendation
R2 stroller from the broad, which folds neatly and can be slung over the shoulder like a tote bag. It’s also recognized by most airlines as carry-on luggage, so throwing it in the overhead bin and a navigating plane or train aisles is less of a headache. It’s also recommended for babies under 6 months. The car seat can also be attached to the R2 stroller, which can save you lots of places and energy.