Driving or flying with a newborn can be challenging. Not only do you have extra concerns like caring for the health and comfort of your little one while on the go but you also have all this extra gear you need to bring which can not only be difficult to carry but it can make travelling even more of a chore—especially on airplanes.
In order to make this process as smooth as possible, you really need to prepare in advance. You have to know exactly what to expect, exactly what you’ll need, and how to get the very best portable baby crib and other essentials.
Here are a few tips for overcoming those challenges and making sure your baby is as comfortable and happy as possible while travelling together:
You want to have a sort of emergency kit of all the items you could possibly need while flying. If you’re driving, this is less of an issue since you can just pull over and go dig what you need out of the trunk.
However, while flying, you won’t have the opportunity to go down into the cargo hold to grab some item you need. So you need to make sure you have the essentials with you on board. That will include things like:
For newborns up to 6 months, accidents are bound to happen. While travelling, these accidents can end up forcing you to carry around stinky, dirty laundry. Instead of carrying those soiled onesies and risking the mess spreading even further, just buy a bulk set of super cheap onesies and then toss them in the garbage with the dirty diaper if they get messy.
This is mostly going to be an issue of making sure your travel crib is compact enough to fit in the overhead storage. However, it also means stocking up on travel sized versions of any liquid items you use for your baby.
Your hands are already going to be full with the other items you have to carry. So to keep your baby secure while still keeping them out of the way, you should carry them in a wrap so that they are strapped to you and your hands are free to carry travel cribs, baby bags, and other items.
This is less important with car travel but still definitely more convenient than always having to put your baby in a stroller or carrying around the car seat each time you want to take your baby out.
There’s no way around it. Travelling with a baby will slow you down. Rather than frantically rushing around in order to pack all these extra items (and extra steps of the process) into the same time frame, just give yourself more time.
Build in a comfortable time window so that you can go as slowly as you need to. Just knowing that you have the time will make you less frantic and stressed (and that means you will be less likely to forget something or make a mistake).
If you’re worried about people waiting in line behind you, don’t be. They can wait. It’s not the end of the world. And most people will be understanding about your situation. They aren’t going to assume you brought your baby just to inconvenience their day! So take your time. Breathe and handle everything one step at a time.
Not all hotels or buildings will have elevators or ramps. This is especially true outside of the United States where the laws about accessibility are not the same. Lugging a stroller and other bulky items up multiple flights of stairs is one extra hassle you’d be better off avoiding.
So avoid by calling ahead. If they have an elevator, great. If not, ask if you can get a room on the ground floor. And if they aren’t willing to do that, check for another hotel.
Newborns (below 6 months) and even older babies are still content exploring the world around them. They won’t need any toys yet and will be happy enough to observe everything around them or to play with whatever everyday items you find—museum brochures, magazines, keys, and so on.
Save space and weight by minimizing the number of toys you bring.
If they are above 6 months, bring 1 or 2 of their favorites and keep it at that. Below 6 months, don’t bother with toys.
Sometimes, when your baby is crying and inconsolable, nothing you do seems to help. In these cases, it’s sometimes best to just distract them with their favorite video or song. So if your baby has any favorites, make sure they are downloaded onto your phone or tablet so that you have them handy even if you are without an internet connection.
This means no baby shoes for babies who can’t even walk yet. And no cute bows or headbands that don’t actually provide warmth or any other purpose. We know these things are adorable but while you’re travelling, they are just one extra item to stress about and they can start to take up quite a bit of space for no real reason. Trust us, your baby is already cute enough without these things! So if they don’t serve a practical purpose, leave them.
With that said, it doesn’t mean you can’t bring your baby’s cutest winter hats or most adorable onesies. We are just talking about extra items that don’t actually have any practical purpose. The biggest culprit is usually baby shoes. If your baby is not walking, they do NOT need shoes, no matter how cute. Warm socks are more than enough and take up way less space in your luggage.
Whether travelling by plane or car, being confined to a seat for an extended period can be frustrating for a fidgety baby. To help make this easier for them, let them crawl around (if they can) or get out all of their energy beforehand so that by the time you have to board or strap them into the car seat, they will be content to sit and relax for a while.
Sometimes, babies just have a bad day. This is especially likely when they are out and about on vacation more often than they are used to at home. Rather than sacrificing all your plans, just make sure to space them out and arrange them with your baby in mind. And, if you can, tack on one extra day to your trip that is unplanned.
This way, if your baby just need a day of relaxing at the hotel, you can do it and just push your plans to that extra day! As for your active days out, plan your activities according to your baby’s schedule. During their nap times, go to quieter activities like museums or palace tours.
When they are awake and energized, do outdoor things or go somewhere where they can be a little more noisy and wriggly like parks, family friendly restaurants or patios at cafes. This is far preferable to having a frustrated, antsy baby while you’re trying to go through a museum or a hungry baby while you’re on a guided tour.
Yes, you will probably go through lots of diapers. But this is one item that is easy to buy just about anywhere you go. So rather than pack enough diapers for the entire trip, just pack enough for the first couple of days and buy more when you arrive. This will save you a lot of space and a lot of stress.
For car travel, it’s a good idea to pack everything you can the night before. That way, come morning, all you have to do is get your baby ready and go. If you have to pack and take care of your baby’s needs, you’ll not only stress yourself out, you will risk forgetting something.
Just as you would want to keep the essentials on board with you on a plane, you want to keep important things in the car with you rather than back in the trunk. This way, you don’t have to pull over every time your baby needs something.
While you might be fine sitting in a car for upwards of 4 or 5 hours at a time, your baby is not going to be as happy with this—at least not while they are awake. So expect to stop more often to let your baby out of their seat.
If they are old enough to crawl, let them crawl around the grass at a rest stop (you can wipe them down with a wet cloth after) until they are tired out and ready to sit in a seat for another couple hours. If they aren’t old enough to crawl, strap them in a baby sling facing outward and just walk around so they can get some visual stimulation and get a change of view from the same backseat of the car.
By the same logic as above, don’t stop the car when they are sleeping. While baby is sleeping, you have the perfect chance to get in a couple hours of uninterrupted drive time so take advantage of them. To make sure you don’t need any stops while baby is sleeping, follow these tips:
Following these guidelines will help make sure you can take full advantage of every nap and sleep time. And you will definitely appreciate the ability to drive without a crying or fidgeting baby in the backseat!
To make absolute certain that you do not forget something important, you want to make 2 checklists. The first checklist is a list of the items you need. Check below for an example list but make sure to add or take away based on your baby’s unique needs.
The second checklist is a list of things you need to do. That could include things like calling ahead to make sure you know the regulations for carryon items on the plane or calling the hotel to find out whether there’s an elevator. It should also include packing and pre-travel play time to tire out your baby.
This is helpful for a couple of reasons. First of all, when it’s time to get your baby dressed, you’ll have a complete outfit already assembled. Just grab a bag and it has everything you need. No more spending time hunting around for socks or a hat.
Secondly, it means you definitely have a plastic bag handy in case the outfit gets soiled. This way, you can store the wet, stinky outfit in your bag without spreading that mess all over everything else.
Find the number and location of a pediatrician or at least a hospital in your destination before you leave. This way, in the event of an emergency, you will already know exactly where to go and don’t have to waste time tracking down this information while your baby is crying and in pain.
Following these tips will help make travelling a bit smoother and make sure that you can deal with stressful situations without going crazy. But in order to use some of these tips, you will need to make sure you have the right equipment and baby items to take care of things.
Being prepared for every situation that could come up is the best way to make sure travelling with your baby goes as smoothly as possible. To be completely prepared, you need to have the right gear to get you through any situation.
While on the road or especially flying with a newborn, you will not want to lug around heavy, bulky equipment like a toddler crib. So you will want to look for lightweight, easy to use versions of all this gear. The most important being finding the perfect portable baby bed that can be set up and taken down easily.
When shopping for the other items on that list, you can more or less use your own personal preferences that you have already found in your experience as a new parent. But when it comes to a baby travel bed, there are special considerations you need to make that were not really relevant when you were shopping for your everyday, at home crib. So make sure to keep the following factors in mind:
This is especially important when flying. If you hope to carry your infant travel bed on the plane, you will need to make sure the dimensions are small enough that it can be counted as a carry on.
But even if you aren’t planning for a lot of air travel, you still want to look for relatively compact baby cribs because you don’t want to take up a huge amount of trunk space just for one item.
Whether you’re looking for a summer infant travel bed or a winter travel crib, you will need something that is easy to set up and take down. You don’t want to be fiddling with difficult joints and connections for a long time every time you have to use your baby travel pod.
The best portable beds for baby can be set up and taken down in a matter of seconds so that you are ready to go within seconds and can move on to more important things like relaxing on your vacation!
Weight is one of the most important factors for something that you will have to carry around so much. You don’t want to be carrying the full weight of a baby crib around every time you want to take a crib with you on the road. So you need to make sure you get something light enough that you aren’t going to throw your back out just for the sake of travelling with your baby.
While the amount of weight you can tolerate carrying will depend on your personal fitness level, you generally want to look for something under 20 pounds. And the best portable travel bed for baby will be somewhere under 15 pounds.
This is another factor that you need to consider for a travel crib. While on the road or on vacation, the more you can condense your items, the better. If you need a crib, a play yard, and a changing station, packing all of them as individual items will start to take up a lot of space and bulk up your luggage so that it is no longer very convenient to carry.
There are some great travel cribs out there that can transition to play yards and even changing stations. They may include extra storage space of their own so that you can throw all of your essential baby items into one convenient carrying case.
The more versatile and functional your travel crib is, the less you have to worry about while you’re on the road.
Yes, there are some unique challenges to travelling with your little one. Babies have special needs and less ability to deal with the stresses of travel than older children and adults. However, just because you have a new baby on board doesn’t mean you have to give up vacations or stop travelling as much. You just need to prepare yourself and adapt to the new demands of travel that come with taking your little one with you.
We hope this guide helped clear up some of the confusion or worries you might have had about travelling with your baby and that you feel more prepared and excited to take your newborn on the road or on a plane with you!