The first time I took my baby on a vacation, I was sure something would go wrong. Vacationing with an infant felt scary; I knew something would go wrong, and I wanted to have the perfect trip.
Of course, things went wrong – that’s the reality of having children. It turns out that traveling with a baby isn’t as scary as I thought. All it takes is a bit of planning, preparation, and taking a lot of deep breaths.
Whether you’re heading to the nearest beach or traveling to Europe with your infant, it’s smart to prepare ahead and think of all the things you might encounter. From packing to going through the airport, I suggest that you take planning your vacation seriously when you have an infant.
Then, use all of these tips for vacationing with an infant so that you stay sane and have a great trip.
14 Tips for Vacationing with an Infant
1. Be Prepared at Airport Security
Heading through the airport security is the most intimidating part of flying with an infant. You have a car seat, stroller, formula, baby food, and so much more. Be prepared and head into the security with confidence with these few tips.
- Put any snacks or food in a separate one-gallon-sized plastic bag. Store formula separately and somewhere you can grab easily.
- Go through the lane for families, if they offer one.
- Have the tickets and all documentations available in a pocket that you reach easily.
- If you have more than one child, send one with each parent.
2. Gate Check The Stroller or Wagon
I prefer collapsible wagons when we fly, but some prefer strollers. Either way, these are valuable when you’re heading through airports. Most airlines gate check these for parents; leave them with the attendants right before entering the airplane.
3. Use The Bassinet When Flying
If you’re flying with a young infant, ask for a bassinet from the airline. These hook onto the airplane and give your baby a safe place to set your baby when they need to take a nap. These are typically only offered for long-haul flights, but be sure to ask when you book your tickets.
4. Be a Minimalist When Packing
Unless your family is going on a safari or a wilderness trip, chances are there are stores nearby to your destination. Pack only what you know that you’ll need. If you forget something, don’t panic. Just head to the store and get what you need.
This is particularly important when it comes to traveling with baby gear. Babies are fine without a lot of the things that we buy for them. Be a minimalist and only bring what you absolutely need without a doubt. You can even ship things to your destination or buy an item there; sometimes, it’s cheaper to buy it there than bring it on an airplane or ship it ahead of time.
5. Plan to Wash Clothes at Your Destination
I know that you’re on vacation and might not want to wash clothes, but it’s not that big of a deal. It makes packing easier. Instead of bringing 15 onesies with you, you might only bring eight, and it makes a big difference with how much you need to pack.
6. Use a Baby Carrier As Much As Possible
I believe that using a baby carrier when vacationing with an infant is the easiest choice. It gives your baby time to snooze when they feel sleepy, and you can learn how to breastfeed in a baby carrier as well. Some vacation destinations are crowded, and not all are stroller-friendly, so bring your carrier and head everywhere.
7. Bring Enough Formula if Traveling Out of the Country
If you’re traveling in the country, you’ll be able to find your formula at most locations. Head to the nearest Wal-Mart; it’s that easy. It’s different when you travel out of the country. They sell different brands, and you have no idea how your baby’s belly might react to the switch. The safest bet is to back enough formula to last your entire trip (overestimate) to avoid having to buy a different brand.
8. Buy Diapers at Your Destination
Another trick is to buy diapers at your destination. Vacationing with an infant means thinking about diapering – it’s our reality. All stores have diapers available for babies, and even if you travel out of the country, you’ll find some options there.
9. Ask the Hotel for a Crib
Check with your hotel or AirBNB and ask if they provide a crib or pack and play. Most hotels have cribs available for parents, and this saves a ton of room in your car. All you have to do is bring sheets with you to cove the crib .
10. Book a Space with a Separate Sleeping Area
If your baby is napping or sleeping and you want to play cards or watch TV, it’s hard to do so when you need to be quiet. I always make sure we book a hotel space with a separate sleeping area from the living area. This keeps everyone happy; your baby gets to sleep well, and you can stay up and enjoy your vacation with your partner.
11. Take Breaks Often When Traveling
Traveling doesn’t have to be constant on-the-go. It’s okay to take it easy. Take a walk on the beach, or sit down to build a sand castle. Vacationing with an infant often requires parents to slow down, take breaks, and relax.
Relaxing during a vacation isn’t a bad thing nor is taking breaks. Your child gets time to sleep, and you can take a nap, watch the waves roll in, or listen to the sounds of the city. Embrace doing nothing even when society tells us that we need to be busy all the time. Stillness is beautiful.
12. Plan for Early Dinners
We always get early dinners with our kids; this avoids the big crowds in the evenings and eliminates most waiting times. If you’re hungry later in the evening, grab take-out from a local restaurant, or pick a hotel that offers a restaurant or two for each snacking.
13. Get Travel Insurance If You Travel Abroad
Some people scoff at the idea of travel insurance, but when you travel abroad, it’s important to remember that your medical insurance won’t work in Europe or foreign countries. Most travel insurances offer a base amount of medical coverage. When you’re traveling internationally, with or without kids, medical issues arise, and it’s best not to be strapped for cash to pay for the services you need.
14. Embrace Naps!
When you’re vacationing with an infant, you have to make sure your child takes a nap. It’s easy to get frustrated with this because you want to be doing something or going somewhere. Take this time to nap as well; how often do you nap at home? Rest and recharge for your new adventures.
Use These Tips for Vacationing with an Infant
It feels scary to take your baby on a vacation for the first time, but many parents will tell you that vacationing with an infant is easier than a toddler who runs everywhere. Remember to take it slow, take breaks, and treasures the memories you’ll make as a family.