Tips For The Baby-Toting Traveller
Travelling with children can be a stressful affair, especially when they’re very young. If you’re a parent going on vacation with an infant, here are some handy tips.
1. Plan as far ahead as you can
Alas, spontaneous journeys are a lot harder with babies. Book your travel arrangements early as it will give you more time to prepare and pack, as well as make contingency plans should anything change at the last minute.
One important thing to plan—how to manage your stroller. Can you check it in at the gate? Some airlines allow it, so call ahead if you think you’d need it.
2. Your seats matter
Whatever your mode of transport, research the best seats. Separate seats for your infant would be ideal, but might not be in your budget. Try and find seats with more legroom as you might need to move around a fair bit to manage your child’s needs, and ideally, they should be near a lavatory for diaper changes.
You should also call ahead at restaurants to make sure they’re child-friendly, with items such as child seats available.
3. Visit the doctor beforehand
A checkup might be a good idea and a chance to get medical advice if needed. Resist the urge to give your child over-the-counter (OTC) medicine without clearing it with your doctor first. Obtain any required prescriptions and make copies of them, storing them separately or use a scanner app to convert them into printable PDFs as a backup.
4. Pack a change of clothes for you and the baby in your carry-on
Keep a change of clothes close at hand in a handbag or carry-on, and not just in your check-in luggage. It’s very likely you will need them.
Layering is also your friend. Wearing layers keeps extra clothes on hand in case you get cold but if it gets warm, you can take them off to double up as back cushions or as a quick replacement for soiled garments.
5. Don’t be afraid of overpacking
Depending on where you travel, decide if some items can be purchased at your destination (diapers) or if it’s cheaper to bring your own. While some parents advocate packing minimally, some prefer the peace of mind of not having to search for diapers at 3am in the morning.
If you need to pack formula or breast milk, you can usually get a waiver to carry them on but it won’t hurt to call up the airport/airline to check.
6. Be very early to the airport
Arrive at the airport at least three hours before and clear security as soon as you can; bringing an infant and all the extras you will need would mean taking longer to clear immigration and security.
7. Your baby will cry, and it’s OK
The change in cabin pressure on a plane will cause discomfort for your child and it can’t be helped. Nursing your infant might help relieve the built-up pressure, or you could also try a pacifier or teething ring.
If your baby is still crying, the most important thing is that you remain calm and don’t worry about upsetting other passengers. Yes, some people will mind the noise but other parents will be fully sympathetic to your plight.
Yes, your infant will likely cry when you’re out and about but that’s why you packed some soothing items like toys or blankets for the trip, right?
8. Look after yourself too
Travelling with an infant can be tiring and hard on your nerves, so bring items that help you relax as well. It can be as simple as your favourite scented hand cream, a small gel pillow, or a portable massager.
Think of your traveling with baby as just another adventure, and a sweet memory to make. Babies don’t stay babies forever, after all.
Your Gateways to Getaways,