Monday, September 17, 2012

Tips for Traveling With a Baby

We just enjoyed our first trip with Sammy.  He was 10.5 months and it was a great age to travel with a baby.  I think we would have been just fine going sooner, but since we are on one income now, vacationing unfortunately has taken a back burner to lets pick...paying the mortgage.  A fair trade to being able to be a stay at home mom.

Here are a few of my tips that should help other newbie parents traveling for the first time:
  • Relax!  
    • This is after all your vacation.  No, it isn't going to be like it was when you went on your honeymoon, but hey, neither is your life at home most days either.
Tips for Traveling:
  • If you are flying, fly non stop.  
    • It is worth the extra money, trust me coming from el cheapo that is saying something.  The fastest way there will make everyone happier. 
  •  If you are driving and have a small car, consider renting.  
    • We were able to rent a mini van thru Costco for $96 for 6 days! 
  • Don't over pack for your stay.  There will be plenty of things you'll find right there in your room to play with.  Plus if you are visiting family, they will keep your baby entertained. 
    • I wasn't going to pay $80 in bag fees so we did two carry on bags and had no issues.  
    • I packed Sammy 5 pairs of pjs, 6 outfits, a few extra one piece rompers a few of his bathing suits, baby beach towel and his pool float.  I also packed some toys for the hotel.  

    • Don't pack that much for the plane.  
      • A favorite toy, a new toy, some easy to eat snacks
      • Enjoy the free entertainment of all the people (especially other kids) around you
      • The airline magazines were thrilling for Sammy.  He loves looking at pictures and adores ripping paper.  A win win!
    •  Remember, Diaper bags and breast pumps don't count as carry-ons so utilize that space!
      • Strollers and car seats also get checked for free.
    •  If your baby is small enough, connect the infant car seat to the stroller so that is all one piece.
    • We traveled with the base to the infant seat.  You don't need it to safely install the seat, but it is a much faster install with the base.  It also gives you the ability to easily transfer a sleeping baby.
    • Gate check your stroller and carry your baby either in your arms or by using a carrier and use your stroller to carry some of your bags.  
      • Going through security You are going to have to take your baby out of the carseat, but not out of a carrier.  So if they are going to fall asleep, it's better if its on you vs a seat they will have to be removed from.
    Tips for Your Stay
    • Stay in a condo or a suite, vs a hotel room.
      • Unless you cosleep as in your family is used sharing a room, your baby having their own space is going to be key in helping them adjust to a new environment as well as adjust back to their old sleeping arrangements when you return home. 
    • Call ahead to the hotel and check on their crib/high chair arrangements.  If you feel they meet your standards, leave the pack and play at home.
    • Reserve the crib and highchair and have them ready for you in your room.
    • If possible request an extra mattress, so you can double them together.
      • Aside from being in a new environment, I think Sammy had a hard time sleeping because the crib mattress was very thin.  The next night  I was able to put two crib mattresses together and he slept SO much better (a good indication is the height of his butt propped way up in the air).  
    • Put your baby in the darkest room.  (This might even be the bathroom).
      • We were fortunate to stay in a hilton grand vacation club condo that had a master bedroom with a huge walk in closet.  We were able to perfectly fit the hotel crib into the closet so Sammy had his own door to block out our noise and it was completely pitch black.  Y'all know that's how the nap snob rolls!
    • Recreate as much as you can for your baby. For us this meant:
      • Bringing a crib sheet from home
      • Bringing some favorite books for our naptime/bedtime routine
      • Bringing our ipod with Sammy's happiest baby on the block white noise soundtrack
      • Bringing Sammy's unwashed sleepsack so it smelled like home
      • Bringing our video monitor with us so we could still keep an eye on him while he slept.
    Hope this helps you out!  Do you have any tips you'd like to share that will help us on our next trip?


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