Travel Easy - Traveling for Parents with Babies and Toddlers
Traveling with Babies and Toddlers
Yes, it’s true that sometimes just getting out of the house to run to the supermarket with a baby or toddler can be challenging. Let alone trying to manage traveling to another city or country. Rest assured that you’re not the first parent to travel with a baby or toddler, and although each child is different – it can be done! Here are some tips and additional resources to make it travel easier for you as a parent of young children!
How will you get to your destination? How long will it take?
By plane – If your child is under two, you can decide whether to carry them as a lap baby, or pay for their own seat and keep them in a car seat. It’s always a good idea to bring along a copy of your child’s birth certificate – some countries like South Africa require original or certified copies of your child’s birth certificate just for entry and exit. For newborns you don’t really need to bring any toys, but for older babies and toddlers it’s good to bring along a couple especially for longer flights! Tip: Bring one new toy for them to open on the plane when you need a distraction!
By car – Remember to factor in a bit of extra time at pit stops to let your baby/toddler move around out of their car seat. If you’re renting a car at your destination, many car rental companies have car seats available for an additional cost. You can also arrange to rent one from a baby supply company, or bring your own.
By taxi/bus/train – Depending on your destination, you may be able to request taxis with car seats but you’ll probably have to wait a bit longer or schedule them in advance. Buses and trains generally don’t require car seats.
Many hotels and Airbnbs are able to provide cribs or pack-n-plays if requested. Contact your hotel or host in advance to see what they include. If your child is a light sleeper, consider packing a white noise machine. Some parents set up the crib in the bathroom to let their child have a dark, noise-free sleeping environment and use the lobby restroom to avoid disturbing their child. Count your blessings as a traveler if you have a child who can sleep anywhere through anything!
Consider paying a little more for closer accommodations to the attractions you’re planning on visiting. For example, if you’re going to a theme park, having a hotel room nearby to take a mid-day nap can be a lifesaver.
Traveling while your child is a baby or toddler can have its perks too. Often times admission to museums, amusement parks, cultural sites, etc. are free for children under 2 or 3. Sometimes even older! True, they won’t remember going at that age later, but you can show them all their adorable photos and the fun stories that go with all the memories you’ll be making.
Do your research to make the day go as smoothly as possible. As parents, you know that things don’t always go as planned but it always helps to be prepared. Look up where restrooms are located, as well as whether baby-changing and nursing facilities are available or not.
Parents usually remember to bring an extra outfit for their baby/toddler in case of accidents or blowouts, but sometimes forget to pack one for themselves! Bring an extra shirt for you too on the plane, or when you’re out and about adventuring.
For most travel destinations – finding diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, etc. is not difficult. If you’re set on a particular brand you may need to pack enough for your whole trip, but otherwise you can pack for your travel day and maybe for a couple other days until you can get to the store. Some places may even allow you to order supplies online and have it delivered to your hotel/travel home!
Strollers and carriers can also be helpful while traveling. But it can be challenging to bring your day-to-day stroller or travel system with you. They are often heavy and bulky. Instead, you may want to get a travel stroller that can fold up to fit in overhead airplane compartment, or you can look into renting a stroller at your destination. For baby carriers, you can probably just bring your favorite one unless you are traveling somewhere much colder or hotter than where you live. There are carriers made with moisture-wicking materials to keep you cooler in hot and humid weather and ones made with more insulation for cooler weather.