HOW TO TRAVEL WITH A KID UNDER 2
Baby travel! We've done a bunch with Nell. It certainly beats not traveling, and can even be fun! Here's a running list of things I've learned along the way.
- •Get your stuff on the flipsideSend a box of supplies (diapers, wipes, food, umbrella stroller, etc.) from Amazon to your destination or bring just enough for a day or two and then hit the grocery store upon arrival. It cuts down on the stress of traveling with a kid when you're not carting around a bunch of stuff.
- •Pack a family bagIf you're headed on a long trip, pack everyone in one big rolling suitcase. That way you don't have to fumble with carrying a baby, their gear, and a bunch of individual bags. In this scenario, I like to divide things up into smaller MUJI bags inside to keep everything organized. Otherwise, you feel like a sad squirrel every time you open your suitcase.
- •Bring a burner strollerGet a cheap <$20 umbrella stroller for your trip. They are lightweight, fold up easily, and you don't have to stress when leaving it parked/folded somewhere because let's be real no one is going to steal it and if they do, no bigs. Bonus tip, "donate" the thing to the hotel at the end of your journey so you don't have to lug it home.
- •Be strategic about your seatsIf traveling with a buddy, look for an open row and book yourself in the window and your partner in the aisle. This ups the chances that you'll end up with an empty seat between you, and if not then you can get on your row mate's good side by offering them the aisle or window. If traveling solo, opt for economy comfort as it again ups your chances for an empty middle seat. Also, don't be afraid to bring your babe into first class if you have the chance, the % of haters is no higher.
- •Book the bulkhead (or not)For long-haul international flights, baby bassinets are available in the bulkhead rows so your little one has a guaranteed spot to sleep. Call the airline ahead to double check they are available on your flight and that your kid meets the size requirements (and then decide if you're okay sitting in a row that is usually all babies 👶🏼👶🏼👶🏼).
- •Carry on the car seatYou can check your car seat (some say this is a no no) or rent it on the other side, but I like to bring it through the airport. Go up to the gate agent before the flight to see if there are any extra seats for the babe + car seat combo. If they have room, they'll usually make it work (for free), and having the baby in a carseat on the plane is a total game changer. We do the Combi Coccoro + Baby Banz Go Go Wheels or Luggage Strap depending on if we're traveling with carry on or checked bags.
- •Load up on snacks over toysSnacks and bottles/boob for the flight are the best distraction for little ones stuck on a plane. Giving the bottle/boob/pacifier on take off and landing can help alleviate the pain that babies can have with their ears. And I vote don’t waste space on tons of toys, just pack a couple books and a single toy/game they've never seen before.
- •Be prepared for s*^%Babies love pooping on planes. It is a thing. Put your kid in an overnight diaper before you board to *fingers crossed* avoid a blowout and buy yourself time if you can't get to the bathroom right away. Changing tables are typically in the bathroom at the back of the plane and ridiculously tiny so pack a mini zippered pouch with a couple overnight diapers, wipes, an extra set of clothes, and dog poop bags so you are not the jerk who leaves their stinky diaper hanging out in the trash.
- •Let it gooooooooIf your babe goes dark, do your best to remedy it (or spirit her away to the bathroom!) but remember that babies cry, and at the end of the day you're likely never going to see any of these people again. So just let any disgruntled stares or commentary roll off your back.
- •Stick to the schedule for short tripsFor short trips with a time difference <4 hours, stick to your home time zone and schedule. For example, I'm PST so if we're on the east coast for a long weekend my babe goes to bed at 10pm EST (7pm PST). Note: this works better going west to east so you'll prob want to adjust a little if headed the opposite direction so you're not waking up at 4am.
- •Acclimate ASAP for long tripsFor longer trips or trips with a big time difference, immediately adopt the new time zone. The first 12-24 hours are always a little rough, but be strict about bedtime (e.g. putting your babe down or keeping her up depending on the new time zone) and then be more flexible about daytime naps as she gets her bearings. I've also found that sun and being outside can really help when kids are getting adjusted.
- •Book out solo timeYes, you love your kid, but take time for exploring/enjoying without them. Options include traveling with a nanny, asking friends or your partner to trade for free time, booking a babysitter through the hotel, or putting an ad on Care.com and Skype interviewing sitters before your arrival.