Traveling with and without a baby are two very different types of travel. When you travel with your friends, partner or solo, you have the freedom to adapt your itinerary with your mood, choose destinations that require more of an adventurous or athletic spirit, and best of all, you selfishly only have to worry about your own needs. But when traveling with a little one, most of what you used to do tends to go out the window, so to speak. Luckily, travelling with a baby can still be just as fun and exciting if you follow my simple tried and true tips below.
1. Make a List
I have always enjoyed making lists to keep me organized but since traveling with this tiny human who requires so much more than I do, lists have become lifesavers.
I like to keep running lists either in the notes app on my smartphone or in a notebook that I usually carry in my bag. Either way, I add to it as things come to mind and cross them off once I have either added them to the suitcase or bought them if needed.
I recommend list making being at the top of your list when it comes to how to make traveling with a baby easier.
2. Use Packing CubesIf you’re like me and prefer to travel with as little luggage as possible, you will love packing cubes while traveling with your little one. Using packing cubes for me and my son allows me to fit all of our clothes, toiletries, and shoes into one carry-on size suitcase (I pack his diapers, wipes, and an extra change of clothes in a backpack as my personal item).
Packing cubes are made by lots of different companies so I suggest starting with a google search and reading the reviews. You can’t go wrong!
3. Leave Room in Your Itinerary
Before having my son, my husband and I would visit one city for two days and cram as much as we could into the time we had. Surviving on little to no sleep, espressos, and the excitement of our youth, we would go to museums, restaurants, do walking tours, and anything else that we wanted to do in a relatively short amount of time. All of that changed when we started to travel with our infant.
Traveling with a baby can be just as enjoyable as traveling without one but the key is to set realistic expectations for what you can and cannot do. A once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience at a Michelin Star restaurant is probably not in the cards for you if you bring your little one to Paris but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy amazing gastronomy during your visit. Maybe a morning walking tour, followed by a quick lunch, and then on to a 4 or 5 hour museum visit isn’t a good idea when you consider your baby will need a nap or proper diaper changes throughout the day (and let’s not forget the possibility of a full-on tantrum that might stop you dead in your tracks).
Once you have the logistics of your list and packing down, the fun comes when planning your itinerary. Being honest with yourself minimizes disappointment and lets you enjoy your company: your family.
4. Remember to Have Fun!
Don’t forget to have an amazing time, enjoy yourself, and most of all, enjoy your baby. I have utilized all of these tips when traveling both internationally and domestically with my now one-year-old son. These simple tips have allowed me to leave worry behind because I know I have everything I need, I’m not lugging a ton of baggage around the world just waiting to forget something and I’ve left breathing room in my plans for when hiccups happen (because trust me, they will happen).
This allowed me to watch my young son’s face light up at his first sight of snow in Amsterdam and laugh at how surprisingly uninterested he was in churros and chocolate in Madrid. Because I wasn’t worried about forgetting anything or missing out on some must-see tourist spot, we were able to have a laid back breakfast in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where a wonderful family joked that they were going to keep my son with them! (the mother couldn’t convince her two oldest kids that they indeed wanted a baby sibling). And who can forget the smiles my then 6-month old gave to strangers as we boarded the plane.
You go this, mamas. Happy travels!