Traveling tips for infants and toddlers can make life much easier if you travel often. Traveling with children, especially young children is different than traveling with adults, and it presents its own unique issues to be addressed for easy, stress-free travel. We need to think about gear, feeding, and in some cases, documentation when we travel with young children. Let’s take a look at these traveling tips for infants and toddlers and how they can help your travel go more smoothly.
Things to Know When Traveling with Infants and Toddlers
Although not all of these tips will apply to you, most of them will. In a nutshell, 99% of these tips are focused on one major point – keeping your routine as firmly in place as possible. Children aren’t inherently bad travelers as some people think. In reality, it’s the disruption of their routine that sets them off, not the act of traveling itself.
If you have a child with a different last name, whether it be from divorce or some other reason, it’s important to have the correct documentation with you while traveling. I’ve been traveling regularly with my daughter since she was 3 months old, both internationally and domestically. If you have a different last name from your little one’s father, take it from me and travel with a notarized consent letter internationally along with the child’s birth certificate and passport.
Plan Around Bedtime
Planning departure around bedtime and wake time is one of the most important tips for traveling with infants and toddlers. The timing of the flight is not critical in regards to naps. Sometimes they nap on the plane, and sometimes they don’t. I focus on departure time not interrupting the natural wake up for the day and arriving at our destination for an early bedtime. When in doubt, protect the bedtime! And for those of you who are getting to know me, say it with me, “don’t fear the early bedtime”. Especially, when traveling, plan for bed an easy 30 minutes earlier than normal.
Umbrella Stroller and Bucket Seat
It’s ideal to travel with an umbrella stroller and spend the extra money on the stroller cover because they really get dirty in the luggage compartment of the plane. If you have an infant in a bucket seat and can afford the extra ticket, buy it and bring the bucket seat on the plane. You can use the bucket seat safely without the base at your destination so no need to bring it. Honestly, it’s easier to travel with them before they can crawl or walk. Belt the bucket seat in, order yourself up a movie and relax. Time the feedings for take off and landing to prevent ear trouble. Knock on wood I’ve yet to have a problem! If you’re breastfeeding put 2 drops of breast milk in each of the babies nostrils. It prevents airborne germs from entering the body from the natural antibodies in breast milk. (And yes, I put my own breast milk up my nose too, can’t hurt but then again I’m a little wacky!)
Bring Your Car Seat
Think ahead with car seats. I have brought my own, and it can be heavy and cumbersome but stress-free knowing you have exactly what you need. Buy the car seat cover too because you don’t want it filthy in the luggage compartment if you’re not bringing it on the plane. If you’re renting a car from one of the top 5 rental car companies, great idea, I’ve never had a problem. I have however had problems with car services showing up without car seats or toddler seats for infants, etc. I’m not a huge fan unless you have a relationship with the car service company and regularly travel to that destination.
I always prefer a full-size crib whenever possible, many hotels say they have cribs but they are either porta cribs or PAC n Plays. Call and speak to someone knowledgable or preferably who has kids at the front desk and point out the difference between PAC n Play and full-size crib and ask them to clarify. I often ask them to text me a pic so I know exactly what I’m dealing with. I always bring my own sheet for the baby, the bleach in hotels can be very strong.
Bring Blackout Curtains
Hotels almost always have solid blackout curtains but for house rentals, I always come prepared with two black lawn garbage bags and painters tape for every room. They’re perfect for darkening rooms on the go and come down with no damage. A dark room for naps and bedtime is critical at home and while traveling. I’m a huge fan of putting the crib or PAC n Play in the bathroom, research ahead and choose a hotel room that has large bathrooms. This has saved me many times from having to spend extra money on two room suites and is a great solution. Make sure the crib is set to the lowest setting and a safe distance from walls, etc. nothing in arms reach. I never travel without my sound machine, hotel rooms can be noisy. I always request a room away from elevator, stairwells or vending machines as the slamming doors can be loud. The only downside to the baby sleeping in the bathroom is Mommy and Daddy’s bladder infection. Just kidding, but seriously I’d rather take turns peeing in the lobby and have a baby that sleeps peacefully and is well rested.
Bring Your Video Monitor
Another important tip for traveling with infants and toddlers is to always bring your video monitor. I always bring my back up video monitor because it gives me peace of mind and is helpful. Monitors also don’t take up much space, making them easy to pack away for the trip.
Maintain the Sleep Schedule as Best as Possible
Planning your trips around bedtime and naptime is as important as planning your departure around bedtime. Maintain the same bedtime and nap routine as best you can, bring your child’s favorite lovie and try for naps but make early bedtime a priority.
Utilize Hotel Babysitters
I have used hotel sponsored babysitters many times with tremendous success, and I’m a nervous Nellie. The youngest I used a hotel sitter was 9 months old, and I had my video monitor. I put the baby to sleep and told the sitter not to go in unless the room was on fire and to call me and I’d come right back. This enabled me to enjoy a night out while staying on the premises of the hotel, and the baby had zero interaction with the sitter. For me this was a win, win. The top-rated hotels have in house sitter services that are licensed and bonded, I do not recommend any others.
Traveling Tips for Infants and Toddlers All Mean the Same Thing
The moral of the story is to stick to your routine as best you can knowing things will be off. Maintain an early bedtime and get back to basics as soon as you get home. That’s it. All these traveling tips for infants and toddlers basically boil down to keeping them on schedule. Always remember that. The schedule is golden. If you can keep that schedule as routine as possible, you’re already almost to the finish line.
I love traveling with my daughter!
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