I’ve been traveling regularly with my daughter since she was 3 months old, internationally and domestically. If you have a different last name from your little ones father, take it from me and travel with a notarized consent letter internationally along with the child’s birth certificate and passport.
The timing of the flight is not critical in regard to naps, sometimes they nap on the plane, sometimes they don’t. I focus on departure time not interrupting the natural wake up for the day and arriving at our destination for early bed time. 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 bed time”. Especially, when traveling, plan for bed an easy 30 minutes earlier then normal.
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!)
Think ahead with car seats, I have brought my own, 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 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.
Hotels almost always have solid black out curtains but for house rentals I always come prepared with two black lawn garbage bags and painters tape for very easy room darkening shades on the go that 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. Only down side 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.
I always bring my back up video monitor because it gives me peace of mind and is helpful. Doesn’t take up much room in suit case either.
Maintain the same bedtime and nap routine as best you can, bring the favorite lovie and try for naps but make early bed time a priority.
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, don’t go in unless the room is on fire, call me and I’ll come right back. This enabled me to enjoy a night out, while staying on premise of the hotel and the baby had zero interaction with 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.
The moral of the story is to stick to your routine as best you can knowing things will be off. Maintain an early bed time and get back to basics as soon as you get home.
I love traveling with my daughter!