Before Henry was born, Ryan and I talked a lot about how we wanted to try to continue to travel after the baby came along. Travel is such a huge part of our lives; not only do we love heading out on adventures for ourselves, but we also want to introduce Henry to the world around him and show him all of the wonderful things that travel can do for a person. So from the beginning we’ve made an effort to take him along with us — we’ve tackled everything from day trips to a few nights away to international travel. And what we’re finding is that traveling with a baby is only as hard as you make it. If you go into it with a positive attitude, a lot of preparation, and a focus on keeping the little dude healthy and well, it’s really no biggie. Here are a few of our secret tips that we’ve developed while traveling with the Hankster.
Pack Double-Duty Items When we started traveling with Henry, we went from needing two small carry-ons to two large suitcases, a carseat, and a stroller. We pack his travel crib in one of the suitcases, and that takes up a good amount of space. So when I’m packing for us, I always try to take things that both he and I can use. I don’t like foregoing my own toiletries or beauty products, so finding things that work in my routine that I can also use on Henry is crucial. I love Johnson’s Baby Oil Gel in particular — I use it as a shave gel in the shower, and a moisturizer afterward. Then I can use it as a moisturizer on Henry, too. Doubling up like that will save you a ton of suitcase space and weight.
Have a Plan for the Airplane We brought Henry’s sleep sack on the plane with us; he always wears one during naps and we hoped it would cue him to fall asleep. This time, we also tried to get him to sleep on the floor of the plane. I know it sounds crazy, but it worked! We laid down a clean blanket, sang him a bedtime song, put him in the sleep sack, and he laid down and slept between Ryan’s feet for almost 2 hours of our 4 hour flight. Beautiful. When he was awake, we had brought a few small toys. We introduced a new one every 20-30 minutes, to keep him occupied. Although really he was more interested in our empty cups and pretzel baggies. He also was a huge fan of the in-flight magazine. Use what ya got, that’s what I always say.
Take the Right Essentials Especially if you’re traveling internationally, you want to be sure you have your arsenal of essentials with you in case of any hiccups. We have travel sizes of all of our toiletries all set to go in toiletry bags. Henry has travel sizes too, and his list includes: medicines, vitamins, saline solution, a snot sucker, nail clippers, diaper cream, sunblock, and Johnson’s Baby Powder. We discovered on our last trip that the baby powder is brilliant at getting beach sand off of little baby bottoms, and a lifesaver in humid weather. Then I use it in my hair as a dry shampoo, instead of packing an extra product. (I’m telling ya, double-duty items are the way to go!)
Keep the Nap Schedule We’re big fans of the nap around here. When Henry sticks to his naps, he does better and we do better. So when we travel, we’re always sure to have a quiet, calm place for Henry to nap. Sometimes that means we go for a long quiet walk while he sleeps in the stroller; sometimes it means we schedule our days so that we’re always back in our hotel or Airbnb for nap time. Either way, it’s worth keeping him happy and healthy and well-rested. Maybe when he’s a little older he can skip a nap here or there, but for a nine month old, this works best for us.
Have Realistic Expectations Before we started traveling with Henry, we’d hit the streets in the morning and run around all day until after dark, fitting in everything we wanted to do along the way. With a baby, it’s just not realistic. Our little clan does best when we schedule some downtime for Henry — not naps, just time to be relaxing in the hotel or Airbnb and playing with toys or reading books. We find that he does better on our outings and adventures if he has a little bit of just “normal” time in his day here and there. Going into a trip with a baby, I’d suggest having a few key places you want to see or things you want to do, make sure you hit those, and anything else you accomplish will be a bonus. Slow and steady, that’s the key for running around with a little one!
When we were in Mexico, there was a moment where we were all sitting on the beach, having biked there from our apartment. Henry was totally entertained just looking at the waves and birds, and I was suddenly so grateful that he was there with us. For however much fun Ryan and I have traveling together, exploring a new place with all three of us is infinitely better. If you’re thinking of traveling with little ones, hope these tips help you get on the road! And if you have more bright ideas that have helped you in the past, leave ’em in the comments so we can all add them to our arsenals. Happy travels! xoxo
This post is sponsored by Johnson’s. All opinions and ideas are my very own. Thank you for being supportive of the partners who help keep Lovely Indeed rocking!