The Act of Travel Tips & Tricks

Learning to Travel with a Baby

I’ve done a terrible job of updating this blog in 2019, but with good reason: In March, I became a Mama to the sweetest little guy, and he’s been taking up pretty much all of my spare time. Skyler joined our family on a sunny afternoon, emerging in a pool in our home after a short and relatively easy labor. He was eager to join us Earthside!

Since then, we’ve been adapting to life with a baby, figuring out how to do this whole parenting thing. We haven’t traveled as much this year as we might normally, but we’ve been taking our little Mooch with us everywhere — restaurants, honky tonks, TopGolf, road trips, conferences, work trips… and soon we’ll be departing on a cruise with my parents. And he’s turning into our little travel buddy.

This year, Skyler has been to four states, has stayed in three hotels, has been on two round-trip flights and has taken one road trip. While there have been challenges, such as the hour-long scream fest during the last leg of our drive to Hilton Head, we have to say that it’s been relatively easy to travel with him, so far. His easy-going and social nature has been a blessing as we kill time in airports and drag him from place to place.

We’ve established a solid routine anytime we leave the house, and expand it for trips: stroller, Lillebaby, overpacked diaper bag, and the Lobster. We never leave home without it! This ingenious device was gifted to us friends who knew we would need it. We had never heard of or seen anything like it, but this simple high chair has made taking Skyler to restaurants so much easier.

The diaper bag is packed to the brim with backup diapers and wipes, the diaper changing pad (a lifesaver since half of the restrooms we end up in dont have changing tables), snacks, extra clothes, light-weight crinkly items to play with, and a lightweight blanket for me to coverup with when I need to feed him. Depending on where we’re going, we’ll toss in his headphones or a fan as well.

So far, we haven’t had to lug around too many entertainment options for him since he’s so easily entertained by whatever is in front of him. Menus are his favorite, but anything that he can slam will do. I’m sure this will soon change, but for now we enjoy traveling as light as possible since the kid will play with literal garbage. When we stayed in Clearwater for a week, we took advantage of the stocked kitchenette in the hotel room to improvise bath toys. 

On our first flight, to Vegas so I could attend a conference for work, we do what I always insist on anyway: sitting in the back, near the restrooms. I planned to nurse him through takeoff, as everyone had advised, but we sat on the tarmac for an hour before takeoff, during which he nursed, so he was asleep by the time we hit the runway, and he snoozed until we hit 10,000 feet. He never even noticed we were on a plane, on that flight or any of the subsequent ones. He had his parents, menus to slam, and flight attendants to flirt with; he was happy.

Getting on the flight, we learned a valuable lesson: when traveling with a lap baby, make sure that the ticketing agent staples the baby’s ticket to one of ours. At check-in, Justin  was wearing Skyler in the Lillebaby, and we checked two pieces of luggage. The agent looked at our IDs before handing us our tickets, and very clearly Skyler did not have his own ticket. So she should have printed out a lap baby ticket to staple to mine. Furthermore, TSA should never have let us through security with a baby who had no documentation. When we tried to board the plane (A group, dammit!), the gate agent wouldn’t let me on because I didn’t have a ticket for Skyler. So we had to rush over to one of the help desks to prove that he was our child and that I had indeed booked a lap baby. If Justin hadn’t been carrying all of our passports, including Skyler’s, then I have no idea how we would have proven that Skyler was ours; we didn’t have his birth certificate on us, and they would not have let him on the plane. 

The road trip we took to Hilton Head definitely took longer than it would normally have since we split it into two driving days, turning a 6 hour drive into two 4-hour drives with plenty of stops. He did well, but so far 4-hours seems to be his limit. We’ll have to work on extending that since Justin and I like to travel by car! This trip also taught us just how much stuff babies need. We probably could have packed lighter, but it was our first trip with him, and were still in learning mode. One travel hack that paid off: renting a large canvas wagon for the week; it made schlepping all of our things to and from the room so much easier. 

We are trying to travel lighter, especially as we plan for a three-week international trip with my parents, and one thing that we learned on our most recent trip (to Florida), we can buy some of what we need upon arrival. So instead of packing diapers and toiletries, we just stocked up when we arrived. We use cloth diapers, so we never have a big stock of disposals at home, and don’t want to waste the luggage space on something that we can buy as soon as we arrive. 

So far, Skyler has been surprisingly easy to travel with. I hope I can still say that after 10 hour flight to South America, two weeks on a ship, and three weeks with my parents. 🙂

What have you learned about traveling with a baby? What are your favorite baby travel hacks? Any tips for us as we prepare for 10 hour flight to South America? Have you ever taken a cruise with a baby? Tell me your best infant travel tips!  

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