Summer is just around the corner and with that comes VACATIONS, whether it be a local weekend getaway or 1-2 weeks overseas, I want to share my top packing tips and advice for traveling with your little one
By no means are these tips going to be the perfect solution for all moms and dads–please modify to fit your travel plans and family.
Recently, we traveled to the Caribbean with my family, including my husband, baby, and I, plus my parents and siblings! I have been fortunate to grow up in a family who loves to travel and take a family vacation each and every year – just the five of us, no friends allowed. As we have grown, we have began to go on these family trips with my husband, and significant others of my sister and brother, and this year, with my little Luc! I must say that traveling with a baby is an entirely different ball game than traveling by yourself with a group of other adults. You would think that going to a Caribbean island for a week would be light & easy packing, napping on your red-eye flight, and cocktails in hand soaking up the sun on the beach or the pool at your all-inclusive resort…you thought wrong!! While it was an amazing adventure, and a sight to see, it was definitely more work than I expected, thankfully I had packed more than enough items to make my life a little easier and my entire family was with me to help when things got a little rough!
Packing for your little one might be the most challenging because you don’t know what the week ahead holds – how many poopy diapers you are going to have to change, if your baby will get sick, will he get bit by mosquitos, will he get sunburnt, how will he like the food at the resort, and the list goes on and on. My advice to you is over pack just enough but not too much!
Here is a little checklist that I used and will continue to use and modify as I travel anywhere with Luc:
- Clothing: Pack 2 outfits per day just in case your little one has a “blow out”, gets too hot or too cold, or makes a mess of himself at 8am from breakfast! Don’t forget to pack extra socks and hats, according to your destination’s weather forecast!
- Toiletries: Just like you have a dedicated toiletry bag, your baby needs one too.
- Shampoo/Baby Wash (I use Aveeno Baby, and they have the perfect small travel size available).
- Baby Lotion
- Baby Sunscreen, 50 SPF or higher
- Nasal Saline Spray (I prefer Little Remedies Sterile Saline Mist)
- Teething Tablets (boy were these a life saver!! I use Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablets)
- Q-tips (for when the salt water and sand get their little ears)
- Medications (Just In Case) – I brought Infant Tylenol, Baby Bug Spray, and Little Remedies Pain Relief Spray
- Toys: When babies are in a brand new environment, it can be a little scary and rough, I encourage you to pack 5-8 of their favorite toys to keep them calm and relaxed when on the plane and in the hotel room. Especially if you are little one is teething like Luc, bring extra teething toys and pacifiers (if your baby takes one).
- Food / Snacks: Luc has officially started solids and not knowing what kind of food the resort would have, I prepared myself with food/snacks that I know I can turn to in an emergency.
- I make my own baby food (Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post later this week), however for vacation, I purchased Happy Tot Organic Superfoods pouches, one for each day. Although I didn’t use them all, it was reassuring to know that I had food I can trust if I needed it, plus these pouches are TSA approved for your carry on!!
- Snacks – I packed Gerber Graduates Puffs and Baby Mum Mums for my little guy, which kept him happy at all times!
- Blankets: Hotel rooms can be tough on the little one, so try to make it “like home” by bringing along some blankets (light and heavy) that carry the scent of you, of baby, or of home to make baby feel at home when napping or going to bed at night.
- DIAPERS DIAPERS DIAPERS: You never know when you are going to need to change your little one, so pack enough diapers and then some just in case, you can never be too prepared! If you are traveling somewhere with swimming, bring a full pack of Swimmers – these made it easier on me because they didn’t absorb a ton of water like regular diapers do, which reduced the number of diaper changes throughout the day.
- Wipes: I brought one full package of Pampers wipes PLUS my favorite Eat Cleaner Grab n’ Go Wipes for everything else. I use these for hands & face, plus dirty surfaces and high chairs when we are out and about.
- Light-Weight Stroller: Bring a light weight stroller (we brought our Snap n’ Go with the infant carrier). It was super easy to travel with in the airport, folded easily to fit through security, and was lightweight enough to check at the gate, along with the carseat and base.
- Small Diaper Bag – I brought our backpack style diaper bag on the trip, it was easy in the airport, not too big, and was great for moving around the resort
- Important Documents & Numbers – Traveling internationally requires even your little one to have a United States Passport, so plan in advance and apply for one 6-8 weeks prior to your travel plans. I also had my baby’s pediatrician’s phone number on hand in the event of an emergency!
- Camera – You are definitely going to want to capture almost every moment of your baby’s first big vacation so don’t forget your camera and take lots of pictures!
Of course these are just some things that I packed that made my life easier when traveling with Luc, feel free to use it and modify as you see fit for your trip and your little one(s)!
A few more words of advice when traveling with your little one:
If flying, bring enough toys, extra pacifier, and snacks to keep your baby occupied and distracted, just in case he or she does not fall asleep. I was extremely grateful that Luc fell asleep during both flights to the Caribbean and one flight back home.
One tip that I read a while back and truly love: Let people at the gate see your baby and allow them to interact with him/her, smile at, and adore him/her! This will definitely make it 10 times easier on the actual flight IF your baby is not a happy camper; if they think your baby is adorable, they will be less likely to get upset and irritated that the sound of them crying!!!
Work as a Team! Use your partner, spouse, or family members traveling with you. Designate tasks for each person to take care of, for example, at the airport, put dad in charge of certain items, while you bring the baby through security and get situated in your seats while boarding or vice versa.
Accept the help! You want time on vacation to relax too, so if you are traveling with others who are offering and willing to take the baby off your hands for a bit, ACCEPT IT AND ENJOY! Especially if traveling with grandparents or aunties/uncles, they want to hang with their grand baby or neice/nephew, so let them!
Don’t Stress! Probably the most important…you cannot change how your little one will react to the vacation, so don’t stress and take each moment as it comes! If your baby is teething, upset, and just not happy, give him/her extra love and attention. If your baby does not want to go to sleep in hotel provided crib, allow him/her to co-sleep with you, they will be more comfortable and you will get a better night’s sleep. If your little one is fussy at dinner, step away and take him/her for a walk outside until they calm down.
Finally, ENJOY YOUR TRIP and NEVER STOP TRAVELING!
Yes, it might be a little more work, and yes you might have to pack extra stuff, but it is all worth it in the end! You are creating life long memories that you will cherish forever!