You probably already heard about our baby announcement last month, and how we are planning to have a third traveler with us on the road from now on! In an attempt to prepare, we reached out to some of our favorite family travel bloggers on how they do it and any wisdom they could send our way.
There is a big travel myth, that once you start having a family, you have to settle down, stop traveling and start living “a more normal American Dream”. We’ve met too many family travelers to believe that, so here we go – baby in tow, still breaking out of the 9 – 5 and creating our own version of a location independent lifestyle as a family of three.
We hope you enjoy reading through some of the great advice below and encourage you to add your own in the comments – we need all the help we can get 🙂
“The best advice we can give to newbie parents looking to travel with their little one is to slow down. Traveling with a baby can be exhausting, so don’t try to do too much.
The success of your trip starts with setting proper expectations. Sure, your baby can sleep in a carrier or stroller, but it’s best to try to replicate your home routines. Try to do your sightseeing or activities in the morning, that way you can return to your hotel room for an afternoon naps.
Sleep is your friend… take it when you can get it!”
“Take it slow.
Be realistic about what you can do with kids in tow and don’t cram too much into your itinerary. Build nap and snack breaks into your daily plan. Staying in one place is a good idea, as kids get tired easily so you don’t to be racing around from place to place with them.”
Nancy with Family On Bikes had two pieces of advice for new parents, whether they are traveling or not.
“1) Sleep when the baby sleeps
2) Go with your gut.
Parenting is a natural thing and, if we listen to our inner voice, we’ll know exactly what to do.”
“Traveling with children can be such a joy.
One of the more satisfying aspects of family travel has been watching our now 7-year-old son react to all the new experiences he’s had. It has been once-in-a-lifetime moments such as seeing him laugh hysterically at the top of the Eiffel Tower as the wind gusts through his wavy hair. And smaller ones, too, such as sketching the paintings he sees at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M.
No matter how tough it might be to deal with cranky toddlers who are going without a nap or fussing over foreign foods, or maybe you are wishing you could go out for a nightcap when you instead find yourself back in the room at 8 p.m., cherish those experiences.
Soak it all in, even the tough moments. Traveling with a little one is a special gift (one that might cause you to pull your hair out at times, but a gift still). Something or someone made you the travelers you are today. The torch is now being passed to you. It’s your turn to pass on the wonders of seeing the world to this little one.”
and from our Facebook community…
“I only have experience with newborn – 17 months old.
1) make a list of what you need to bring
2) start packing 2-3 days ahead (you don’t want to forget anything, and if you need something last-minute, you’ll have time to get it)
3) give yourself extra time to leave for airport (unless it is a road trip, which we did too when he was 3 months old)
4) buy an inexpensive light umbrella stroller just for travel (what a difference that makes)
5) you need to decide whether or not to bring car seat (depending on where you’re going, etc) and/or buy baby harness for air travel as some airlines do not provide one, you’re basically holding baby in your lap)
6) on take off and landing – nurse/feed/use pacifier to avoid air pressure problem (I also bought noise reducing ear phones for my son, if you’d like link let me know)
7) last and final advice, (air) travel with your baby as much as you can within the first 2 yrs of life, airfare is FREE (we’ve been traveling with him on average every other month since he was 3 months old; our next destination is Bermuda at the end of the month).
PS. bring baby’s favorite snacks, couple of toys (not too noisy as to be respectful to other fellow travelers), and books for the plane to keep busy AND baby’s travel medical kit (I have two, one for home and one for travel).”
There you have it – some great advice for traveling with a family. What would you add from your own experiences?