Last Updated on: 9th September 2023, 03:23 pm
In anticipation of the birth of our first child at the end of this month, I have been reaching out to all the super travel moms I know for advice.
Luckily, my Wildly Successful Travel Writers community is full of super travel moms who are eager to share their sage advice and best tips with me as I head into this new season of my life. Many of these incredible ladies have been traveling with their babies since before their first birthdays.
Just like me, these travel moms have work that revolves around travel such as travel blogging or running travel agencies. Since they couldn’t stop traveling, they traveled with their families.
The advice and guidance I have received from these 15 super travel moms have put my mind at ease about welcoming the newest member of Our Soulful Travels into the big beautiful world. I know from their stories that my son will benefit from a lifetime of adventures with two doting and present parents by his side teaching him as we explore this world together.
Whether you dread flying with a toddler or worry about disrupting your baby’s schedule with travel, I hope this post inspires you to take the leap and travel with your little one too!
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Jenessa Baird Van Woerkom from Destination Daydreamer started traveling when her baby was 3 months old.
I recommend sticking to a one-night getaway for the first time away from home. In case it all goes downhill, you only have to do it for one night and you’re not stuck on an international 2-week long vacation! A one-night getaway is a great transition into bigger/longer trips and will give you the confidence you need to continue to travel.
Jenn Warren of Dinkum Tribe also started traveling with her youngest child at the 3-month mark.
One of the best road trip tips for families with young kids is to plan for regular stops (as often as every hour sometimes). Give yourself lots of margin in your itinerary so that you can rest and catch up on sleep after long sleepless nights. Definitely get travel insurance when possible. Hold your plans loosely.
Go For It
Lissa Paddock from Roots, Wings, and Travel Things started traveling when her twins were 11 months old.
Just GO FOR IT. Your travels will look different. You’ll have to plan around feedings and naps and be a lot more flexible so you can adjust to your child’s schedule and needs- but nurturing that adventurous spirit within them at a young age is totally worth it. By the time our boys could talk they were begging for “more airplanes” and today at 12, they are truly the most adventurous kids we ever could have dreamed of. So don’t be afraid of traveling with an infant or toddler. Sure, it can be tough at times. But be flexible and follow your baby’s lead and I promise it will all be worth it as they grow up!
Diane McAllister of Travels with Eli took her first big trip from Colorado to Alaska when her son was only 4 weeks old.
Start traveling right away! I know moms who were so set on not disrupting their infant’s routine that they didn’t travel for the whole first year. Then, when they tried to travel, their little one wasn’t used to sleeping anywhere but home and it ended up being a stressful situation for the whole family. Infants are extremely adaptable! If you start traveling soon after they are born, traveling will quickly become easy and fun for the whole family.
3 Sage Tips for Travel Moms
Kristina Bullock of Million Miler Mom first started traveling when her babies were 3 months old has provided 3 great tips for travel moms:
Do not feel bad about traveling with an infant. 99% of people are sympathetic and actually helpful to a parent who needs an extra set of hands here and there. If your baby does cry during a flight, consider how loud the plane is and how many people are already wearing noise-canceling headphones!
Rent baby gear locally! Try to bring the minimum and consider babywearing for the airport but rent a stroller, crib, and other items locally. Companies like Cloud of Goods and BabyQuip are a good start but also just google “rent baby gear [city name]”. Worst case scenario, find a local baby store and contact them for referrals.
Alicia Richards from Travels With The Crew started traveling when her child was 6 months old.
My best advice is to pack double the clothes you think you will need! It’s the only time I don’t pack light.
Factor in Transportation
Dani Ward of Diapers in Paradise started traveling with her baby at the 3-month mark too.
Factor transportation into your plans from the beginning. When traveling with a baby, it can be extremely challenging to get around. You don’t want to sacrifice safety, but you also don’t want to carry the car seat every time you leave the hotel. So how can you travel with a baby without a car seat? The first thing is to ensure you stay somewhere close to public transportation. Rail transportation is very safe, and in many cities, it will get you to most of the destinations that you want to see. In cities with well-developed transit, staying near a bus stop is just as good.
If you are planning to see several sites that require driving, consider hiring a driver for a day or two and doing them all at once. That way, you can leave your car seat in the car and you don’t have to worry about catching a taxi. Many driver companies will have car seats available for rent, as well, in case you leave it at home altogether. Another idea for eliminating taxi time is to book your airport transfers ahead of time. Most shuttle services will also rent out car seats, and you can request to have a car with a car seat waiting for you.
Choose a Suitable Travel Stroller
Sayali Bedekar Patil of YOTRIPP is one of the best travel moms I know who started traveling solo with her daughter when she was 3 months old.
I started traveling with my daughter when she was 3MO. Quite early. I needed her to get used to it since I travel a lot myself. The travels were amazing. She was an angel. My daughter hopped 11 countries in her first 12 months!
My only suggestion for new travel moms who wish to travel with their little ones is to get an easy-to-use travel stroller. My stroller was Quinny Mood and though it was super solid and super stylish (and I loved it to bits), it almost never fit in the airport scanners that are located by the boarding gates. So they always had to send someone out from the second scanning post to get it scanned again outside (before you check in). At almost all airports I had to do it twice, luckily, with help. Everything else is manageable.
I have a lot of fun showing my now-6-year-old her pictures and telling her, see this is Hungary and this is Bhutan. She is always like, I don’t remember mom. And I am always like, that’s why I have these pictures.
Plan Flights Well
Debbie Fettback of World Adventurists has 4 children. Her first baby had her first flight at 6 months but she started smaller road trips started around 2 months. All her other kids started traveling when they were a month old.
If you’re flying with a baby, you will want to try to book a direct flight or connections with a longer layover. Keeping the number of flights in a journey to a minimum will make life much easier. However, if it just is not possible, try to get some extra time on the ground between flights to be able to take care of your baby’s needs. It will be less stressful if you do not have to race to the next gate with the baby and the extra items you bring on the plane or leave at the gate (e.g. stroller, car seat, bag of baby things).
The baby will also be much calmer for the journey. Also, take the time to make a washroom stop to change the baby’s diaper before boarding the plane; it is much easier than having an extra diaper to change in the confines of an airplane washroom.
It is also important to take the time to take care of yourself too travel moms. If you are not feeling your best, it will be that much harder to travel with a baby. Take time to grab food that you will enjoy between flights.
Take off and landing is a lot easier if you are breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or the baby has a pacifier as it helps relieve that ear pressure that otherwise can cause discomfort that leads to crying and screaming.
Stick to a Schedule
Cosette Karsmakers of KarsTravels first traveled with her son when he was 4 months old to visit an aunt and uncle. They traveled from Utrecht, the Netherlands to Norderstedt Germany with a small and breastfeeding baby for about 9 hours by car. Her first flight with their son was at 13 months old flying from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to Las Vegas for a California road trip.
Just do it! Be flexible with what you can do, if your kid is having a less day, you have to be able to stay put or just do less. Keep their schedule, so when you feed them, give them fruit, dinner, etc. Keep this at the same time as when you’re at home. Our son always slept in the car or stroller, so we used to drive while he was sleeping like a baby.
Keep in mind that you can do less on a day at the baby and toddler age, than when it was just the two of you traveling. After the toddler age, you can do more again on days, you just do more stuff that’s also fun for your kid and/or as a family. Just do it, because the best routine for your family you will develop while traveling!
Buy a Good Baby Carrier
Babs Rodrigus from Mums on FlipFlops first traveled when her infant was 4 months old.
Invest in a good baby carrier if you haven’t already. You’ll be spending a lot of time outside experiencing things and exploring. Many towns and cities are not suitable for strollers, but carrying your little one makes moving around and taking public transport super easy. Besides, it’s also great to keep them close to you in busy places such as Asian night markets. You can easily carry your child until they are 4 or 5 years old, so if your toddler is running away fast, you’ll be more than happy to have brought the carrier.
2 Practical Tips for Travel Moms
Alma van As of Roaming Fox took a road trip when her firstborn was only 6 weeks old and flew with him when he was 9 months old. She has provided 2 very practical tips for travel moms based on her experience:
Tip 1: Adapt and compromise
It’s many years since I traveled with a baby and in my opinion, it depends on how you adapt to motherhood as well as your baby’s health.
Our first travel experience with our firstborn child was at about 6 weeks on a road trip. We drove from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth and then to Plettenberg Bay. It was the middle of winter, so Babygro’s, blankets, and loads of nappies were the order of the day… until we got to the coast and there was a berg wind with the temperature soaring well above 20 degrees Celsius. We had no summer clothes for him because he would outgrow them by the time summer arrived, so we stripped him down to his short-sleeved vest and nappy so he could keep cool and not become dehydrated.
Tip 2: Pack an extra supply of items in case of emergencies
The second time was a flight on my own with the same son when he was about 9 months old. I was flying to Port Elizabeth from Johannesburg, a short one-and-a-half-hour flight until it was diverted because of bad weather. Our plane landed in Cape Town instead, late at night, somewhere between 10 and 12 p.m. We were told by the airline that our flight would depart early the following morning. No arrangements were made for us regarding overnight accommodation. I was not going to spend the night at the airport! This was in the days before cell phones as well.
Naïve as I was at the time I had no clue what to do, except phone friends – from a coin-operated public phone – who lived in Cape Town. They fetched us fortunately and put us up for the night. It just as well that I had enough extra nappies and formula in my hand luggage to make it through the night.
Keep Your Routine
Renata Green from Bye Myself traveled with her daughter when she was 9 months old and then planned longer trips to the Caribbean when she was 2 years old.
Especially during your first travels and on the first days of your trip, try to stick to your most important routines from home. Eat at the same hour, make time for the naps your baby is used to, etc. Slowly, you can adapt your routines to the destinations. Don’t overwhelm either your baby or yourself. Try out and get used to how traveling with a baby differs from your former travels.
Roxanne de Bruyn of Faraway Worlds first took a weekend away with her 3-month-old to visit grandparents but then started taking longer trips with her baby at 7 months old.
Travel slowly. Everything takes longer with a baby and keeping their routines consistent makes life so much easier and keeps your baby happy no matter where they are. When our little one was a baby, we tried to keep naps, meals, etc. relatively the same no matter where we were. Of course, that did mean we had to be more flexible with our travel style and ended up trying to time long drives or walks for nap time. Traveling slowly meant we could take our time and be flexible to his needs and routines.
3 Final Tips for Travel Moms
Jesal Desai of Tourist to Travellers first traveled with her baby at 3 months and has these pro tips to share with travel moms:
- Opt for a staycation the first time you venture out and choose a hotel/resort within driving distance from your house. This will ensure that if your baby is not comfortable being outside her comfort zone, you always have the option to return home before the situation worsens.
- A diaper bag comes in very handy. All the important things such as formula, bottled, one pair of clothes, diapers, rash cream, baby wipes etc. can be segregated and compartmentalized properly in a diaper bag.
- Always feed the baby before you step out. This way the baby will be less cranky for a few hours. Keep a snack such as fruit/milk handy so that you can quickly feed the baby.
Pro tip – If you are a formula-feeding mom, you can air-dry the bottles and add x ounces of formula that your baby generally drinks in one go. When the baby cries out for milk, you only need to add water to it and the job is done.