While some people think travelling with babies is completely off the table, with a little preparation, going travelling with a baby is not only completely doable but can be a wonderful time for the entire family.
We’ve been travelling with our 3 children ever since they were tiny, so I have plenty of tips for travelling with babies. However, rather than hear all my tips for travelling babies, for this article, I asked various bloggers for their top tips for traveling with baby. In this article, we have plenty of tips for flying with babies as well as all other modes of transport and just general travel tips too.
So hopefully, after reading this article, armed with all of these great tips for traveling with a baby, you’ll be ready to book for your next family adventure!
Travelling With Babies: Tips For Flying With Babies
For those thinking of airplane travel, below are our top flying tips with baby.
Request A Bassinet
If there is one thing you definitely want to do when travelling with a baby on plane, it’s requesting a bassinet. And then just keep on requesting it! This would have to be one of my best tips for flying with a baby. A bassinet gives your baby somewhere to sleep and somewhere to put them when you need to eat, go to the toilet and other essential tasks. It makes a flight with baby so much easier.
Start by ringing up the airline after booking and requesting it straight away. Put it into your online booking if you can. Ring again a day or two before your flight to make sure you still have it. Then ask again on check in.
If they don’t give it to you on check-in, sometimes they can help you at the departure gate, so it’s worth asking her again too. Failing that, asking the flight attendants when onboard for a spare seat can help.
Travelling with a baby on a plane can be tricky, but with a bassinet, it’s so much easier.
Contributed by Dave from Survey Dave
Take Many Many Clothes
One of my top tips for flying with baby is always to remember to take plenty of spare clothes for them. While it’s easy to remember that you should take a spare outfit when travelling with babies, one outfit may not be enough, especially when you are on a plane and can’t access other options.
The first time we flew with our baby, the flight became rocky and she got quite motion sick. She threw up and we changed her into her spare outfit. Then BAM! She was sick again… and again… and again… We quickly had no clean and dry clothes to put her into.
The worst thing was we were arriving somewhere cold in the middle of the night and all we could do was wrap her in a blanket until we could get to our check in baggage.
So now whenever we’re travelling with baby on plane, we take many clothing options in my hand luggage, always! Many changes of clothes for baby is definitely one of the essentials for travelling with a baby.
Contributed by Suzi from Survey Suzi
Baby Wear At The Airport
My number one advice for airplane travel with baby is to baby wear at the airport. One of the most anxiety-inducing parts of travelling with a baby is just getting through airport security and onto the plane. Travelling as a family comes with a lot of stuff – luggage, personal items, nappy bag, stroller, car seat, and of course, carrying your baby.
The best way to make this all easier is to wear your baby in the airport! Get yourself a carrier which is comfortable and easy to strap baby in. When we flew with our son for the first time, I was surprised to find out that we were allowed to wear him the whole time. I could even go through security with him in his carrier. It was a game changer! Although note that not all destinations will allow this.
Contributed by Lexie from Mommy Home Manager
For A Good Sleep, Give Baby Something Familiar That Smells Like You
Whether you are travelling by airplane with baby or just on a long distance trip, at some point, you are going to want to get your baby to sleep. If you need to have them separated from you, as in a cot in an airplane or in a car seat, then one of my tips for travelling with baby is to give them something familiar that smells like you. I find this really helps to settle them.
Before any journey with my baby, I would wear a pyjama top for a couple of nights and then give it to them as a type of comforter for when they needed to go to sleep. I would pull it out of my hand luggage and give it to my baby to snuggle with while he slept. It worked a treat and was always refreshed when we arrived at our destination after a solid sleep.
Contributed by Janine from Get Out With Kids
Take Sealable Bags For Dirty Nappies & Clothes
We all know babies are unpredictable, and there’s nothing fun about unexpected ‘surprises’ when you’re stuck in a car or airplane for hours. So one of my tips for traveling with infant (or older children for that matter) is to make sure you always have a sealable bag with you to store any messes away.
A reusable ziplock bag such as the Stasher silicone bags is perfect for this job as you can throw dirty nappies, soiled clothes, or whatever else comes up in the bag, seal it, and throw everything (including the bag) in the wash when you get home, or to your destination.
Because they’re thick and airtight, they’ll stop any smells escaping too – which is exactly what you want on a crowded plane!
Taking a few of these bags with you, means you don’t have to give up your eco-friendly habits when travelling either. As you can still use your reusable nappies and wipes and just store them away, smell-free, until you get a chance to wash them.
Definitely add a few reusable ziplock bags to your list of things to carry while travelling with baby.
Contributed by Nadine from Zero Waste Memoirs
Ask The Gate Attendant For A Possible Extra Space
When flying with a baby, the right seat on the plane can make or break the trip. Having easy access to both the window for privacy during nursing or naps, and the aisle for nappy changes or walks through the cabin is ideal. This makes the baby plane ride so much more comfortable for you.
So one of my baby on plane tips is to ask the gate attendant if there is anywhere on the plane that you and baby might be able to spread out or be more comfortable. Often there are open rows or at least open seats where you will have a bit more space, and the gate attendants are the people who have the power to move you there.
The key is to arrive early and approach them when they first get to the desk but are not busy. Always be courteous and remember that you are asking for a favour. If space is available, they are usually willing to help accommodate families, especially with babies, as they know this will make for a more pleasant flight for both the parents and the other passengers.
Contributed by Kristin from Snorkel and Hike
Bring New Or Wrapped-Up Baby Toys
One of my baby air travel tips is that before you travel, make sure you have your toys locked and loaded. You can try two things. Bring a new toy that you think you’ll baby will love and can keep him busy with for a while. Of course, make sure the toy doesn’t have any flashy lights or make noise to irritate your neighbours!
Or, you can gift-wrap a toy that your baby hasn’t played within a long time. Babies love to tear things open! Plus, he may have forgotten about the toy so that it will feel like a surprise.
Choose wisely when you want to unveil the new toys. It could be a huge sanity saver during a tense situation.
Contributed by Justine from Latitude 41
Buy An Airline Seat For Your Baby
Traveling by plane with baby has a ton of benefits. But it can also seem overwhelming and hard. So one of my tips for flying with an infant to make your flights easier is to secure your little one their own seat. Yes, babies can fly free when under the age of 2. Flying “free” means that your little bundle of joy is sharing mum/dad’s seat. Securing your baby their own seat is the safest and most comfortable way for your entire family to travel.
Buying your baby their own seat opens up mum/dad to play with them, prepare food, get up out of their seat, and overall be more comfortable. This also gives the benefit of allowing the baby to have a safe and familiar place to eat and sleep. Make sure when packing you have all of your family travel must haves, like an airline-approved car seat. You’ll know you have the right one from the sticker of an airplane on either the bottom or side.
Bottom line, you and your baby will both have a better flight experience when you both have a designated space just for you.
Contributed by Tiffany from Mommy And Me Travels
Choose The Right Time For Long-haul Flight
Many parents who are about to embark on a long haul flight with a baby, surf the web in search of every possible way to make the trip, if not pleasant, at least acceptable. What they sometimes forget is that they are the ones who really know their child.
When receiving tips for long haul flights with babies (or any flying with a baby tips for that matter), you should always ask yourself if it is relevant advice for your child if you want to avoid disastrous consequences.
For example, a common suggestion for how to travel with baby on plane, particularly on long-haul flights is to choose a flight at night time because this way the baby will spend the journey sleeping. It sure works with most babies but ask yourself if that’s what will really work for you.
Some babies sleep blissfully in their crib but have difficulty sleeping when they are on the go in the pram or in other environments. If this is your case, then keep in mind that it is much easier to entertain a baby for 12 hours during the day than at night when he is overtired.
You will also put less pressure on yourself not having to worry about disturbing too many other passengers and often the crew is also happy to support.
Contributed by Clotilde from A Princess Travelling With Twins
Tips for Traveling with Baby – Things to Bring
Invest In A Great Nursing Cover For Travel
One of the best investments in a baby kit I have made over my many years travelling with small children is my nursing cover. Not just the obvious – being able to provide my baby and me with privacy feeding in public wherever we are in the world, it’s got so many versatile uses.
I would also use my nursing cover as a sun shield over my baby capsule, or over their stroller to help them nap. A nursing cover also works great on the plane, from discreetly pumping to creating a bit of a tent for my older kids to sleep in darkness. When we go to a park, it can be folded out as an impromptu play mat or nap change mat.
Nursing covers come in several designs; I found the best for being versatile for travel was the Bebe au Lait apron-style with a peep-hole wire at the top so you – and only you – can see what you’re doing whilst the large cape wraps around both you and baby. There are also more snug designs like shawls and ponchos that wrap around you and your baby as a one piece, then when used on your capsule or stroller give a much tighter fit.
Designs have come a long way over the years and many nursing covers are so stylish and discreet you’ll find yourself just generally wearing them when travelling with babies!
Contributed by Keri from Our Globetrotters
Use A Baby Carrier
Using a baby carrier can be extremely handy for travelling with babies. With my eldest son, I never used a baby carrier and I did not think anything of it. It was not until I had my youngest son that I realised just how amazing having a baby carrier is.
Just getting around busy tourist attractions or just walking through busy streets is so much easier than using a pram. I still took a pram with me in case I needed to use it during our stay. However, going through airports or boarding public transport, I would highly recommend using a baby carrier. It makes life so much easier.
Contributed by Sam from Travels With My Boys
Take An Umbrella Stroller For Daysleeps
One of the biggest challenges when travelling with a baby can be how to work around day sleeps. In our experience, one of the most invaluable travel items we used when our children were young was an umbrella stroller. It was small enough to fold down and take on as hand luggage aboard an aircraft and was included in the baby’s luggage allowance so didn’t cost any extra to take.
Heading out with a small stroller meant that whenever our children got grizzly or it was nap time, we could pop them in the stroller and continue our exploring. It also gave us some much needed downtime – we would often find a good local restaurant around nap time, get baby off to sleep and then kick back and relax while they had a snooze.
It’s also handy to carry all the paraphernalia you need when travelling with a baby. You can hang a nappy bag off the handles along with any shopping you acquire along the way. Ultimately our stroller travelled with us to over 30 countries and it was certainly well-loved by the time our kids grew out of it!
Contributed by Kylie from Our Overseas Adventures
Have A Travel Breast Pump
Travelling with a baby is a lot easier than many parents believe. Babies are certainly easier to manage than toddlers because they need milk, a clean nappy, and plenty of cuddles.
One of the must-have items when travelling with a baby is a portable breast pump. Having a travel breast pump makes it easier for you to pump on the go or relieve yourself of excess milk if you are away from your baby. Travel breast pumps are quieter, lightweight, have great suction, and all you to move around freely.
Since a travel breast pump doesn’t keep you attached to an outlet, so you can pump anywhere at any time as long as your breast pump has a charged battery. I recommend keeping a manual breast pump in your purse. This is an extra precaution if you forget pump pieces, your battery dies before you are done pumping, or you do not have time to have a full pump session.
Having a compact travel pump will make breastfeeding while travelling with your baby a lot easier.
Contributed by Cee from Itz A Family Thing
Carry Enough Nappies For The Entire Trip
When it comes to travelling with a baby, you should always pack more than enough nappies. Ideally, carrying enough nappies to last you the entire trip works out to be the best.
It is not always easy or convenient to find the best nappy for the baby while travelling.
You will have to specifically look for stores that sell the same brand that you use at home. Alternatively, you will have to try out locally available options to see what works best for you and your baby. This process of testing out new options can prove to be stressful for both you and the baby.
Plus, not carrying enough nappies for the trip means that you also run the risk of unexpectedly running out of nappies.
Thus, even if nappies take up a lot of space in your luggage, it makes sense to carry enough nappies for the entire trip.
Contributed by Vrushali from Mumbaikar Mom
Carry A Dark Sheet
One of the best tips for travelling with a baby (apart from always packing a travel coffee maker) is to pack a dark double bed sheet to cover windows with inadequate blinds in your hotel accommodation.
The issue when you travel is that you really don’t know how each hotel room will be set up and whether the blinds will adequately darken the room. My babies always struggled with sleeps during the day and a dark room often helped them go to sleep.
With a dark sheet, you can temporarily blackout the room your baby sleeps in and help them get to sleep more quickly. It also means you have a little more flexibility to choose which room they sleep in.
Anyone with a baby who doesn’t sleep easily knows how anxiety-inducing a trip away from home can be. Carrying a sheet gives you a little extra control to manage the situation and enjoy your trip.
Contributed by Rachel from Coffeewise
Pack A Lightweight Travel Highchair
Travel highchairs are so handy and were a must have item when my kids were babies. We travelled a lot when the kids were younger and were surprised by the fact that so many places either didn’t have high chairs at all or had ones that weren’t great (especially in quieter areas of Asia).
Packing a lightweight high chair was an easy way to have one less thing to worry about when trying to decide where to eat. Many (like this great option on Amazon) weigh just over a kilogram and can be attached to pretty much any table.
It wasn’t just handy when travelling overseas either, we found it super useful for Air BnBs when we holiday around Australia, took it with us to friends houses who didn’t have kids and it even came on a 4wd trip up to Cape York with us.
Contributed by Sophie from Baby Toddler & Kids
Travelling Babies – General Tips
When it comes to travelling with a baby tips, I recommend having some white notice on hand. White noise is the number one thing we use to help our babies sleep in any situation. Because let’s face it, a well-rested baby and a well-rested parent is key to less chaotic travel.
Babies are actually used to loud noises as it’s very loud in the womb. All the blood moving around and heartbeat noises, along with outside world noises means babies are used to noisy places. White noise also helps to drown out any sudden noises, a sudden bang of a door or loud voice that breaks over the hum of the room.
Whether it was in flight in a bassinet, in the baby carrier or a hotel room, we always travel with white noise. You can download an app for your phone and choose a soothing sound (we have always loved mountain river) or purchase a standalone white noise machine. While a phone is very convenient, you may want to use it at some stage, so another device such as an old phone/iPad or a separate machine can be useful.
Your baby will sleep with the same sound for every nap or overnight sleep, providing some great consistency for your holiday.
Contributed by Jennifer from Backyard Travel Family
Book A Hotel Suite Room
If you’re asking me for a golden tip to make travelling with a baby as convenient as possible, I would recommend always to book a suite room when staying in a hotel or resort, if you can afford it.
In the first place, because suites are more spacious than standard rooms. I personally find a large bathroom a true blessing when travelling with a baby. The separate seating area is ideal for enjoying your evening when you’re little one is in bed as you don’t have to worry waking him or her up when watching TV or reminiscing the day while enjoying a glass of wine.
Also, when booking a suite, you’re paying a higher price and you’re more likely to enjoy extra benefits such as club lounge access, welcome drinks, upgraded room amenities and if you’re lucky even an upgrade to an even more luxurious suite, or a suite with a view.
Contributed by Marlieke from A Cheeky Little Monkey
Take A City Break
It is important to remember that once you have children, your holidays do change quite a bit. With this in mind, it is worth making the most of your “grown up” holidays while you still have a stationary baby rather than a crawling one.
Take a city break, do a road trip, wander through museums, enjoy long lazy lunches in a beautiful piazza while your baby naps, stay in grown up hotels and enjoy reading a good book by the pool or on the beach.
Taking a holiday with a newborn baby is not much different to taking a holiday without children – there are a few nappies to change and a baby to cuddle, but otherwise, you can pretty much do what you’ve always done. Once your baby can move, many of these activities will have to be adjusted somewhat!
Contributed by Annabel from Smudged Postcard
Know The Cost When Cruising With A Baby
If you’re planning a cruise with a baby, it’s important to consider how much cruise lines charge for babies. This varies hugely and can be anything from free to full adult fare. Choosing a cruise ship where your baby sails for free is an easy way to slash the cost of your cruise, possibly by thousands of dollars.
Babies cruise for free with MSC Cruises and Cunard. Of these, MSC Cruises is the most baby-friendly option. Other cruise lines to consider are Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises and Disney Cruise Line, where babies will sail for a reduced price.
If you wish to cruise with one of the big American cruise lines like Carnival, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises or Norwegian Cruise Line, then you could be expected to pay the full adult fare for your baby. To get around this, look out for promotions where kids sail for a reduced price.
Contributed by Jenni from Cruise Mommy
Take Steps To Prevent Baby Jet Lag
Did you know that babies can get jet lag, too? As you can imagine, it is not fun. Jet lag can make babies groggy, resistant to sleep, cranky, and even nauseas. But there are ways to prevent baby jet lag!
You will want to start preparing yourself and your baby well ahead of your trip. If you are dealing with a significant time change, start adjusting bedtime in the days leading up to your departure. If you can shift by 15 minutes toward the time zone of your destination each night, you will be in much better shape to handle the time change.
During the flight, be sure to keep your baby well-hydrated – it makes a huge difference in reducing the physical effects of jet lag. Bring healthy, filling snacks (like protein-packed baby food pouches) and do not rely on whatever is available on the plane.
Aim to put your baby to sleep on the plane around normal bedtime at your destination, if possible. Turn off any screens at least an hour before that time.
Once you arrive at your destination, you may need to continue to adjust slowly over several days. Don’t plan anything for the first two days of your trip that you would be devastated to miss, just in case!
Baby jet lag can be tough to deal with, but with a little preparation, you can take steps to prevent it.
Contributed by Dani from Diapers in Paradise
Go With The Flow And Relax
Travelling with baby, no matter what mode of transport you use can be extremely daunting for new parents. We are not sure of a lot of things, so we, as parents tend to over plan every bit of it. But what we often forget is how to deal with things that go wrong. By all means, plan the day, but also be prepared to accept the way things go.
Your baby could constantly be crying throughout the flight journey. During these emotionally stressful and mentally exhausting times, it is important to relax and stay calm.
Similarly, a lot of things could go wrong and cause delays and cancellations to your plan – an unsettled crying baby, colic or reflux causing discomfort, nappy accidents, not finding a place to feed the baby, puke on your dress and unable to change them and a whole lot of other things. It is sometimes not possible to proceed the day with what you planned. Take it easy at these times, take a deep breath, and go with the flow.
If things are delayed, so be it. Call it a day, and be open to tweaking your plan to suit your current need. For instance, if you had 4 or 5 things to see on a given day, reduce it to 2.
Travelling with a baby is different and sometimes we need to slow down the pace, for our own sanity and baby’s well-being.
Contributed by Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple
So there you have it, some great advice for how to travel with a baby from other families who have successfully done it in the past. Like I said in the intro, travelling with a baby can be tricky, but as you can see from the above travel tips with infants, with a little preparation it really is doable.
Hopefully, you have found these travel tips with baby helpful and you now feel more comfortable to plan your own adventure with your little one.
Sharon is a proud Melbournian mum of 3 who blogs for a living in between parenting and (thanks to coronavirus) homeschooling.