9 Ways to Prepare for Traveling With Your BabyKatlyn Joy |14, November 2013
Parents are made of hearty stuff and few things prove that as much as traveling with your baby. However, expertise is usually gained by horrid mistakes made over a series of misadventures. To help you avoid the same mistakes, here is a list of things to do to prepare or decisions to make ahead of your trip.
9 ways to prepare for your trip with baby
1. Plan the destination with baby in mind.
An exotic, off the beaten track location is not appropriate for baby vacations. You want to be near good medical facilities. Also, consider the climate for the time of year you will be visiting. Going to sunny Florida in sweltering August is a nightmare waiting to happen.
2. Plan the journey with baby's schedule in mind.
Whether driving or flying, many parents find it's a great idea to leave in the evening so that much of the traveling when their baby will be sleeping. If you are flying, evening flights are often less crowded and that is a huge plus for a family traveling with a baby. If you are driving in the day time, remember your baby's typical schedule for eating, napping and sleeping and try to keep to the normal routine as much as possible.
3. Learn the zen of packing for baby.
Balance is everything. You want to have what you need and nothing extraneous. It is best to plan for worst case scenarios that are relatively high risk, such as delayed flights. Make sure you have enough diapers, food and changes of clothing to get you beyond what you think you will need. Do not over pack for every possible contingency plan though. (See the packing list below)
4. Give yourself plenty of time.
Build extra time into your schedule by getting everywhere early. If you need to be at the airport at 6:00, arrive at 5:15. That way if a diaper explodes, a bag gets misplaced or the lines are inexplicably long, you'll still be OK.
5. Keep your baby's routine the same where ever you go.
This may not be perfectly possible each day, but keeping your baby's regular routine as much as possible will make your life easier during and after the vacation. You do not want your baby to be overtired and stressed when you arrive at Grandma's for Thanksgiving dinner.
6. Remember the keys to a happy baby: comfort, nutrition, sleep and entertainment.
Bring the simplest arrangement to make diaper changes quick and clean. Try not to stretch the time between changes. Also, if your push feeding time apart too much either or your baby might end up having a melt down. Sleep schedule adherence is a must, but don't forget a bored baby is a baby with a bad attitude. If baby is sick of riding in a car seat, sit beside him for awhile. Bring a mix of favorite toys and new toys. Distraction is a tool never to be overlooked! You know your baby and what will work best.
7. Bring a ziplock bag with a clean wet washcloth.
The uses for this are limitless and deserving of a place alone on the list. Messes do happen—especially on trips!
8. Make a list of everything you need before you begin packing.
Be like Santa and check and double-check the list.
9. Expect the worst and you will probably end up pleasantly surprised.
Your attitude can determine the outcome of a trip. Expect mishaps, melt downs, and being late. If you think you can plan perfectly and make it go perfectly, you might be destined for disappointment.
What should you pack for your baby?
If you are renting a car, you might want to consider renting a car seat too. If you are bringing a stroller, consider a lightweight collapsible one and don't check it with luggage; wait and check it at the gate. Skip bathtubs, bouncers, swings or play yards. If you need anything that big, it is best rent it at the destination. You will save money by not having to check these items in at the airport too!
First aid kit.
This should include bandaids, antibiotic cream, tweezers, and medicines you are likely to need, based on your baby's needs.
Lots of Diapers!
You want to pack more than you think you will need en route. If you are traveling somewhere where it's a snap to run to an affordable store, then don't feel the need to pack more than that. However, if where you will be going is more expensive cost of living wise, such as the beach or a large city, you will want to pack as many as you can to save on costs!
The same rule apply as with diapers. You will want to have enough baby formula on hand to feed your baby without having to dash to the closest store at the last minute! If you are breastfeeding, bring an extra blanket for discreet traveling nursing, if you need to.
If you baby is old enough to be eating solid foods, you will definitely need an assortment of snacks. Be sure to consider the mess factor when packing though.
Entertainment for Baby
Toys and books, including any loveys and things that remind your baby of home.
Bring extra clothing for your baby. If your destination has a laundromat available, or you are staying at a relative or friend's house, you can bring less clothing and do laundry to compensate. This way, you won't have to pack too much! Go for layers and you can't go wrong.
Traveling with your baby can create many new fond memories for your new family. By being prepared, and planning ahead, you are well on your way to a stress free, well planned family trip your whole family will love!
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