If you’ve always had a love for travel, that doesn’t have to change when you become a parent. Traveling is important in introducing culture, knowledge, and new experiences to both yourself and your child. Whether you plan to secure one trip or multiple trips, these ten tips for traveling internationally with your infant can help ease your stress—at least a little bit.
1. Your infant also needs a passport.
And depending on where you’re traveling, she or he may need a visa as well. Look up the guidelines for each and apply well in advance of your trip—six weeks at the very least.
2. Book an appointment with your child’s pediatrician.
A physician should see your infant before traveling to make sure that she or he is healthy enough for the trip and that all vaccinations are up to date. Also, be sure to check whether the water at your travel destination is safe for your child to consume.
3. Bring a baby carrier.
You may still want to pack your stroller (and I would advise it—your car seat too), but if wish to minimize the bulk while you travel with your child, simply baby wear them. There are a ton of great wraps and carriers to choose from before you leave for your trip. To ensure your infant’s safety, be sure that you are wearing the carrier correctly and that all of the straps are tightened accordingly.
4. With an infant, there is no such thing as over packing.
Babies have accidents. Spit up, blow outs—if it happens at home, it is even more likely to happen while you’re traveling with a limited number of outfits. Think about how many outfits you will need for your child and then pack even more.
5. Be prepared for your infant to experience discomfort on the flight.
You know how badly your ears can pop on a plane at 30,000 feet of elevation. Your baby’s ears are more sensitive and he or she needs to suck in order to ease into the height. At takeoff and landing—but possibly throughout the entire flight—give your baby a pacifier, a bottle, or simply breastfeed him or her.
6. Research your travel destination and plan ahead.
Planning ahead and knowing what to expect is so important when you have an infant. You don’t want any surprises—such as finding out that a place you’re trying to visit isn’t stroller friendly, after already walking for an hour to get there.
7. Prepare for jet lag.
Babies that are used to extreme routine when it comes to bedtime will be extremely shaken up when traveling to a different time zone. Ease into a new bedtime that will work with the time zone in your destination rather than shocking your baby with a completely different routine.
8. Decide if you’re going to buy your infant a seat or not.
Airlines will sell you a seat to strap an FAA-approved car seat into during travel. However, there is also the option of simply holding your baby during the flight. International flights typically charge extra taxes for the baby even if he or she doesn’t have their own seat, but it is cheaper than buying a seat for them. Decide what is the best option for you.
9. Don’t forget sleeping accommodations for your baby.
Although hotel rooms are already equipped with a bed, don’t forget that your baby sleeps in a crib. Check with your hotel ahead of time to see if they supply cribs or bring a travel crib from home.
You’re on vacation! You’re traveling to get a break. Although it’s fun to bring the baby along everywhere, look into hiring a babysitter, or a relative if you’re visiting family, so that you can still have some time to yourselves. Becoming parents is not the end of the fun and spontaneity in your lives. It just brings in a new adventure.
11. Insure Your Trip!
Children are accident prone and you never know when your little one will feel ill. Making sure that your trip can be cancelled in case your infant is not up for the journey is imperative. Purchasing travel insurance for an upcoming trip or all trips will let you travel with one less worry.
So don’t be scared of traveling just because you now have an infant. As is for any trip, the most stressful part is right before you leave. Once you’re on your way and have reached your destination, you’ll realize that you have nothing to worry about.