There are lots of activities that we are excited to do with our babies as soon as they arrived. Some of these include our favorite hobbies like swimming, dancing, cooking, playing ball games, and a lot more. However, for some, what they are excited to do with their babies is simply to travel around the world. Although babies give the least participation in these activities, it still means a lot to us as parents.
Hence, if you are one of those who are excited to travel with their babies, here is a complete guide on how you can take him to travel safely: Identify Baby’s Right Age for Travel, Prepare Your Baby’s Passport, Prioritize Minimalist and Light Packing for Your Baby, Choose a Carrier Over a Stroller, Book or Rent a Car With a Carseat for newborn, Choose Breastfeeding Over Bottle Feeding, Look for a Local Babysitter or Nanny Services, Always Proceed to Priority Boarding, Security, and Customs, and a lot more.
To make this guide as complete as possible, we have indicated in this article the things you should expect in travels depending on your baby’s age. At the same time, we have included the things you have to consider to still keep your baby healthy and safe even in a different place.
And lastly, we have divided your travel experience into three (3) parts: before traveling, during traveling, and after traveling with your baby. All of which contains tips and ways for a successful and happy trip with your precious little one. With that said, take time to read this article as the adventure awaits ahead!
Traveling Based on Your Baby’s Age: What to Expect
Your baby, in different ages, also responds differently on travels. So, when going to adventures with them whether it is through air or land travels, consider researching on your baby’s possible behaviours depending on his age. Since long travels require flying with your kids, we have provided you a guideline below to help you plan for next adventures:
0 to 3 months
Flying with your baby in this age is critical. This is because your baby tends to sleep and be awake in the most inappropriate time. Hence, it is so inconvenient to you as parents and to the other passengers as well when they start to make noises in the middle of the night.
Plus, by this time, mothers are still recovering from childbirth. Meaning, it can be physically tiring for mothers to carry their babies wherever they go. Lastly, infants may absorb germs that thrive in different places. Since they are still susceptible to infections, you might give a second though traveling with your baby at this age. Well, only if necessary.
3 to 9 months
This stage can be a perfect time to fly with your babies. The only downside of this is that your baby still requires a lot of nursing, feeding, and sleeping inside the plane. Hence, this stage needs you to be very patient with your baby.
9 to 12 months
This stage is the peak of your baby’s activities. He tends to crawl in the aisle, extend his body a lot, and squirm out of your arms! Although this can also be a perfect stage to travel with him, you just have to buy a seat to keep him in place.
12 to 18 months
One-year-old babies are the hardest part to handle — all the things you say seem like a breath of air to them. At this stage, they still do not identify that it is a discipline that you are trying to instill to them. In this case, bribery and distraction can only be your way to keep them calm during travels.
2 to 3 years
This year is probably the end of your hardship! At this age, your baby now develops a sense of discipline. At the same time, he is currently developing a more sustained attention span. Relying on electronic assistance can be the key here. Allow him to watch movies or play games on your phone. Just not too much!
Traveling With Your Baby: What to Consider
When air traveling with your baby, there are still a lot of considerations to factor in. This is primarily because your baby’s health and senses are still sensitive. Henceforth, here is the list of things that experts recommend before you fly with your baby:
Traveling shortly after birth is discouraged by doctors unless it is very necessary to do so. The prime reason for this is that your baby is still susceptible to infectious diseases that he might get in different places especially if it is a crowded one.
In this case, ask your doctor about a more comprehensive list of reminders before traveling with your baby.Hence, if you have to really travel with your baby, just make sure that you sanitize your hand when holding him. Also, make sure that you will be the one to hold your baby the entire time to avoid contact with possible ill travelers.
The changing cabin pressure triggers ear pain for adults. Hence, imagine what impact it can create to your baby! If your baby had recent ear surgery or infection, you might want to take a pass on taking him on a trip.But if it is really necessary, you should first ask your doctor if it is okay to fly with him.
Further, to aid in the possible ear pain during takeoff, offer your baby a bottle, breast or pacifier to suck on. By doing so, it helps your baby’s ears to equalize pressure. It will also be best if you time the takeoff in your baby’s feeding as he feels hungry during these times.
Since the airplane cabin also contains loud noises during takeoff, consider putting on cotton balls on his ears. Noise canceling headphones or earplugs can also do.
The oxygen level inside an aircraft cabin also varies depending on the altitude and the plane’s height from the ground. Although this is not much of a problem for healthy babies, you should still check on your baby’s breathing from time to time.
This is mostly applicable to premature babies and those who suffer from lung or heart problems as they are more sensitive to oxygen level changes. If this is the case, always prepare medical supplies to help your baby get through this. Also, check on your doctor’s approval first before you let him fly with you.
If you have your own car seat for your baby, most airlines recommend that you bring it with you. The common practice in the plane includes putting the baby on the parent’s lap the entire time. Although this has been the common scenario for parents who travel with babies, it is still safer to provide your baby with his own seat.This is beneficial to avoid your baby’s head bumping on the front seat during air traffic. If you do not have one, you can check on the plane’s available car seat or any available seat next to you.
Do not give your baby sleeping medicines during flights especially if these medicines are not recommended by your doctor. Some medicines we are referring to are the Diphenhydramine, Benadryl, and others. Taking in medicines is not recommended due to safety concerns. At the same time, there are instances that the medicines bring the opposite of their supposedly effect.
A Complete Guide Before, During, and After Travelling With Your Baby
As mentioned, we have divided your travel experience with your baby into three (3) parts: before traveling, during traveling, and after traveling with the intent in making it as complete as possible. Each section indicates the ways and tips to remember for safe and happy travel.
Before Travelling With Your Baby
Identify Baby’s Right Age for Travel
All airlines vary in policies. Some airlines require your baby to be at least two (2) days old before they allow him to be on board, while most require him to be at least two (2) weeks old. However, doctors advised that you should still wait until your baby has a more developed and stronger immune system.
So usually, your baby’s doctor will allow him to travel with you to at least one (1) month or somewhere in between three to six (3-6) months.Moreover, car trips can be an exemption. Usually, you can allow your baby to have a ride with you at an earlier age than a plane ride. You just have to make sure that his body’s prepared enough for a bumpy and long ride.
Prepare Your Baby’s Passport
Before anything else, you have to ensure that you have also prepared your baby’s passport. At the same time, arrange it in advanced as rushing travel documents can be a little stressful too. For a step-by-step process for your baby’s application, be guided on the list below:
- Documents in Support to Your Baby’s Citizenship. Gather at least one primary document that supports your baby’s citizenship. This can be a birth certificate or foreign birth certificate or a consular report abroad. At the same time, prepare documents that prove the relationship of your baby to both parents.
- Identification Cards of Parents. You also have to ensure to secure identification cards of both parents. This card can be anything that is government-issued. It could be a valid passport, military ID, or driver’s license. At the same time, provide a government-issued Social Security number.
- Submit Application. Check with your local post office and libraries on the Passport Acceptance Facility that is nearest to your house. After which, bring all the necessary documents mentioned above as well as the completed form. For the additional requirements, you will be required to bring a two-by-two (passport size) photo of your baby.
- Processing and approval. On some domestic flights, allowing your infant to sit on your lap the entire travel is considered free. However, on most international flights, there is a little fee you have to pay for your baby. So in this case, always keep in contact with authorities regarding your seat reservation. Tell them that you are traveling with a baby, hence ask them if there are fees that you have to pay.
When paying for your baby’s fee, you can also do it online or personally at the airport. However, the downside of doing this at the airport is that it can be a little stressful. Long lines are time-consuming! Hence, we suggest that you just pay it online through your card or other modes of payment.
Prioritize Minimalist and Light Packing for Your Baby
In securing our baby’s safety during travels, we always want to make sure that we attend one of our hands to them all the time. However, having a lot of baby bags in hand make it hard for us. That is why minimalist packing is one of the best advice we can get when we want to have a successful trip with our baby.Have a diaper bag or baby bag with you that contains both handle and sling. Having an alternative gives you flexibility and convenience on how you want to carry your bag. For your packing list guide, read the essentials below:
- Clothes. Bring enough number of clothes you wish to bring for your travel. At the same time, bring four to five (4-5) more extra clothes for your baby in excess to the number you intend to pack. Extra clothes always keep you ready in times of urine leaks and food spills on your baby’s clothes.
- Diapers and wipes. Similar to your baby’s clothes, you should also bring enough number of diapers and wet wipes depending on how long your travel will be. It is recommended that you bring disposable diapers as this is more convenient to wear and dispose.
- Toys. Bring some of your baby’s favorite toys to help him calm down during waiting moments. Choose the ones that amuse and excite him the most. Aside from this helps you to get rid of his loud cries, it also gives you a chance to rest.
- Blanket. Bring a handy blanket to cover up your baby when he sleeps or when the temperature gets too low to handle. This blanket gives your baby more comfort and warmth even if he is not in his sleeping zone.
- Snacks. If your baby is already taking in solids, you can bring some yogurt, cereal crisps, fruits, and bars to aid his hunger during travels. Just make sure that the place you are going to allows visitors to bring snacks. Also, always take a bottle of water with you.
- Pacifier. Aside from the toys, bringing pacifier can also be the key in keeping your baby calm and quiet. Just make sure that you bring pacifier clips along with the pacifier. The pacifier clips save you extra effort as you will not be needing to catch the pacifier whenever it falls. At the same time, it frees your baby from putting in germs inside his mouth.
- Zip locks or trash bags. Bring zip locks or trash bags with you when traveling with a baby. These bags serve as plastic containers for his dirty diapers, wet and soiled items of clothing, and some of your biodegradables trash. Also, do not forget to bring hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes along with these. Remember, if you are with your baby, you always have to make sure that you are free from germs as well.
- Medical supplies. Bring all necessary medical supplies that you think your baby will be needing. These supplies include Tylenol for his fever, band-aids, diaper cream, thermometer, inhaler if he has asthma, and a lot more.
Choose a Carrier Over a Stroller, but It Still Depends upon Your Need
If you are planning to bring a stroller for your walks, you can go for a baby carrier instead. The prime reason for this is that a baby carrier is more comfortable to navigate than a stroller. You can move around easily given that your baby is just hanging around with you.
Generally, you can move faster with a carrier than a stroller. It will not be hard for you to navigate wheels on the stairs as well. Easy! Above all, your baby will love the feeling of being close to you the entire time. She can now nap and sleep in the carrier as well.
On the other hand, if you really find it hard to carry a heavy weight on your shoulders the entire travel, you can just go with a stroller.
Ask for a Crib at the Hotel You are Staying
Upon your reservation in the hotel or AirBNB, always request for a crib for your baby. The crib gives your baby more comfort in his sleep. Although you always want to cuddle up with your baby in the same bed as yours, it is not considered safe to your baby according to doctors.
This is because your baby is still vulnerable to infections and diseases that you might be present in your clothing wear. Hence, asking for a comfortable and safe crib and crib mattress should also be taken into consideration.Above all, allowing your baby to stay on the crib can also give you and your partner a quality rest knowing that your baby will sleep separately.
During Traveling With Your Baby
Book or Rent a Car With a Car seat for Your Baby
Rent or book a car with a car seat for babies. It is vital that you keep your baby safe when traveling to a different place. A train, as a mode of transportation, can be an alternative but not the safest one. This is primarily because trains can be a little crowded sometimes.Hence, you do not want to push yourself inside while holding the baby in your arms.
A bus, on the other hand, can be an alternative but also not the safest one. This is because most buses do not contain car seats for babies. If the driver brakes unexpectedly, your baby might bump his head in the front seat. In this case, renting or booking a car with a car seat is the safest one for him.
You have to make sure that it provides a better fit for your newborn. The reason why this is necessary for your baby is that it contains additional side-impact protection and anti-rebound features that keep your baby safe from the impact of car brakes.
Choose Breastfeeding Over Bottle Feeding
During travels with your baby, the convenience of your activities with him is your top priority. As much as possible, you always wish to comply with his needs that need not much of an effort. One of these is milk feeding him.
If it is possible for you to breastfeed him instead of bottle feeding him, just go with the breastfeeding!The reason for this is that it is so much easier to breastfeed as it does not require extra accessories and preparation.
In bottle feeding, you have to ensure that the bottles are sterilized and carefully washed. After which, you have to mix water and formula milk. Then, you have to store it at a proper temperature. Then, the milk also needs to be warmed before your baby feeds it.
Indeed, it requires a lot of time and effort to go through bottle feeding. Unlike breastfeeding that does not need a lot of preparations. You just have to dress for breastfeeding for easy access. If you worry much of the covering, you may or you may not. Besides, breastfeeding a baby is a great and natural talent of mothers.
Look for a Local Babysitter or Nanny Services
If you also want to enjoy your stay in a different place without carrying your baby the whole time, you can look for a local babysitter or nanny services. This can be your trusted shoulder if you want to go for dinner nights with your partner. But, there are important precautions that you have to consider.Make sure that the nanny services are very reputable and trusted.
At the same time, you should also check on their registration, certification, and reviews. As your precious little one is the gem of your life, you also want to ensure that he is always in good hands. By checking the credibility, you can ask your friend about the company itself or ask for other referrals they can recommend to you.
If you still do not feel confident about letting other people take care of your baby, the best option will always be taking him with you. You can expect some cries, but it will be worth it.
Have A Travel Insurance and Check On Local Hospitals and Doctors
When traveling with a baby, the first thing you have to do is to check on local hospitals and doctors nearest to your house. You never know what might happen during your stay, especially that it is an entirely different place from what your baby is used to.
From your baby’s fever to bug bites, you have to take him to the nearest hospital or doctor to avoid it from getting worse. Further, having a travel insurance for your travel, the one you purchase along with the plane ticket, makes it easier for you to reimburse medical expenses.
Be Smart and Clean, but Let Him Discover the World as Well
When your baby was still young, it is understandable that you always keep everything sanitized. It is because, as doctors say, their immune system is still developing. Hence, it is acceptable to wipe down everything that you think your baby is going to touch – from the table to armchairs, to the television!
However, when your baby is getting a little older, allow him to discover the world as well without being too germaphobic. Be smart and clean, but allow him to find things out on his own as well. Besides, making him get exposed to different germs will also magically make his immune system stronger.
Therefore, if you wish to have a fun time by looking on different places and things, allow your baby to also do that and discover what the world has to offer!
After Travelling With Your Baby
Always Proceed to Priority Boarding, Security, and Customs
In most flights, those who have small children with them always get into priority boarding. Hence, if your flight has one, always grab it! This makes it easier for you to put on your bag in the overhead bins without having many hindrances yet.At the same time, it allows you to sit in your place without getting through traffic jam comfortably.
The same goes for security and customs! There is always a line designated for you when you travel with your baby. You can ask the airport staff or security agent to assist you in the line. It is always important that you take advantage of this in order not to give your baby a hard time waiting in long lines.
Check on Your Things
After your fun travel with your baby, it is one of the guidelines to check on all of your stuff upon leaving the hotel room. This ensures you that you have placed all your things in your bag. At the same time, leave your trashes in the hotel bins.
You do not want to experience the hassle of bringing your trashes all the way home. At the same time, check on the airport requirements that you need for your boarding.
Some of these are your passports, airplane tickets, and supporting documents of your baby. Once you leave something important and you just discover it as soon as you arrived home, it will create a lot of hassle having the item back.
How do I protect my babies ears when flying?
Other doctors recommend medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to be taken by your baby about half an hour before takeoffs or landings. This is specifically applicable if your baby is constantly feeling ear pain whenever he flies with you. At the same time, you can offer your baby a bottle, breast or pacifier to suck on.
By doing so, it helps your baby’s ears to equalize pressure. It will also be best if you time the takeoff in your baby’s feeding as he feels hungry during these times. Since the airplane cabin also contains loud noises during takeoff, consider putting on cotton balls on his ears. Noise canceling headphones or earplugs can also do.
Do I need to bring my baby’s birth certificate when flying?
If you are flying domestically and you’ll let your baby sit on your lap the entire time, you will be required to show a proof of age. This is because no child is allowed to fly in the parent’s lap if he is two (2) years old and above. One of the acceptable forms is the birth certificate. You can also include a passport, birth certificate, or immunization records.
Can babies travel without a passport?
No, your baby’s passport is also important to allow him to travel. Meaning, it is important to know that babies, just like us adults, are required to have a valid passport in travelling abroad. This serves as their proof of identity before he enters a new place. At the same time, a requisite visa when traveling internationally is also needed in some countries. Henceforth, no one will be allowed to travel abroad without a passport.