Traveling with a Baby? It Gets Easier

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Once upon a time…

Traveling with a baby was important to me. And I was certain I would be the kind of mom who’d just pick up and go! My mom and I flew back to Scotland annually for most of my life. While we were there we’d explore Great Britain. Travel was always a big part of my life and in the early days of parenthood we really wanted to still travel.

Our first trip with baby…

Our first trip was great. Really wonderful.

Planning it gave me the idea to launch Have Baby Will Travel.

Was it easy? Absolutely not!

Prior to leaving, I fretted and fussed. We packed so, so much. I cried, more than once, from frustration and exhaustion. But the good outweighed the bad by a lot, and every trip got easier and easier.

Another way to look at it is that traveling with a baby is easy but traveling as new parents is hard 🙂

10 Ways Traveling with a Baby Gets Easier:

Flying with an Infant, Flying with a Baby, Flying with a Toddler, Flying with Babies, Flying with Toddlers

1. Predictability…

As they get older, babies become less unpredictable. Or, rather, you know them better, so you know their triggers.

Either way, from booking your flights to planning your days, you’ll have a good sense of what will and won’t set off your baby or toddler.

And you’ll have an arsenal of things to try in case they do.

Printable Baby and Toddler Packing Lists for Travel

2. Packing…

Feeling like a pack mule? You’re not alone.

But when it comes to packing when traveling with a baby, the more trips you take, the more you know what you’ll absolutely need and also the things you can live without. In those early days, don’t sweat packing light. Bring what you think you’ll need and if you can manage it all, who cares how high your luggage cart is piled? As they get older they require less stuff, too.

3. Confidence…

Experience breeds confidence. The more trips you take, the more you will know what you (and your baby) is capable of.

Start easy.

See how you all manage with the changes in routine (and scenery and food). And with every trip you can choose to do more (or less) and feel confident in choices. With every trip you’ll feel confident enough to tackle more aggressive itineraries, or maybe you’ll find you prefer to do less. It’s your vacation!

4. Eating…

feeding baby on holiday

Feeding the baby while on holiday was one of my biggest worries. In many ways, as a baby gets older, feeding them gets easier too. Nursing isn’t quite so challenging. Sorting out their bottles and formula gets less complicated.

It can be anxious when they’re first starting on solids, but once they’re full on you have the bonus distraction of SNACKS. Finger foods can keep a baby or toddler busy and engaged for a good, long while.

5. Sleeping…

Getting a baby to sleep through the night is usually priority number one for new parents. Creating and maintaining a good sleep routine is essential for good family health. The fear of disrupting that can really deter you from travel. But you’ll get there, I promise!

Eventually, babies need fewer naps, and if you’ve got a good stroller sleeper you can still wander out and about. And even if things are wonky once you get back, you can re-establish your sleep routine.

6. Playing…

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When a baby gets older, you can actually play with them. And if you need to distract them from fussing on a flight, suddenly you can offer more than a breast or a bottle or a pacifier!

They’ll be excited and interested in new sights and sounds and people. And you get to see the world through their eyes. Even things that were old and “boring” to you are brand new and exciting for them.

So everything is new and fun again.

7. Getting Around…

There will come a time when you won’t have to lug along their car seat. Or seek out car seat alternatives. Or decide if you need to bring the stroller.

Babies and toddlers become more mobile and less fragile and can even help carry stuff (or at least their own stuff).

But trust me on this, you will miss the stroller!

8. Expectations…

One thing that got easier all around as my kids got older was managing my expectations… of myself and of them. I kept expecting that I should pack “perfect,” that they should behave “right,” and every trip had to be “amazing.” This was pressure that I 100% put on myself and my kids that was rooted in worry and fear and fueled by a lack of self confidence and trying to “keep up with the Joneses.”

Letting go of all of that (or trying to, anyway) has helped my whole family relax and enjoy ourselves more. It gives us the ability to laugh and lighten up when things don’t go our way (which is often!).

9. Flexibility…

As your baby grows into a toddler and then into a preschooler, your lifestyle and routines will constantly evolve and change. And your comfort with that will transfer over to your travel preferences and vacation requirements.

A missed nap is no longer a cause for worry or a ruined afternoon. A skipped meal simply becomes a bigger snack or meal later. Eating sand becomes an interesting future diaper change and not a fretful visit to Dr. Google.

All of this newfound flexibility will help you establish new “vacation routines” while you’re away and also finding your way back once you’re home.

10. Hindsight…

Traveling with a baby is hard at first. Or maybe it’s just the thought of traveling with a baby. Once you do it you can see for yourself what parts are hard (for you or for your baby) and what parts are less hard. These can change over time.

The best thing about hindsight is you can see where your best-laid plans went awry, or how your biggest worry was for naught. And then you can learn from all of these experiences and hopefully be inspired enough to do it again and again.

Because as much as traveling with a baby gets easier, in a lot of ways, when they get older, IT GETS HARDER!


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11 Responses to Traveling with a Baby? It Gets Easier

  1. robin rue at #

    I’v been traveling with my boys since they were babies and each year it DOES get easier. Our biggest thing was having lots of snack options.

  2. Stacie at #

    Traveling with a baby IS hard the first few times you do it. It’s a daunting task of deciding what you need, what you don’t, what they’ll like, etc, and it can be overwhelming. I think the ease comes when you just do it a bunch of times. LOL

    • Corinne at #

      Definitely! It’s like anything, experience brings confidence 🙂

  3. It does seem as the kids have gotten older it is much easier to go places with them. When they were babies it felt like we had to pack everything and the kitchen sink.

  4. I agree with all these! It might be hard at first but definitely worth it!

  5. Peter at #

    These are great tips. We have a very large family so when we travel, it’s got to be spot on. No matter the size of family, it always gets easier

  6. My wife and I have traveled with our children far and wide since they were both babies. Now that they are teenagers, I am convinced that the experiences have made us all closer, and they have learned to be good citizens of the world. They also know how to think on their feet, and handle stressful experiences like getting lost of being surrounded by people who don’t speak English.
    Thanks for being out there, advocating for people to travel with their children. If you can do it, you should.

  7. Amazing article with great tips! This is highly informative and very helpful for new parents like us. I have always been scared and nervous about any travel plans but now I feel charged and motivated after going through this article and wonderful comments that you all have shared. Thanks again

    • Corinne at #

      Thanks for the kind words, Julia–Happy Travels!

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