One of Ryan and I’s favorite hobbies has always been traveling. We decided before Dean was born that we wanted to continue to travel. My parents live in Florida and I have friends across the country so it has been pretty easy to find places to go. We might not travel as much (or cruise at all) but we still have done many trips. Traveling is harder now, less relaxing, but almost more exciting because we get to share our experiences with this little love of ours. Dean is a lucky baby and has already touched the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, and Pacific Ocean.
I think my biggest tip to traveling with a baby is planning. My husband and family often make fun of me for being so organized. Yes, I love a good spreadsheet but when traveling I often create an itinerary. TripAdvisor is a great way to see the best things to do in any city and Yelp is a great way to see the best restaurants, I take food very seriously. Once our trip is booked I create an itinerary that includes city and day along with things to do and places to eat. As I get closer I add the weather, this helps a lot when packing. This July we took a trip that was 2 weeks long and included 5 different cities. I’ll admit it took my crazy to a whole new level. I wrote each day with the city and weather on a post it and laid them out so I could put clothes on top of them. Then I took a photo so I could see what each of us was wearing that day while we were on the trip. The only thing I would have done different is pack our suitcases based on cities instead of just our individual ones.
Traveling with a baby definitely requires more stuff. A lot more stuff. When Dean was really little I wore him in my Ergo Carrier on the plane. I carried his backup infant car seat in a red gate check car seat bag and checked it at the gate right before I got on the plane. This was probably the easiest traveling has been. His first flight was at 6 weeks old and all he needed was a bottle of milk and a binky. As he’s gotten older I have retired the Ergo and moved onto a travel stroller. We have the Summer 3Dlite, it’s a great price point and we really like it. It has a decent basket, reclines, and is super light. My friend has the GB Pocket Stroller, it’s pretty amazing and folds up super tiny. We gate check the stroller in another one of those red bags, it doesn’t provide too much protection but it keeps it clean. Dean still takes a binky so we are lucky there. I know it is important to have children suck on something during take off and landing to protect their ears. When he’s older I plan on bringing suckers along. Now that he’s bigger taking a car seat is more difficult. Since we go to my parents’ house pretty often I bought a cheap car seat on Amazon just to leave there. I don’t know how I feel about renting a car seat with your car. I would if it was necessary but we have been flying Southwest a lot and they allow you 2 bags so it is free just to bring our own. Southwest is also great because you get to pick your seat when you get on the plane and NO ONE picks the seat next to a baby #winning. I also don’t know how I feel about trusting the airlines with our car seats. We decided to purchase a car seat bag to give our back up seat some protection. We really like the J.L. Childress backpack, Ryan says it’s heavy but it’s one less thing to hold.
When traveling with a baby you are allowed a diaper bag for them and your personal item. I usually just use my Fawn Design backpack for both us just to keep things simple. Babies are also allowed water, it is nice to be able to bring bottles rather than paying their ridiculous prices at the airport. Since Dean has been off formula we just find a Starbucks and order a steamed whole milk at kids temperature, yeah he’s a basic b already. This is what we do at night in hotels too. We have not traveled with a pack and play yet. Seeing the hotel crib or pack and play gets me every time. They aren’t always the nicest or the cleanest but we make it work. We love a hotel that has a good closet or bathroom, not because I have time to enjoy it but because it counters as Dean’s room. He doesn’t sleep well and we don’t sleep well in the same room. There have been times where he’s right next to our bed and it’s a nightmare.
Keeping a now 1 year old entertained can get difficult. In our down time at the airport we always try to find the play areas, hello germ central, but he always loves it and it helps get some energy out. I always try to bring a new, small, toy along for him. We also always have the iPad. Downloading stuff from iTunes or Netflix before we go is a lifesaver. He’s Mickey Mouse guy and really anything with songs. I bring books along too. Right now he’s at the stage where he likes anything that isn’t actually a toy. The seatbelt, tray table, and safety pamphlets are actually all he needs on a flight. We have had 1 really bad flight, he was super tired and just couldn’t fall asleep. He was screaming for a good 10 minutes and the people in front of us put ear plugs in. I was mortified to say the least. We have had a flight attendant walk him around and seen other children walking in the aisles. I think the most important part is staying calm. People for the most part are really understanding. Next week I will share our trip out West, we had an amazing time and are looking forward to our future travels with Dean.