When I first told people we were taking our baby to South Africa when he was 3 months old, the responses were all over the place. Some people thought it was great, others were skeptical and some thought we were nuts. Turns out, it was an amazing trip! I’m so glad we went.
Since then, we’ve traveled quite a bit with our little guy. In fact, next week we’re traveling to Michigan for the 4th of July and it will be his 12th flight. Travel to this point has been pretty easy, mainly because he wasn’t mobile. Now that he’s sitting up unassisted and trying to crawl, I wouldn’t be quite as excited about 30+ hours of travel!
I think people often think that traveling needs to stop once you have kids. I’m sure the way we travel will continue to evolve. Here are some of our tips for traveling with a baby under 6 months.
1) Choose your destinations wisely
We chose to go to South Africa because we knew it well. We lived there for over 4 years and felt comfortable driving and have close friends that still live there. In fact, we brought hardly any baby gear – our friend graciously lent us a stroller, car seat and pack and play. While it was a long flight – it was one we were familiar with. We’ve never been to Asia, so I’m not sure I would have gone to China with my 3 month old.
2) Keep your expectations low and your schedule flexible
We were in NYC the weekend a couple of weeks ago. Part of the reason that we didn’t have much of a itinerary for the trip is that I hadn’t had time to plan (oops!). But, the other reason is that traveling with a baby means that there’s no guarantee that we can fit in a trip to the Statue of Liberty, the Central Park Zoo and the Empire State Building in one afternoon. Instead, our trip was more about spending quality time as a family.
So, we made a list of the things we wanted see and prioritized it. While we didn’t do everything on this, we did fit in the few things we were hoping to do.
3) Bring your favorite carrier
There are places where you can use a stroller, but wearing your baby is really helpful. It’s great for going through security and getting on and off the plane. We have an Ergo, a Baby Bjorn and a K’Tan.
At 16 pounds +, I think he’s mostly outgrown the K’Tan (he was about 3.5 months in the photo). But, it’s fine for short periods and it’s great that it packs up small. The Ergo and Baby Bjorn offer more back support (we got both second hand because we couldn’t decide which we preferred) and we typically use those now.
4) Snap n’ Go strollers are amazing if you need a car seat at your destination
We invested in a heavy-duty stroller. Our UppaBaby Vista is amazing and it’s been a great investment since we don’t have a car and live in Boston where there is cobblestone everywhere! We brought it on the train to NYC recently, and we loved being able to stick all of our bags in the basket underneath (also great for groceries!).
But, we got a Snap ‘n Go second hand for free through our local mom’s group and it’s great when we need a car seat at our destination. I love that it’s really light and folds up easily. When I’ve flown by myself, I often wear Henry and use the stroller to carry any bags we have. The car seat snaps in and then we just gate check both the car seat and the stroller (I decided to do this after doing some research on checking carseats with regular baggage).
Moral of this story – travel with kids is definitely do-able! Even if you don’t have kids yet – know that your jetsetting ways don’t have to completely come to a halt, but they might change a little (have you tried packing light with a little one in tow? Not so easy!).