Traveling Abroad with a Baby
We recently returned from our awesome trip to England and Scotland where we visited family and did some touring. Daniel and I have traveled to Europe before, but this was our first time bringing a baby. Traveling with a child was so fun and exhausting. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I thought I’d share what worked and what we might change next time. Flora was 6 months old on our trip and not yet crawling. We intentionally planned our trip before she got too mobile and was easier to carry.
- Bring multiple baby-carrier options. Even though Flora is only 15 pounds, carrying her could get pretty tiring. I was SO glad we brought both of our favorite devices to share the load. I used my Happy Baby Bamboo Wrap (which I looooove) and Daniel used his more ‘backpack’ style carrier, the Infantino Fusion Flexible Position Baby Carrier. In the airport we would wear Flora and switch off who pulled luggage and took the backpack. In England, especially, we walked everywhere and when one of us would get tired, we would trade who wore her.
- Think in layers. Going to the UK in April meant we had a mixture of cool, rainy weather as well as several great sunny days. For Flora, one of the best pieces I brought with us was her bonnet (I’m slightly obsesh with the ones from Stella & Wilbur). When it was rainy or windy, her bonnet kept her ears protected from the wind. And when it was sunny, she was shielded from getting burnt. For me, I packed a mixture of t-shirts and sweaters to layer then peel off if need be. I also brought a lightweight/thin, but warm coat.
- Bring a stroller. Some people encouraged us just to wear Flora the entire trip, but I’m very glad we brought a stroller. We ended up purchasing the Urbini Omni Solo in black which can position the baby several ways. We mainly laid her flat, facing us, which allowed her to nap on the go. I’ve been learning more and more, just how essential naps are to a happy baby. 🙂 We also used the stroller as her bassinet at night since we were staying in Airbnb’s that didn’t all have baby accommodations. Using a blanket, we would lay it over the top and create her own little safe sleeping space. Taking the stroller was a little bit of a hassle in the airport, but we checked it all the way to our destination, and ultimately I was very thankful for it!
- Book the bassinet. BOOK THE BASSINET! Somehow my amazing husband knew about the special bassinet seating behind the bulkhead. I cannot emphasize enough how AMAZING the bassinet was on the airplane. You are right behind 1st class with extra leg room, and once you have reached altitude, a stewardess will attach the bassinet to the wall of the bulkhead. On our flight to London, Flora slept happily nearly the entire way there. It was a dream! That was the part of the trip I was dreading and it was so incredible. On our flight home, her body was wide awake, so she didn’t sleep much in the bassinet, but, having it gave us a place to put her where she could play and sit up. This gave us a break from having to hold her which allowed us to eat and take turns sleeping. It was also great to be able to change her diaper in it without the hassle of cramming in the tiny airplane bathroom. I believe the max weight for the bassinet is 25 pounds, so it can only work while they are fairly small…but SOOO worth it.
- Overpack. We ended up taking a carry on sized suitcase with all of my stuff and Flora’s, the stroller, a regular backpack, and Daniel’s backpacking backpack. That’s it! For all 3 of us. We re-wore a lot of our stuff and didn’t buy many souvenirs, but this kept things more simple. It did help that we stayed with our family in England, so they had extra diapers for us there.
- Wait until you arrive to buy transportation. Daniel is the master trip planner. Our trips always go SO much more smoothly because he buys train tickets ahead of time and has reserved seats for us.
- Forget to pack snacks, toys, and sanitizing wipes. Although Flora is a little young for them, we brought the little squeezy food pouches for her and that worked so well. On the plane or on the go, we could squeeze some into her mouth when she was hungry. No spoons, no mess. I also packed her favorite toys and would rotate them every few hours. In the stage she is at right now, she constantly drops her toys, so having some sanitizing wipes on hand was really nice. The floors of airports and trains are just not very clean!
- Worry what other people are thinking. Traveling with a child means, yes, people are going to hear your child cry. Yes, you are going to be ‘those’ people who have a stroller in the midst of a buzzing major city. But, you know what, who cares? I’m just trying to do what’s best for my sweet girl to keep her safe, happy, and healthy. Daniel and I struggle with hating to inconvenience people, but with a child, sometimes it just happens and we had to learn…that is OK. 🙂
I’m so glad we decided to just ‘go for it’ and take this big trip even with a baby. It was definitely an adventure, but one I would do again in a heartbeat. If you have any awesome baby-travel tips, please share! I’d love to hear!