10 Tips I’ve Learned From A Year of Traveling With A Baby

Ask the hotel staff if you can borrow an extra high chair from the dining room!

We have spent the past five days in our nation’s capital – many many miles from our home in Seattle!  My husband had a business trip here in Washington DC, so Cullen and I tagged along. He’s become quite the frequent flier in his first year! In just under a year he has traveled with us to Indiana, Hawaii, Ohio, Atlanta, Ohio (again), and now DC! It’s too bad there is an age limit for Skymiles.

With each trip he is a little bit older, and therefore it’s a little bit trickier. But I also learn new ticks and tips with each visit, and after (almost) a year of traveling with a baby, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. (If I do say so myself!)  I know there are many posts on travel tips for parents, but I wanted to share a few of the things that have really helped us to enjoy our trips, rather than stress out about travel.

Here are 10 tips I’ve learned from a year of traveling with a baby

  • Pick the best time to fly 1 of 10
    Pick the best time to fly
    Flying with a baby = STRESS! But you can make it easier on everyone by planning your flight times around naps and meals. What is your baby's best time of day? Try to avoid flights during cranky witching hours, or if your baby isn't a good sleeper, steer clear of the red eye!
  • Bring multiple transportation options 2 of 10
    Bring multiple transportation options
    And to add to that - know your turf ahead of time. If you're traveling somewhere unfamiliar, do some research so you know what type of neighborhood and area you'll be in. Some are more stroller-friendly than others! For our trip, I took a stroller as well as the Ergo, and used them both quite a bit. It was nice to have both options in the airport too!
  • Find spaces to stretch 3 of 10
    Find spaces to stretch
    Vacations can often mean a lot of stroller and high chair time for little ones - sightseeing, eating out, exploring museums, etc. Make sure to take breaks and find some big grassy spaces or playgrounds where little guys can stretch their legs and burn off some energy.
  • Book a suite 4 of 10
    Book a suite
    We learned this early on while traveling with Cullen - suites are pretty much essential if you're staying somewhere for more than one night. Our room in DC had a big bedroom with plenty of space for our king sized bed, as well as Cullen's pack n play (and lots of room to run around). There was a separate living room/mini bar area, with a door between. In the evenings and during naps, this gave me a space to work and relax while Cullen snoozed. Otherwise I would have been tip toe-ing around in the dark!
  • Bring washable feeding supplies 5 of 10
    Bring washable feeding supplies
    Once your baby is eating solids, traveling gets a little more complicated. I have two plastic bibs that I can rinse and reuse, a sippy cup, two baby spoons, and two food storage containers that I take everywhere. This way I can feed Cullen anywhere and not be worried about whether or not it's baby-friendly. I have everything I need with me, and I can just rinse and reuse it all for the next meal.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for things 6 of 10
    Don't be afraid to ask for things
    As I parent, I often find myself feeling overly worried that I am somehow inconveniencing others by having a baby around. Over a year's time, I have learned to stop worrying quite so much, as I've found that most people are really happy to help if asked. At our hotel this week, I noticed a big stack of extra high chairs in the lobby area, and asked it if would be possible to use one in my room. The room service staff gladly let me have one, and it made feeding Cullen SO much easier to have a seat just for him. I just needed to ask!
  • Do some grocery shopping 7 of 10
    Do some grocery shopping
    Eating out is one of the best parts of vacationing and traveling, but it can also be stressful with kiddos. For this trip, we purposefully booked a hotel that I knew was next to a Whole Foods, so I could grab some fresh fruit and snacks to have on hand for Cullen. That way, I didn't have to worry if the restaurants would have something for him or not!
  • Order off the menu 8 of 10
    Order off the menu
    With that said, I was also able to find some good options for Cullen in restaurants while we traveled. Sometimes you have to think beyond the menu. At a crepe place we visit, I noticed that many dessert crepes included fresh fruit, and I asked if they were able to give us a small fruit plate. They were happy to put it together, and Cullen was thrilled to eat his banana and berries while we enjoyed our crepes. A win-win!
  • Let go of the rules 9 of 10
    Let go of the rules
    As parents, we work so hard to get our babies into a routine and a good schedule. And while those things are important, it's also okay to just relax and let go for a few days. Your baby isn't going to turn into a monster because he misses two naps. Obviously you don't want to push it TOO far, but you also don't want to let a rigid schedule keep you confined to a hotel room.
  • Relax and have fun 10 of 10
    Relax and have fun
    I know just the idea of traveling with a baby makes the blood pressure go up, but we've done it enough now that it's becoming second nature. There will be moments of stress, but it is still so worth it. Relax, enjoy it, and take lots of pictures. They are only this little once, and it gets easier every time!

And actually, I have one more!

#11:  Tip your housekeeping staff!  I did my best to minimize sticky hand prints and relocated items in the hotel room, but I’m sure housekeeping staff has to work a little harder after having a baby stay for a few days. As a former maid myself, I know how much those tips are appreciated!

Read more from Emily on her personal blog Daily Garnish, where she creates healthy vegetarian recipes, recaps her latest running adventures, and chronicles life as a new mom to her son and two crazy dogs.  You can follow along on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest too!

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