G and I knew before we were ever parents that having a baby wouldn't slow our travel schedule down. In fact, as soon as our little lady had her first set of shots, we were on a plane and heading to California. Since then, she's flown to three different cities, and road-tripped to four. Considering that's all been in 5 months of her life, our girlie is well traveled (and she has her passport so when we add New York to her list next week, we can pop over to Canada and add some international experience in there, too!).
We've always been minimalists when it comes to "things", and travel is no exception. In fact, until we had Evie, G and I never took more than a carry-on, no matter where we were going or for how long. With a baby, traveling that light isn't feasible, but we keep it to one checked bag for the three of us!
Air travel and road trips are different, so I'm going to focus on flying in this post, since that's what we do most! I've broken it down into a few categories for convenience' sake.
Not every airport is the same, but many of them have people outside the terminal who can take your checked luggage right there, with the catch that you give them a tip. My advice is to carry some cash and DO IT. We drop our checked bag, Evie's Playard (we have this one by 4Moms and LOVE it. It's so easy to travel with, set up, take down, everything!) and the car seat. We have this carry-bag for the car seat, which has backpack straps and makes traveling with it a breeze. Now we just have the stroller, the diaper bag, and my small crossbody to manage as we enter the airport.
Once we've dropped the luggage, we hit the kiosk inside briefly to print our boarding passes. Phones don't work because Evie needs a boarding pass, too, and we can't get hers digitally. After those are printed, it's on to TSA!
Collapse your stroller, because it needs to go through the TSA scanner, and you'll walk through the metal detector with your baby. A quick aside: so far, TSA has been SUPER HELPFUL when we travel with Evie. If you need help/extra hands once you're through, just ask! They usually have no problem helping you get your things off the belt and back in order.
Now that you're through TSA, you can do whatever you want! Shop, grab a coffee, and just relax until about 15 minutes before boarding time begins.
Before You Board
15-20 minutes before boarding starts, I begin final preparations. First, I'll take Evie to the bathroom and do a diaper change. Then I'll re-arrange the bag if needed to make sure that bottle supplies, my water, and any snacks are easy to grab. Back at the gate, I put Evie into the Baby Katan if we're traveling alone or hold her if I'm with G and we pack up the stroller. We have the UppaBaby Cruz and it's travel bag, which I HIGHLY recommend. It packs the stroller up so safe, and has wheels so it's easy to manage. Once that's done, it's boarding time! Take the stroller with you and drop it off to be gate checked right before you walk onto the plane.
On the Plane
I try to always have a bottle ready when we're flying. Evie drinks one while we take off, one when we're landing, and several in between for distraction, comfort, etc. We're normally on a schedule with feedings, but when it comes to flying, bottles are on-demand. Evie likes her bottle cold, so once we're flying and the attendants can move around, we ask for a bag of ice! They're always willing to bring one. They'll heat bottles up too if that's what your little one prefers.
Our only other plane-must-have is a blanket. It helps if Evie's cold, if she's bored and wants something new to chew on, if it's too bright, if we need ANOTHER burp rag... it's too multi-purpose to leave home without. We use these from Aden & Anais - they're our favorite (we may have around 15 in our home!).
In the Carry-On
When we travel, I prefer to use a backpack for our carry-on/diaper bag. I picked up this one from the Joy Lab athletic line at Target and I love it. I didn't want/see the need for a diaper bag specific one, and I'm really pleased with what we got for under $30. In it goes a fresh pack of wipes, some Munchkin disposable diaper bags, twice the number of diapers I think I need (yep, seriously. TWICE), a blanket, a change of outfit for Evie, a new top for me, an extra burp rag, all the bottle making equipment (we have the Kiinde system and I can't recommend it highly enough. It worked great while I was breastfeeding to store pumped milk, and it's still so simple to use now that we've switched to formula), my "purse" (I use the Soho Crossbody from Coach as my wallet/purse), and a toy or two for Evie. I also usually throw in my eReader so I have something to do while she naps.
That's it! I'll include a clickable picture with all the items that we always travel with so it's easy to shop! Feel free to ask me any questions you might have. We're still new to this parent thing, but we've got traveling with our little down to an art and are happy to share anything that worked for us with you!
MUST HAVE ITEMS FOR TRAVELING WITH AN INFANT