The thought of traveling over the holidays with a baby is enough to make many parents stay home. Believe it or not, traveling with a baby is actually one of the easiest times in the life of a child to travel. They are incredibly portable! Often, babies fall asleep as soon as the car begins moving, because motion lulls them to sleep. It reminds them of being in the womb. If you are planning to travel by car for any long distance trip, keep this little checklist handy:
Checklist For Traveling With Baby
- What to pack: Make a list of all essential items you use day and night for your baby – do this a week before your trip, so you can edit as needed. (Extra toys and stuffies are not essential). Consider will you have access to a washer and dryer to rewear baby clothes and blankets.
- Check the carseat: Make sure baby’s car seat is installed correctly. Three out of four car seats are not used or installed correctly.
- Prepare your car: a window shade helps keep sun out of babies eyes, a playful mirror can be attached to keep baby entertained, and a seat protector can save your car from unexpected messes.
- The essentials bag: Make a bag of essentials to keep in the back seat with baby (this prevents unnecessary car stops to dig items out of the trunk): Diapers, Wipes, Pacifier, Change of clothes, Toys, Books, Bottles, Snacks.
- Scheduling: Try to keep baby on his/her schedule as best you can.
- Take breaks: Stop every few hours to allow everyone to have a stretch break, baby included!
- Shipping supplies: If staying a week or more, have baby essentials like diapers, wipes, and formula shipped to your destination or make a quick pharmacy stop once you arrive.
- Baby rental gear: For bigger baby gear-ie. strollers, high chairs, portable cribs, check to see if your destination has baby rental equipment that you can use for the duration of your stay. It cuts down tremendously on what you have to travel with and allows you to still use the items that you and your baby are accustomed to having at home.
- Minimize travel time: Plan your travel time to minimize hours in the car – use Waze or Google Maps so you are not stuck in rush hour traffic.
- Practice a portable crib: If baby will be sleeping in a portable crib while away, practice a few nights before you leave for your trip to get baby familiar with a different crib.
- Plan for the best sleep: If staying in a hotel, book a suite or two connecting rooms. This will allow you to put baby to sleep and then give you space to enjoy yourself. Even better research vacation rental properties. A closing door is super valuable. Otherwise, parents often feel they need to go bed at the same time baby does.
- Finding childcare: Look for local childcare through safety checked agencies such as Your Baby Consultant in Charleston or Annapolis and surrounding areas.