Mumbai to Ladakh was one of the first epic trips of our life. We set off with return flights to Delhi and there onwards was 1000+ km of the road trip to Ladakh. We were clueless on transportation and accommodation or even food. That was way back when we traveled as couples with no constraints.
Another epic trip or rather say trips was on the card but with our bundle of joy Chhavi who was just 6 months old. And this time things were going to be completely different.
Traveling with a baby needs a lot of patience and pre-planning. Everything is not perfect from day one. We too learned through our experiences and gradually gained confidence which helped us through our travels to 19 countries with Chhavi (2016). Here are our learnings and some travel tips which helped us make traveling with Chhavi much easier and relaxed:
Packing List for Baby Travel
Travel Packing List
When traveling as couple packing light was the mantra but when traveling with a baby packing for a trip is a daunting task you will need to pack as much as possible with adequate extras and keep it light at the same time to save energy to manage your kid.
To avoid a sudden change in the brand of baby items like food and other basic toiletries. We packed a few boxes of formula we were giving Chhavi, diapers, soap, shampoo and even baby oil to last for weeks. If you are staying even longer introduce new products gradually.
Apart from basic items of clothing pack enough warm clothes like jackets, sweaters, caps, mittens, and quilts to keep your baby weather ready.
Every accommodation is not equipped with a baby crib or cot. This may be a problem if your baby isn’t comfortable sleeping on the bed in that case you may want to check out this amazing portable cradle which you can pack and check-in.
Carry-on Luggage Packing Tips
We used to carry a diaper bag or a baby travel bag with all the necessary baby items which can easily fit in the baggage when traveling and can be carried into the flight as a carry-on luggage too. The bag is light and helps keep hands free for carrying and managing the baby.
1.Pack the basic baby items like extra diapers and a pair of clothes
2.Enough baby food (milk, formula) and a hot water thermos which would be required to prepared formula. If you have started with fruits then try fruit purees they are healthy and would keep your baby full.
3.Warm clothes and quilt (Sometimes the temperature in flights may drop unexpectedly)
4.Medicines in a case of emergencies like colic pain or vomiting.
5.A favorite toy to keep baby entertained and happy.
Make sure these items are handy when you need them. You can store the bag under your seat for quick access.
Carrying Baby on Travels
Initial months when Chhavi had just started to sit upright we used to carry her in a baby wear which helps keep your hands free while the baby is comfortably snuggled up close to you warm and safe.
Once Chhavi started sitting comfortably, walking and running around we started using strollers. Most of the flights allow you to carry the stroller right up to the flight door and you can collect it back from the flight exit or from the baggage section. Even in the baggage section, the strollers are put in the special luggage section and not with the general baggage on the belt.
We highly recommend Mclaren which is a great travel stroller and has traveled with us to all the 19 countries in all weather conditions snow and rain. You may also consider baby car seat strollers which will be useful if road tripping is your favorite way of traveling and you may also carry the travel car seat on the flight which is much comfortable for babies to sit or to sleep when compared to the flight seats.
Flying with a Baby
All kind of Baby foods is allowed on board and there is no restriction on liquid food items. But you will have to take the items out for the scan during the security. Having a separate bag (diaper bag) for baby food and other baby items which will help you unpack the items faster and easier.
Sometimes security also allows priority for passengers with babies so it is better to check with them once before getting into the queue.
During security, the baby stroller has to go through scan so you may need to take out your baby. This may be uncomfortable if your baby is sleeping or cannot walk along. In that case, it would be better to wear your baby and check-in the stroller before security.
Bassinet Seats – If you are traveling with an infant make sure you book seats on the first line which comes with airplane bassinets which will definitely help the baby sleep comfortably during the journeys.
Avoid Check-in queues – Get your boarding passes printed back home or use the printing machines at the airport to avoid waiting in Check-in queues.
Priority Boarding – Traveling with babies get priority boarding which is preferable so that you have time to sit and relax and get your baby comfortable before the flight take-off. We have also been in a situation when half the passengers on board are traveling with kids, in that case, we prefer to board last so that we don’t have to wait for long in the boarding queue and even in flight till everyone boarding before us are seated.
Landing and Take-offs – The change in air pressure in flights during landing and taking off and sometimes during flying may be painful for babies. The best practice is to feed bottled milk or water, even soothers help, sucking action help relieve the discomfort. Make sure to keep things handy.
In long haul flights keep the baby entertained on board with a favorite toy or you can even walk around the aisle couple of times.
Camping and glamping are a complete no-no for us when traveling with a baby. Glamping in Rajasthan was our first-time experience staying outdoors with Chhavi when she was 3 years old. We have always booked a rental apartment through Airbnb (Use this referral code to get discounts on your first stay with Airbnb) on all our travels. The apartments come with a well-equipped kitchen which is very helpful to cook baby food and even save you on food expenditure. If there is no availability of apartments in the city you are visiting check with the hotel if they would allow you to at least cook baby food in their kitchen which would hardly take you any time.
Choosing an accommodation close to the center or sightseeing may help save time and energy. Also, you are close to amenities like shops, supermarkets and even hospitals in case of emergencies. This has helped us to cater to our schedules of feeding Chhavi at our rooms in the morning and evening in any city we visit.
The most important things which have helped us all through our travels is a strict schedule of sleep and food which keeps the baby calm and happy.
In case there is a time difference it is very important that the change in baby routine is slow and gradual.
Start with short trips or day trips – We landed in Geneva Switzerland end of December 2014 and it had snowed heavily so our first trip was Golden Pass train wherein we would sit in the comfort of the train all the time and enjoy the sceneries.
Choose Road Trips – For our first international trip in Summer of 2015 from Switzerland to Italy road trip, we rented a car. The reason being we would stop anywhere anytime and take as many breaks required.
Prefer Trains and Trams over Bus – Once Chhavi had adjusted to traveling we started exploring more of Europe with 15 countries in 2015 alone. We choose destinations like Belgium and France with good public transport. Europe has a well-connected and very good frequency of trains. Prefer trains over buses they are more comfortable and you have space to walk around and you even have spacious washrooms, baby changing rooms. Most of the trains have cafeterias where we would get our homemade baby food warmed up.
Know the place you visit – Do your research before visiting a new destination about places to see, food and transport options. The worst that would happen in a new city would be to lose your way with a baby. Or instead, book a guided walking tour of the city.
Breaks – Take frequent breaks during the travels or the sightseeing which is crucial for the baby and you as well. Even you need some rest to maintain your sanity to cater to baby needs.
Be Prepared for Surprises
Sometimes the baby might get tired sitting in the stroller and with the sightseeing schedule that is when you may need to take a break sometimes longer and cater to baby needs. We choose to let Chhavi run around freely and enjoy her time to explore nature.
We were denied on the ride to Glacier Paradise the highest point in Zermatt, Switzerland because Chhavi was less than a year old instead we had to settle for Trockener Steg which was equally stunning.
There are several instances when it would start snowing or raining suddenly when we had to take longer breaks than planned or even cut short our trip for the comfort of the baby. On our visit to the UK for Christmas, we planned Stonehenge day trip, during our visit to the stones the weather suddenly turned freezing and we had to return back to the visitors center.
We always used to have a checklist for travel which would ensure that we would not miss anything important on trips which may actually turn your trip into a nightmare. Just imagine if you forget a diaper or a wet wipe. Best would be to keep a checklist handy:
Formula and fruits
Milk bottle and hot thermos flask
Nappy Rash cream
Changing mat and quilt
Extra set of clothes and bibs
Formula and hot water or Fruit
Medicines and first-aid kit
Baby carriers or Strollers
Here are some more great packing tips every traveler should know. We really hope our experience and learning helps and inspires the new parents out there to take that dream trip they have been waiting for with their newborn and make wonderful memories together. We suggest you keep the checklist handy while packing which would help make the travel with baby smooth and fun.
Do you have any tips to add to this list? Is there something you want to share with new parents. Please do share with us in comments.
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