When you have a kid, it’s bound to happen- you’ll need to travel. Whether by car, train, or airplane, you’ll need to go somewhere, to see someone, to do something.
Traveling with a baby or child is…hard. It’s fun and rewarding too, but travel is a full on marathon when you’re with children. Vacations aren’t vacations with kids- same stress, different location. And the thing is, the stressors will constantly change. Different ages and stages will make some things harder and some things easier. It’s a crap shoot, my friends.
I’m gonna offer some advice, tips, and tricks to help ease the stress and make traveling easier (hopefully) Take them with a grain of salt (and a shot of tequila) because every child is different.
- Plan, plan, plan. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or boat, you need to be prepared for your kid. It’s easy to run out and grab some Advil or a pair of flip flops that you forgot when you’re traveling solo, but add in a hangry kid, exhausted parents, and a new locale and that quick trip to Target sounds like the seventh level of hell. Walk through a typical day and make note of what your baby or kid uses. Diapers, wipes, and clothes are obvious. Do you need a sweatshirt for cool evenings even though it’s hot as hell where you are now, swim diapers for the pool, infant Tylenol for teethers?
- Be prepared for travel time to be stressful (or if you’re like me, more stressful, I hate flying) and leave enough time accordingly. Get to the airport, train station, boat dock or launch pad early; kids drag their feet, babies blow out diapers, husbands dawdle.
- Pack distraction toys but be prepared for those to pale in comparison to: the seat back tray table, your complimentary ginger ale, the man in front of you, the couple behind you, the air vents, shrieking loudly, anyone but you, and no one but you.
- Airplanes suck. They’re dry, cramped, and the air pressure is constantly changing. I breastfed almost constantly to keep RM swallowing, which relieves the pressure in your ears. Bring a pacifier, snacks, and if your children are old enough, gum or lollipops to help facilitate swallowing. Still, be prepared for melt downs.
- Stop and stretch; let your little ones move around. Sometimes it’s easy to want to just power through travel and get where you wanna go. But little people need to stretch, fidget, and get their energy out. You’ll all have a better time. I let RM crawl in the airport waiting area. Judge me if you wish.
- Carry your baby through the airport or train station. I use the Baby ka’tan because it’s easy to take on and off and scrunches into a purse or backpack easily. Security will usually let you through faster-they have family designated lines or will let you use the handicap line. It varies depending on the airport.
- Pack light…seriously. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy because babies and kids need an epic ton of shit. But you can rent all your baby and kid supplies from a baby equipment rental company like Babierge, which rents high-quality baby goods for a reasonable daily fee. You can rent anything from a crib, to toys, to consumables like diapers and wipes, which seriously cuts down on your luggage and hassle.
- Take a deep breath and try to enjoy the ride. Take solace in knowing we’ve all been there, appreciate the knowing smile of a mom a couple rows ahead of you, silently cuss out the woman who pronounced she “hates babies on planes” right behind you, and above all, have 6 mini liquors. Flight attendant, keep ’em comin’!
**Note: Sarah Ro operates as the Trusted Partner of Babierge Los Angeles.