Everyone Is Wrong, You Can Travel The World With A Baby!
When we told everyone we were having a baby, whilst everyone congratulated us, the thing they wanted to tell us the most was that we would have to cut back our extensive travel schedule and world exploration once she arrived.... well...we definitely proved those naysayers wrong!! We visited 14 countries in the last year since Elah has been born. Has it been challenging at times...yes, of course...but overall it’s been the most incredible experience, that I recommend to any new parent.
In her first year, Elah has visited; China, Philippines, Guadeloupe England, Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia & Herzegovina and the US states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Missouri & Florida traveling over 30,000 miles on 20 flights, road trips, trains, Ubers, boats, taxis, rickshaws, funiculars and by foot!
What have we learned over the last year?
Start traveling young – make it a habit
We took Elah on her first plane ride at just 11 weeks old. The first plane trip is
daunting for all new parents, however, babies are adaptable and we had decided
that flying would just become another part of her routine! The younger the baby, the easier it is to fly. There will be good flights, and there will be bad flights..I guess we are lucky, that on her 20 flights, including 15 hours each way to and from China in economy, Elah was only a
terror on one flight. Luckily for me, and unluckily for my wife that was the one
flight I was not on!
Patience is a virtue – plan accordingly
Let me start by saying I have none.
That is something that has changed. This was exemplified most recently at the Madrid, Spain Iberia family check-in desk – oh, how nice they have a family check-in desk you say… wrong.. 45 minutes later we finally check-in – not a lot you can do with a 10 month old infant in tow! I
understand that my life moves a lot slower now, and plan accordingly, so we are
able to easily conquer all the challenges traveling with an infant provides.
It’s no longer about you
A baby may nap longer than usual, they can be cranky, hot, tired, hungry or all the above! It is all out of your control – you might not get to go to that place you wanted to, stop at the
gift store or get to eat desert.
We tried and stick to her regular schedule at home, but on the local time-zone, which means a lot of early dinners and fitting activities in between naps.
AirBnB means you don’t go to bed at the same time as the baby
Having 2 bedrooms, or a bedroom and a living room in a rented house or apartment allowed us to put Elah down in one room, and continue to enjoy the rest of our evening in the other room. We have found that in a hotel room, when Elah goes down we have to sit in the dark watching our iPad with headphones, not a fun experience night after night.
Having the right travel gear for the trip is key
Elah uses the same 8lb Phil and Ted travel cot every night we are away. She ow happily
sleeps and naps in it, no matter where in the world it is setup in. I believe the consistency and comfort of the same bed helps adjustment to new surroundings.
In certain countries and cities having a baby carrier is far more advantageous than a stroller to get around. If you are going for a short period of time, understand where you are going and the terrain, to avoid having to take both. There are many old cities and beach resorts where strollers just don’t work. Our mountain buddy nano stroller collapses small enough to go in the baggage compartment on a plane, which has proved to be extremely useful on certain trips.
Having a light weight, but well rated, car seat like our Cosco Scenera Next is also required for every trip – if we are checking bags we check the car seat which is great for packing extra diapers into the travel car seat bag.
You don’t really need to take that much on a plane
Food, diapers & a change of clothes for all of us are the essentials. Toys are always helpful, but there are so many things that provide hours of distraction on a plane including spoons, plastic cups & safety cards. On bigger planes one of our favorite activities was sitting at the back and watching (and waving!) to the people coming in and out of the toilets.
Extra seat for the infant gives you comfort over protection
On longer flights getting the bulkhead with a crib / baby seat was great, even if it only used for short periods. I do not understand the value of buying an extra seat for infants and putting them in the car seat ‘for safety’ reasons. If the plane is going down, I do not think it will help much! On international flights you are provided with a baby belt, on internal US flights you can buy you own if you want on Amazon. Using it when the plane encounters turbulence and holding on, even if it requires waking a sleeping baby, is the safest option to me.
No screens, for now at least
Infants definitely do not need to be watching screens on flights whether it is an iPad or seat-back screen. I am sure this will change over the next few years, but providing some level of entertainment and interaction definitely avoids a cranky baby. It also keeps you entertained as well.
Have an amazing wife and mother
Stacie was incredible. Her patience, ability to not get flustered, strength to carry Elah in the baby carrier hiking up mountains, have Elah sleep on her for hours, keep Elah entertained during long drives and passion to explore the world with Elah was the real difference in our first year of adventure as a family.
I am excited to continue our adventure into its 2nd year, with trips to United
Kingdom, Gibraltar, Martinique and the US states of North and South Carolina