Seven Tips for Traveling with a Baby or a Toddler

Anyone who has ever had to travel with a small child knows this: it’s exhausting and overwhelming. Many new parents will try to avoid traveling as long as possible in an attempt to avoid the hassle. So, to make this summer’s family travel less onerous, we went to the expert, Rebekah Otto, the Editor-in-Chief of Babylist for her top tips for traveling with a small, demanding yet adorably lovable human.

Seven Tips for Traveling with a Baby or a Toddler

1. Skip the crib. Babies are heavy—or rather, their accouterments are. So don’t bring what you don’t have to. “For sleeping arrangements, I try to skip bringing a bassinet or travel crib,” Otto said.. “On Airbnb, I filter by houses with cribs or high chairs. (It's hidden in amenities.) This makes traveling with my eight-month-old and three-year-old much easier.” Searches can also be customized to suit families - and you can add “infants” to the guests to only show homes that are baby friendly. Or in "trip type", set "For families.” Another home-share rental option according to Otto is Kid + Coe, but note the site’s availability is much more limited.

2. Proper planning makes all the difference between a great trip and an anxiety attack, so write everything down ahead of the trip. “Lists are your friend,” Otto said. “Make one for what you’ll need on the journey (toys for the plane, fully stocked diaper bag) and one for what you’ll need at the destination (portacrib, favorite stuffy, and more diapers).”

3. As for flying with small ones, we all know how painful that can be. One tantrum and the death stares from other passengers on the flight will chill any soul. But there are ways to minimize the pain. Otto recommends booking flights as close to naptime as possible to maximize the possibility of a peaceful flight—as your little one can send the time napping instead of wailing.

Seven Tips for Traveling with a Baby or a Toddler

4. When packing—less is more. “My favorite packing tip is, if you're on the fence, skip it,” Otto said. “Unless you're going to the Cook Islands, you can probably find that extra sippy cup wherever you're going.” Bonus: if you’re traveling to countries with a favorable U.S. exchange rate, your baby goods will also likely cheaper.

5. That being said, there are some things you need to pack - like a convertible car seat. Otto has one for her three-year-old and noted, “It's bulky and heavy, so I use the Britax Car Seat Travel Cart. In the airport, I strap the car seat to the cart and then put my daughter in the car seat. It works as an airport stroller, and I feel like a boss. Another great product is the WayB folding travel car seat. “It's going to make my summer travels so much better,” Otto said.

Seven Tips for Traveling with a Baby or a Toddler

6. And then comes the strollers. Strollers these days come in all sizes, shapes and utilities—from the running strollers to the SUV sized, hold your baby and all your shopping strollers. Otto recommends the BabyZen Yoyo+. “This is lightweight, it’s easy to push and folds small enough to put in most airplane overhead bins (so you don’t have to worry about damage during flight).”

7. Otto’s final—and perhaps most important tip for traveling with a baby is, “Relax! It certainly doesn’t have to be torture flying with kids! With proper prep and a good attitude, it can even be fun.” Extra bonus—if you’re relaxed, your child is more likely to be relaxed and that means way smoother sailing.

So. Go forth, and travel this summer—with your kids!