We recently took Teagan on his first plane ride and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have concerns before we boarded. What if he cried the entire time? Could I trust the air on a plane during a pandemic? And how difficult would it be to travel with all of the items he needed?
Happy to report that it was a success! Not only did we survive, I think he actually enjoyed it. He slept for the majority of the flight and the airlines were so helpful with all the extra items we had to check/gate check. I know traveling with an infant for the first time can be a little (lot) stressful, even for the most seasoned of travelers, so I figured I’d share a few tips that helped us get through our first vacation!
Here are 9 tips for traveling with an infant:
1. Choose a hotel where you don’t mind spending a lot of time
Babies love routine and one of the best ways to give them that is to create consistency in location. If you choose a hotel with activities that can hold your attention for hours (even if it’s just access to a beach), then it allows the baby to familiarize themselves with the area and hopefully become comfortable.
2. Choose a flight schedule that corresponds to nap times
One of the reasons flying with Teagan was so easy was because he slept for most of the flight each way. Our take-off times were around when he typically would take a nap so it worked out. I know this isn’t always a possibility, but if you have flexibility, it’s worth trying to coordinate the two!
3. Fly with headphones
One of my friends was sweet enough to gift Teagan these noise-canceling headphones for his first Gamecock tailgate later this year! But when we booked our flight I figured they may help prevent his ears from popping as the altitude changed. He wore them comfortably and even slept in them (though I did take them off once we leveled off in the air and put them back on as we prepared to land). I can’t say for a fact that they did the trick, but he didn’t have any issues so they didn’t hurt!
4. Try to feed as close to taking off as possible
Another way to prevent your baby’s ears from popping is to feed as the altitude changes. Of course, your baby dictates when you feed… not take-off. But try to satisfy them at the start of the flight so that they have one less reason to become uncomfortable.
5. Pack familiar items
Since babies appreciate routine, packing familiar items that they love at home gives them something to connect to. Pack your baby’s favorite toys, blankets, or other accessories. I made sure I packed toys from our Lovevery subscription. Not only does Teagan LOVE them, but they also help develop skills for his age. I also ensured there was room to pack his Boppy in his checked bag (yes, he had his own) because he can’t quite sit up on his own, but loves being up-right! I also checked our travel bassinet by The First Years because it’s proven to be comfortable for overnight trips to Charleston or North Carolina!
6. Lysol wipes
I made sure I had enough Lysol wipes for the entire weekend and made the effort to wipe everything down before he had access to it. Think: the armrests, window + tray on the plane, the tables we’d pull his stroller up to when we ate, the dresser where we laid a changing pad to change him, etc.
7. Intentional toiletries
I have my own travel-sized items, so it only made sense that Teagan has his. I stocked up on the mini versions of products he already loved (tip: don’t try new products for the first time while away) and bought travel containers for the items that didn’t come in smaller sizes (like his dish detergent or Aquaphor).
8. Don’t unpack your diaper bag when you get back to your room
One of my goals while traveling is to eliminate stress! I’ve found one of the worst moments with Teagan is when he needs something that I don’t have. Then I’m scrambling to find it or go get it or whatever. Avoid this happening while on vacation by packing your diaper bag with EVERYTHING you’ll need, then bring another set of those things to leave in the room (diapers, wipes, change of clothes, creams, etc.). I used his diaper bag as my personal item and had a carry-on suitcase + checked bag for my stuff.
9. Have a plan; have fun
You know what they say: if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Think through your trip — what are the activities you can do? Where do you feel comfortable taking your baby to eat? Are you going to gate-check a car seat or rent one when you arrive? Believe me, I know caring for another human being is exhausting in general and throwing in a trip can be overwhelming. My advice is to try to make a point to enjoy it. You’re creating memories, giving your baby new experiences, and living your life… and you deserve to find joy in that!