How to travel with a baby/toddler ?
After cloth diapering and babywearing, this is the topic that I have been asked about the most. This post has been long pending and finally I could jot down my experiences for you guys and hope it will be helpful.
Raisha has been travelling even before she turned 3 months old and the mode of transport has been mostly car or aeroplane. So my post will be related to these.
I will try to section my travels, so that you can refer to the section you are looking for.
Travelling with an infant by flight:
Raisha took her first ever flight when she was almost 3 months old.
Through my experience I would say travelling with an infant is considerably easier. They mostly feed and sleep. Make sure to feed the baby on takeoff and landing, as the constant sucking motion helps keep any discomfort due to air pressure changes at bay. Please be careful if you are feeding formula in flight, there have been various cases of mishaps on feeding formula to infant in flights. I have been exclusively breastfeeding, so I cannot give tips related to formula feeding.
Travelling with a toddler by flight:
Let me admit that travelling with a toddler can be scary or crazy depending on their mood. I have traveled with Raisha alone before she turned one and it was difficult managing her alone. The diaper changes in flight, keeping her entertained, managing to feed her or keep her calm was a little daunting when I traveled alone with her. She was around 7 -8 months then ,so there was no activity as such to keep her entertained also. I feel playing their favorite videos on phone could help in such situations; I had not tried it then.
Raisha took her first international long flight before she turned one. This was a difficult flight too as we had booked the flight late at night and this disturbed her sleep. She was constantly feeding and unsettled during the whole flight journey of around 5 hours. It was exhausting for me.
But the recent flight we took to Belgium, has been considerably better and also I traveled alone with her from Mangalore to Mumbai which also went well. So I would like to share what helped me during these travels.
Stock up on their favorite snacks: I carried a few organic snack bars which she loves ad it kept her happy for some time in the flight.
Breastfeeding: I did have to breast feed her on demand to comfort her.
Few activities : I really couldn’t open/close bags and remove things from it with a toddler on my lap when travelling alone. So I played her favorite videos on mobile which kept her entertained. Also co passengers normally are really helpful and help keep the baby entertained. In the international flights, Raisha was given some goodies to play with but she was more entertained by the cartoons we played on the in-flight tv.
Try to minimize the luggage you are carrying: Being with a toddler itself can be so overwhelming, that we might not be so careful about our luggage. We had an instance where we almost lost our bag with all the important documents as we were carrying too many bags and missed the count. So take care and travel light.
Do carry a stroller or a baby carrier: It will be of great help when the baby sleeps. I mostly travel only with my carrier. But have carried my stroller for international flights. You can carry the stroller till the boarding and while entering the flight you would need to surrender the stroller and then collect it from the conveyor belt after landing. Don’t worry; your stroller will be received in good condition. Make sure you carry a compact stroller, reduces a lot of hassle.
I have this one from R for Rabbit: Link
My baby carriers are from Soul
The international flights are a breeze with toddlers as they are more spacious, have in flight tvs and enough arrangements to make the toddler comfortable. I might even consider travelling with Raisha alone internationally if need be.
What to carry in your baby bag on flights:
Make a separate small pouch for diaper changes: Keep a couple of diapers, wet wipes, a change of dress and a small hand towel in it. This will be very helpful, if you have to do a change in-flight. I used to cloth diaper and it did add to my misery when I had to change her in-flight. So I would recommend travelling with disposables if travelling alone. Cloth diapers are manageable when you have a helping hand.
P.s. I have extensively cloth diapered until I was in India, which is basically for all my travels so it is absolutely do-able.
Carry her favorite toy: Can carry some activities, coloring book, a magic slate, play cards.
Screen time: Be open for giving some screen time on mobile or TV if the need be in order to keep your sanity intact.
Snacks: a few of their favorite snacks preferably makhanas, puffed rice, fruits or some healthy bars.
Water, bib, cotton, hand sanitizer, a napkin and a stole to use as a breastfeeding cover are other essentials which you would need to carry.
Documents needed while travelling with toddler:
For domestic flight you only need a birth certificate.
For international flights a passport is a must.
Make sure while booking tickets, you add in your child as well. Children below 2 are not charged for tickets but airlines do charge some amount for children under 2, for domestic flights it is approx INR 1000 and will be quite more for international flights. A boarding pass will be issued for your child as well so it is very important to add their details while booking flight tickets.
Travelling with a toddler by car:
I am talking about longer journeys; we have traveled for around 15 hours by car with Raisha from Pune to my hometown Karkala. I hate bus travels and trains are not convenient to travel from Pune to my hometown, also there are no direct flights from Pune, so we were left with no other option but travelling by car and we have enjoyed it a lot.
Travelling by car eliminates the extra time needed to reach a train station, bus stand or airport. We basically used to travel in our most comfortable clothes/PJs, Raisha was mostly carried while she was sleeping from our flat to the car and hence her sleep was undisturbed.
Make sure you invest in a car seat, cannot stress enough on how important a car seat is for safety and also is of great help during long drives. I used to seat Raisha mostly in her car seat when she was active and give her some of her favorite toys to play with. She used to love looking out of the window sitting in her car seat. Car seat also helped me feed her snacks on the go. This helped me have some hands free time and rest. Only disadvantage with a car seat is the space gets reduced to half, but it ensures safety so this should not be a concern. Travelling by car also gives us the luxury of carrying almost everything we would need for our stay. Car journeys help us take breaks when needed; helps keep the baby not get bored or cranky. Play some loud music, dance with your baby, check the sceneries outside and basically enjoy the journey. But a 15 hour long journey gets tiresome at the end, so make sure you get enough rest as soon as you reach your destination.
The car seat we use is from R for Rabbit Link
P.S : All products mentioned in this post are non sponsored.
I really hope this post was of some help to new moms. I will cover how to plan vacations with kids in another post.
Do leave comments if you have any doubts or questions.