Ask the Organizer: Traveling with a Baby

Help! We are traveling with our infant for the first time!  There is so much stuff involved! How can I streamline this?

When there’s a baby to consider, the preparation for a family vacation can be so daunting that it’s hard to look forward to a week of family togetherness.  You could fill a skycap’s cart with bags packed JUST for your little one – forget packing for your own needs!

Here are some tips to help you travel light.  By following these helpful hints, you’ll be able to focus on the pleasures that your destination offers once you arrive, rather than the stress of just getting there.

Don’t schlep it, ship it! In a time when airlines are sticking to strict weight limits and charging passengers for extra checked luggage, it’s important to keep baggage to a minimum.  Think about bulky or heavy items that you could ship to your destination ahead of time (be sure to call your hotel or your host to let them know to expect the packages). is a great resource to purchase a week’s supply of diapers and formula at a discount – but before you box up your spare Pack’n’Play, call the hotel to ask if they have cribs available.

Consistency is Key. By now, you and your baby have developed certain routines  – bath and bedtime rituals, naptime schedules, songs you dance to every night.  Whatever your routines, try your best to stick to them, even on vacation.  Purchase small toiletry bottles and travel with baby’s favorite bath products and lotions.  Bring along the CD that never fails to soothe.  Most importantly – never forget the security blanket (whatever that blanket is to your child).

A busy baby is a happy baby. You don’t need to take along every toy your baby has ever had an interest in, but it’s a good idea to travel with a few items to keep baby occupied.  Think about things that can fit easily into your carry-on:  board books and bubbles are great options.  Don’t forget that almost anything can entertain your child – got a near-empty Altoids tin in your purse?  Throw in some pennies, close it securely with a rubber band and voila!  A brand new rattle!

Make time for Mommy (and Daddy too!). Vacation is a wonderful time to spend with your family – but if you spend all of your time as a caretaker, the relaxation aspect is lost.  Try to plan some time for yourself – whether it’s an hour at the spa or an evening with your spouse.  Visiting a relative?  Perhaps they can watch the baby one evening.  Traveling to a hotel?  Most concierges can put you in touch with a reputable babysitting service – calling ahead will give you the chance to check the service’s references and credentials.

Note: This post originally appeared as an article in CribNotes’ August 2009 issue.

Safe travels!

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