I became a mum seven months ago and as any mother will testify, life changed in an instant. Welcoming our son into the world has been the single best thing I’ve ever done, although I have to admit, prior to him arriving I had some serious anxiety around the changes that were about to happen.
I’ve been passionate about travelling for a long time. For the past six years my wife and I have travelled all over the world, working remotely and living a pretty minimalist life and writing about it on our blog. Upping and going whenever we felt like it, saying YES to every opportunity that came our way, we were flying by the seat of our pants a lot of the time. So you can imagine the massive change that bringing a little human into the world has had on our lifestyle!
Having a baby was a very conscious decision for us (more on that in another post), so I had a lot of time to get used to the changes that was coming. But one of the things I didn’t want to give up was travelling. And it turns out I didn’t have to. So, here are my top tips for travelling with a baby from what I’ve learned so far.
1. Book the trip
The number one piece of advice I have for any parents who want to travel is quite simply this. Book the damn trip. We booked our first overseas trip with our baby before he’d even entered the world, yes you can do that with certain airlines. That meant that no matter what, aside from anything life threatening of course, we were going on the bloody trip!
Our first overseas trip just so happened to be a 24-hour flight home to Australia so we certainly weren’t doing things by halves. Much of the anxiety that comes with travelling with a little one is often the unknowns that you’ll inevitably agonise over. What if he cries the whole way? What if he has a poo tsunami mid flight? What if he’s teething?
The reality is, yes that stuff might well happen while you’re travelling but it’s not much different to if it happens at home. My wife agonised over flying to Sydney worrying about where our boy would cry all the way there but when it came to it he was an absolute rockstar and took it all in his stride. Our kids are super resilient so stop worrying so much and book the trip already!
2. You don’t have to go far
Before our Aussie adventure we’d done a couple of weekend trips home to see my family a few hours out of London. So you don’t need to fly to the other side of the world to get your travelling fix. Some of the best trips are often the ones where we can chuck everything in the car and hit the road without much thought or planning. We did our first road trip with the little man at three weeks old which was so incredibly daunting at the time but great once we had done it.
Yes, you’ll probably pack too much and take everything but the kitchen sink but thats all part of navigating travelling with a baby. Don’t overthink it too much. A change of scenery will do you all good!
3. Take your time and try to relax
Don’t plan too much and don’t worry about cramming heaps in. Decide the destination and try and relax as much as possible. This also applies to the journey itself. Don’t worry about other people getting annoyed with you going slowly through customs or security. Take your time. People can wait.
We’re heading to Italy this summer and originally had planned to stay in a few different places and travel around, however we quickly realised that the way we travel now we have a baby had to adapt and change. So we’ve booked to stay in one place with a pool and aircon and have hired a car so we can explore on our own terms depending on how we’re all feeling. Win, win.
4. Consider All Inclusive
We’ve never been package holiday people but I have to say that All Inclusive is a whole lot more appealing now we have a family of our own. So much so that we’re actually going all inclusive in Ibiza in a few weeks time.
Taking the stress out of travelling is where the beauty of the package holiday comes in. Agreed, it may not be as culturally stimulating as backpacking around India, but will it allow these mamas to put the baby to bed and enjoy a wine or two on the balcony? Hell yes it will!
5. Streamline your packing
If you plan to travel often, consider putting together a bit of a grab and go travel kit consisting of things you know you won’t be able to get where you’re going. Everything else you can always buy there. Nappies for example are available most places so don’t fill your whole suitcase with them.
This especially applies if you want to take advantage of budget airline travel and don’t want to pay for checked luggage. The great thing about travelling with a baby is that most of the time you can take a buggy, carseat and a baby bag for free with most airlines. Always check the allowance though as you don’t want to get stung for excess baggage at the airport.
And there you have it, my top 5 tips for travelling with a baby from what I’ve learned in seven short months of motherhood. Most importantly, try and take the stress out of travelling with your little ones and have FUN! Laugh when things go tits up and encourage the whole family to embrace the unknown and sometimes unpredictable experience that is travelling. You'll all enjoy the process a lot more. I plan to travel a lot more in the next few months with our little family so I'll be sharing more of our travelling tips and adventures both here on House of Cleo and over on The Freedom Travellers.
Got a question or a travelling tip of your own? Drop a comment below!