Travelling with Baby: Our Top Tips
- Pop a travel-friendly changing mat in your changing bag to use in public or airplane bathrooms. Also stash some large, resealable plastic bags in your car boot (if you’re on a road trip) or changing bag. They are a simple, quick fix for temporarily storing messy items like dirty nappies, clothes, and bibs.
- A sling is a great way to transport your baby through an airport and is also very handy for cities with cobbled streets or for trekking down 87 steps to a beach.
- A sheet or blanket from home with the smell of their cot on it is something a lot of parents recommend when travelling and getting their baby to sleep away from home - anything familiar will help them to settle.
- When you’re flying with young children, you can usually skip the boarding queues. Airlines generally make sure families with young children board first, so you have more time to get your children settled on the plane.
- If there is a time to ignore the brigade of “keep electronics away from your kid at such a young age” warriors, it is when you are travelling with a baby. Bring a portable DVD player or download some cartoons onto your iPad or phone – if it keeps them quiet, you and your fellow passengers will be more than grateful. Bring any other toys than your baby particularly likes to keep them extra entertained.
- Let your baby nurse, drink from a bottle, or suck a soother during take-off and landing to reduce ear discomfort.
- If you’re flying, buy a plane ticket for your baby so they have a seat of your own. The safest place for your baby is in a car seat (FAA-approved for air travel) securely fastened to a seat on the plane.
- A spare change of clothes in your hand luggage with nappies and wipes etc is essential, just in case the airline misplace your checked-in bag or you have an emergency situation on the plane.
- Assemble a first-aid kit with the supplies you might need to deal with minor medical problems while travelling/in a different country with your baby. Remember to bring prescription medications, even if your baby only needs them on occasion.
- Bring a hat to shade your baby from the sun in warm weather. Sunscreen is a must if you will be spending time outdoors – no matter what season. Use one with both UVA and UVB protection that is at least SPF 30. If your baby is younger than 6 months, apply small amounts of sunscreen to his face and the backs of his hands. On older babies, you can use it more liberally wherever skin is exposed. There are sensitive skin creams for babies, like Elave Sensitive Sun cream available at CarePlus Pharmacies.
Download the CarePlus App, it will tell you UV forecasts so you can see what the UV rating is where you are in real-time.
- Bring a car seat when you take public transport (like a bus, train, or taxi) to keep your baby as safe as possible. The car seat will provide some protection even when there is no way to secure it in place.
- If you're not breastfeeding, bring ready-to-use formula or make a few bottles of formula at home to bring along. Babies’ bottles technically don’t fall under the 100ml liquids rule, but not all airports, or airport staff for that matter, tend to acknowledge that. You should be safe to bring large bottles through security in Irish airports, they might just ask you to taste it to prove it is formula. However, we would advise bringing empty sterilised bottles and powder dispensers just in case the bottle is taken from you. Check with your airline and the TSA for policies on travelling with formula or breast milk.
- Do not travel during school holidays. One of the best things about travelling with babies and toddlers is that you can travel at any time. Take advantage of the fact that your child hasn’t started school yet and travel off-peak. Not only will you save yourself a lot of money but you should be able to get availability in the best hotels / apartments as well as avoiding the crowds.
- Keep your baby cool. Give your children plenty of water to avoid dehydration. If travelling with babies and toddlers during very hot temperatures, always book a hotel or an apartment with air conditioning - check that it is in the bedrooms too and not just the living room. Hire a white or light-coloured car as dark cars hold the heat.