Traveling With a Baby
Traveling With a Baby
For those of you who have been following along with my blog for a while, you likely already know a few things about me:
- I’m a wedding photographer (duh)
- I’m a bit of a fitness nut
- I love to travel
You may also know that I’m married and have a beautiful little girl—a little girl who just recently turned one, and who has flipped our lives upside down. In the best ways, of course, but also… just completely taking over. My husband and I are both driven people, and working our passions around the more all-encompassing aspects of parenthood has been interesting. To say the least.
Like for instance, we recently went on our first out of country trip since our daughter was born—bringing our then 10-month old along with us to Paris.
Here’s what I learned on that adventure:
First and foremost, when traveling with a baby, always get an apartment with a kitchen and a washing machine. Being able to cook meals is worth any extra expense you might take on as a result, and the time saved (not to mention, the luggage space) because we were able to clean bottles easily in our kitchen was invaluable. Bonus? We spent about the same amount on the apartment as we would have on a hotel, but we had way more room to roam around. (By the way, Paris hotel rooms are particularly TINY.)
Next up, find a grocery store and stock up on filtered water if you’re using formula. We hit up the Mono Prix Express in the St. Germaine area, and also grabbed some baby basics there, like electrical outlet plugs and packing tape to keep cupboards closed and cords out of reach.
As far as baby sleeping options, ask your host about providing a pack and play or crib—most will. Ours brought us one without sheets, but that wasn’t a big deal at all. We just used a regular bed sized sheet and wrapped the excess under the sleeping pad.
Another great tip is to order basic supplies on Amazon and to have them delivered to where you are staying. Keep in mind that Amazon has a different site for different countries, so we used Amazon.fr to have diapers and wipes delivered. This saved us from having to pack a large supply of those items. Though, keep in mind that not everything will be delivered straight to your door in other countries—sometimes, you may have to go to a collection site.
on the flights, I used some wide satin ribbon to tie toys together and/or to the baby. This kept baby entertained, and saved us from having to pick stuff off the gross floor every second. This kid like to throw stuff! The ribbon works for the stroller as well. Just be sure to never leave the baby alone with the ribbon, you know, choking hazard and all that.
Definitely take a stroller. It might seem like a pain to haul around, but we used ours a lot, despite the crowds and cobblestones. And when we got caught sleeping the night at Heathrow airport, on a bench, at least our daughter had a place to comfortably rest. Don’t forget the stroller bag, either. We were able to throw in our daughter’s fat winter coat and extra diapers to refill our on-plane supply during layovers. Then, we just gate checked it outside the plane—though, when traveling in other countries, be sure that means they will still be loading it on the plane. In all cases, you’ll need a claim ticket before boarding—don’t just leave it at the door to the plane and think it will follow you.
Now, what about the actual sightseeing? My husband and I both like to immerse ourselves into the culture when traveling, but our daughter needed a lot of time to “get her ya-ya’s out,” as I like to say. That meant we pretty much stayed home in the mornings and let her get some energy out in the apartment. If she were older we probably would have spent that time at a playground. When it was close to time for her 1st nap, we would feed her and then load her in the stroller or soft carrier. From there, we could head out to our touristy destination of choice. She would usually fall asleep en route and sleep through some of the touristing.
Whenever she woke up, we’d let her roam around a little wherever we were. We might attempt a fast lunch and head back to the apartment, where she could get more of those ya-ya’s out. Then, as she neared time for her 2nd nap of the day, we would do it all again.
Dining out was tough, especially at night, because most of the restaurants are cramped quarters with dinner being served a bit too late for our little one. The good news was, finding good take-out in Paris was easy, so we self-catered at the apartment quite a bit.
So, yeah… traveling is a little different with a baby, especially when you are a seasoned traveler yourself. But the point is, having a baby doesn’t mean you have to stay home, and it is never too early to instill a love of travel in your little one!
Of course, the flight’s another story—but it’s worth it, I promise!