Traveling with babies can be tough. Where did you go for your first family vacation? Any travel tips? Your answer may be used in an upcoming issue of the magazine!
With my daughter, Alex, I took a trip with her when she was 1 month old. It was just a quick trip to visit my mom on Mother's day. It should have been an easy enough trip to handle....boy was I wrong! My first mistake was flying with her by myself. My husband was deployed to Afghanistan so this was unavoidable! She cried the whole hour and half we were on the plane and of course it was a full flight! My other mistake was bringing regular powder-based formula in the canister. (See previous statement for results!!) Tips for traveling with a little one alone: BE PREPARED!! Bring extra everything (paci, diapers, blanket, etc.) If you're bottle feeding your baby the TSA allows you to bring prepared formula in 3 oz bottles as long as you declare it at the security check point. I would suggest getting the ready to feed formula and put it in a lunch box with an ice pack. Also Take advantage of the help that the airlines offer when traveling with children. Many airlines will allow you to board the plane first and will let you check your child's car seat/stroller at the gate and bring it back to you once you've landed. Finally, have a sense of humor! Something will most likely go wrong on every trip you take with your little ones. So get ready to laugh at yourself!!
Traveling with a little one can be a challenge, but it's definitely doable. My web site, www.WellPreparedMommy.com, includes a checklist for traveling with a young child. (From the homepage, click on "Baby's First Year" and it's under "Out and About.") Here are some additional tips:
**Start with a packing list - and give yourself plenty of time to think it over.
**If you can, buy the bulk of your diapers, wipes and food when you arrive at your destination, packing only what you'll need for the trip there - especially if you're flying and have to deal with luggage restrictions.
**If you're flying with a very young child, don't forget your stroller. It'll come in handy in the airport when you're checking in, using the restroom, having a bite to eat. You can check it at the gate.
**Whether you're driving or flying, don't forget the entertainment. Try to keep items light and small so they don't weigh you down (e.g., cloth books and paperbacks) and also think outside the "toy box." When my son was two, I entertained him for the better part of a flight with a deck of playing cards. He'd pull the cards out of the box, put them back in and do it all over again.
**Many airlines will offer pre-boarding for families, but don't board early if you think your child will become restless.
**If you're driving, really think about the placement of your child's carseat. If you'll have a parent in the passenger's seat, it might be best to put your child in the center of the backseat or diagonal so you can easily pass treats and toys back.
**And don't forget to pack your patience. Traveling with a child can be so rewarding, but it is different than traveling by yourself or with just your spouse or partner.
I vote for the beach. It is one big sandbox and if your kids are not in school, going just before or just after summer leaves the entire beach to you. Since there is nothing for them to hide behind, you can give them some autonomy. Put you blanket well away from the water, though.
Help to have a happy family.