4 New Moms' Tips for Traveling with Kids

Posted by Jimmy Im on April 24, 2013 at 4:03:57 PM EDT | Post a Comment

Traveling with a child is not easy, but it's inevitable if you're a new mother. With the right tools, though, it can be less challenging (for both parties!). It's discovering those right tools that can add up to frustrations and even ruined trips. So we asked four new moms for their hard-won tips on how to make the most of a (new) family trip.

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Name: Olivia Relova

City: Brooklyn

Offspring: Mila, 2 ½ years old

Tell us about traveling with Mila.

We've taken Mila on a few flights now—one to Tulum, one to St. Lucia, and several to Dublin.

Why Dublin? 

My husband is from Ireland, so we try to visit as often as possible. We also love to travel and love sharing that with our girl. We're very lucky...she's an awesome travel buddy! She's low key and always up for new adventures. Once we keep to her general sleeping habits (11 hours at night, a nap during the day) she's happy and easy going. And despite all the extra precautions and limitations that come with traveling with a child, it's such a beautiful experience.

What's the benefit of traveling with Mila?

It's wonderful to see new sights with her fresh eyes. And it's really refreshing because she forces us to take a slower pace and enjoy our surroundings. Also it's great to travel with a young baby, because their flight is free until the age of 2!

What are your top tips on traveling with a baby?

First off, travel during nap times/bedtimes. It makes for a much easier flight! When we travel to Dublin, we take the overnight flight and we're all basically asleep from takeoff to landing. Reserve seats near the wing/engine. The white noise soothes and usually makes for a sleepy baby. And nurse or bottle feed, or give your baby a pacifier, during take-off and landing. The sucking motion will combat the air pressure on their sensitive ears.

What should new parents always pack?

Lots of snacks! Milk! For toddlers, a big box of Band-aids is a great cheap activity for flights. It's multifaceted: They open the wrapper, pull off the adhesive tabs, and stick them anywhere they like. Also, bring familiar toys and blankets from home. It's good to have something familiar when the surroundings change so drastically.

Will you travel with Mila again?

Definitely. Mila loves traveling so I want to keep that love up. I also want to get in as much traveling as we can before we are beholden to school schedules (which most often have breaks right in the high season). I daydream of traveling with my husband on our own too. Someday...

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Name: Emily Bernstein

City: Los Angeles

Offspring: Parker, 2 months old

Tell us about traveling with Parker for the first time.

We traveled recently to Palm Springs via our car to visit family. The ride took approximately 2 hours from Los Angeles with our 2-month old, Parker.

What inspired the trip?

Our family was eager to see him. It was also really nice just to change up the scenery, as I have spent so much time at the beginning with him at home. It is so hard in these early months to even get out of the house!

What are your top tips on traveling with a new baby? 

Because we traveled by car, I over-packed and it made me feel so much better. I didn't have the anxiety of forgetting things as I just threw everything in the car. I knew that whatever I would need I would have. Of course, a lot was not needed but for me as a new mom it made me much more relaxed.

What should new parents always pack? 

The one thing that I found really beneficial was the app Presence. Not really something you need to pack. It functions as a monitoring video camera with another device. Basically, I set it up with my iPad and iPhone so I could watch our lil' guy when we were in another room. I'm attached to my monitor when I'm at home, so it was nice to have this app on the go.

What did you learn about traveling with a child? 

It's nothing like what a vacation was before! I carry much more than I am used to. "Schlepping" is an understatement! I also give so much credit to those parents who travel with multiple children on planes now!

Any motherly advice? 

Stay calm. I have found that the calmer I am the happier my baby is. There is nothing more important than my baby and family, so when your shirt is covered in spit up and food, just try not to even think about it!

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Name: Isabelle Bauer Rovner

City: Manhattan

Offspring: Sophie Jade, 2 years old 

Tell us about traveling with Sophie.

The first time, we took the car and traveled for 4 hours to Lake George, NY. She was four weeks old and slept almost through the whole trip. We dipped her in the lake and she cried. A couple of months later we took her to the Caribbean and she enjoyed it and now she loves the water. She has been to San Juan, St John, the Jersey ShoreAruba, Frankfurt, Miami, and Milan. We took a ferry from St Thomas to St. John. She loved it! We also stayed on a motor boat in the South of Italy. She loved that, too!

What inspires you to travel so much with Sophie? 

She is part of our family and we want her to be included in both work trips and vacations. St. John was her favorite and it's an excellent place for children. It has the best beaches and little shuttles that take you everywhere.

What are the benefits of traveling with her? 

Customs and airlines let you go first. Bye bye, long lines...

What are your top tips on traveling with a new baby? 

Have a bottle ready for take off and descend to avoid any ear pain. Always have enough diapers and a change of clothes handy, you will need it. And bring fruit pouches and snacks!

Have you had any nightmare situations on the road?

YES. I ran out of diapers when she was 2-months old on our way to Germany. I felt bad for myself and the nearby passengers. Last year we missed our connection to Brindisi and were stuck in Milan for a day. She got sick and threw up in a restaurant. The neighboring tables got up and ran! I still feel badly for them. But in the end, I have learned that it is usually less stressful than you think it will be.

What should new parents always pack? 

Medicine Baby travel kit, because you just never know. And sunscreen for the beach.

Any motherly advice? 

Be relaxed and enjoy travelling with your kids. If it gets problematic, I usually have a glass of wine to calm myself down.

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Name: Carolyn Johnson

City: Rockaway, NJ

Offspring: Juliet, 4

Tell us about traveling with Juliet.

We traveled to Disney World in Orlando in July. Juliet knew she was going. She was really excited to go to Disney because we showed her pictures of past trips I had taken when I was young, and we showed her some fun stuff on Disney websites. We plan to make the same trip this July.

Why Disney World? 

This was a family vacation. There's no better place than Disney World! We joined in a family Disney trip with my parents, sister, and nephews. A high-energy trip but fun. 

What was it like traveling with Juliet? 

Feeling her excitement and being a part of her first travel experience was very special. We knew a lot of her favorite characters, places, and activities come alive in Disney World. She really partied for her first vacation. 

What are your top three tips on traveling with a new baby? 

Explain the experience of the flight in as much as detail as possible. We showed her pictures of airplanes (the inside and outside of the plane) and described how the flight takes off and lands.  Then, get them excited to pack and play with toys during the flight. Juliet chose dolls and books to bring along. We packed snacks, coloring books, travel puzzles, and her favorite stuffed animals.

Did you have any nightmare situations?

Even with all our planning, she didn't quite understand the concept of 'stay seated' on the flight. It was difficult to stop her from running up and down the aisles and exploring the restrooms. We bribed her with 'surprise toys' and snacks to stay in her seat. I think it bothered other passengers but we didn't really have a back up plan. Luckily, she listened to us. 

Will you travel again with Juliet?

Absolutely, yes! We plan to travel again in July!  She now understands the concept of traveling and points to airplanes in the sky a lot. She thinks all planes fly to Disney World.

Is there any sort of clarity you gained on traveling with a child? 

Yes, I was happy I didn't exhibit anxiety or stress about traveling. I believe it allowed Juliet to feel comfortable and safe instead of uneasy. I was a proud Mommy. 

Jimmy Im is a freelance travel writer based in LA. He's hosted programs on the Travel Channel and LOGO, and makes regular appearances on morning news shows as a "travel expert." Follow him on Twitter: @dieselmad.

Member Comments (1)  Post a Comment

  • naoma on May 4, 13 at 09:52 AM

    Only had or wanted one child who traveled with us by air since she was one-year old. She had our attention and other people on the plane thought she was really cute --she was a baby model. So, with all the attention there was never problem. Pay attention to your kids. We even had people in very fine restaurants come to the table and say what a beautiful and well-mannered child she was. She's grown up now and still a joy.

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