Tips on Traveling Internationally with your Little LoveBug
When I found out I was pregnant, I was faced with many questions and comments from concerned family members and friends, such as “How you are going to have a baby with your lifestyle?” Or “Well, now your life will really change you and you will have to settle down.” I was also freaking out a little about the answers to these things at the time. But now that I’ve been doing it, I realize my life really doesn’t have to change in certain ways and sharing it with my little buddy makes everything that much better!
She is now 9 months old and has been on 15 flights. Her passport only has a couple of stamps, including Mexico and Bali, but not bad for 9 months in this world. My best and foremost advice is: DO IT! My baby is amazing on a flight now, and it is most likely because she is so used to it. I can now confidently tell passengers next to me not to worry because I have a very good little traveler. They typically don’t believe me at first, but by the end I always get une comments
When I was going to take my first domestic flight, just heading to California, I was kinda freaking. I asked my mom friends so many questions: Is it better to get a connection and fly out of a smaller airport and get a car to Chicago and have direct? Should I buy her a seat even if it isn’t required? Do I bring the car seat? A stroller? Which one? The Baby Bjorn style carrier or another brand? Should I try to fly first class and will that be better or worse in this scenario? Do I bring my breast pump, baby toys, baby food? How will I carry all this luggage?
Well, after some experience, I have to say that I have it down! There a few pros and cons to doing it one way or another, which I will share with you, and ultimately give you the choices I suggest.
Car Seats: If you rent a car, you can usually (probably always) rent a car seat with your car, unless you’re traveling super 3rd world, in which case I would just ask the rental company. However, I found I like to travel with my car seat. If you are lucky enough to get a seat next to you that is free, then you can carry your car seat on with you (usually) and when your baby sleeps, you have your own space as well.
Caddy: I found this to be KEY. I just bought a $70 universal caddy in which my car seat sits. This makes my life SO much easier and is no problem at all to gate check. Plus, you can put your own carry-on in the basket below, which means you are now sauntering through the airport feeling light and free as a bird! Ok, maybe a bird pushing a caddy, car seat and baby, but this really feels pretty easy. Babies tend to like the feeling of movement, so pushing the baby through keeps baby happy while she is entertained with all the activity and passers-by.
Stroller: If your baby is a little older, you may opt for a stroller. My baby is a very big baby at 9 months and I think I am just getting to this point. However, I still like having my car seat because she often falls asleep in it in on the way to restaurants and I can have a peaceful meal with free hands!
If and when you do opt for a stroller, opt for one that collapses with one hand and can lay your baby flat (to sleep in layovers or at restaurants, etc).
Baby Food: Yes, I do like to bring a few organic squeezy pouches. Usually it is no problem to get some yogurt or something, but they are small and easy to throw in a purse or bag, and it eliminates stress of wondering if you will find the right thing for the baby. Once traveling, you can be careful about what you buy. Of course, this all depends where you are traveling, but most restaurants will offer some pureed soup, mashed potatoes or at least something. Bali is especially wonderful for this because there are so many organic and healthy restaurants.
Childcare: Don’t be afraid to get help when you travel. It’s true you can’t do everything you used to do with a baby. Although I believe you can do just about all of it! For those morning walks on the beach, you choose, either strap your baby to you or indulge in an early morning nanny. Take the stress off. Yes, this can get costly, but not in Bali. If you hire someone long term, the price is much much better than hourly. The cost for a full-time nanny in Bali, which is 7-8 hours/day 6 days per week is about 1.6 – 2 million IDR, yes that’s about $150 USD for the month!
To find childcare, you can simply ask the manager of the place you are staying, whether it is a homestay, villa or hotel. In the US, I have had very good experience with care.com. In fact, they are much more professional and more helpful than people I have found through friends and family.
How Life Has Changed When You’re There
We all remember the not-so-long-ago days when we could come and go freely without plans and be on the go constantly. So, that has changed and it’s not a problem, unless you decide to make it one. In fact, I quite enjoy staying in places a bit longer and planning out my schedule to a further degree than I used to.
Babies and kids are adaptable, but only to a certain degree. You don’t want your bundle of love becoming overtired and moving around too much can do that. I simply book longer timeframes wherever we go and choose to stay in certain areas, rather than just seeing something new every few days. It takes so much stress out of it. Get settled, get yourself unpacked, get a baby crib (many places rent) and enjoy exploring the place you choose. Sometimes less is so much more!
Any other questions? Please make comments or questions below.
I keep my life going, keep myself happy and I know this contributes to my very happy baby! As moms, we set an example from an early age. Babies feel your energy at all times and they will learn behavior and responses. They understand so much more than many people give them credit for. I love taking my baby everywhere, so she is very used to being in restaurants (even fine dining), planes, shops and with people of all different cultures, nationalities, and colors of skin.
Listen to your own heart and trust your own motherly intuition. Spend lots and lots of time with your baby but get out of your house doing it. Don’t be afraid to get help, whether it’s to take a yoga class, go to work or have a wild night out! You deserve all of this. But come home and give your baby kisses, especially on the forehead, cheeks, belly, feet and fingers. 🙂
Empower yourself to love your life and you will empower your child to love life also!