Taking your little peanut on their first-time travel trip is a complete game-changer for you and the family. Filled with excitement, fear, and nervousness? It’s all completely normal for parents.
Newbie parents often ask the question, “is it hard to travel with a baby?” Traveling with an infant is not as scary as it sounds or what you may hear. However, it does require additional planning.
Many travel-loving families find that taking an infant on a trip isn't as daunting as it may sound. Even more so, it may actually be more comfortable than if you had to wait until they are older.
Let's take a look at some ups and downs when traveling with a baby.
Pros and Cons of Traveling with a Baby
There are many reasons to travel with your baby. Here are some points to answer your question, “Is it hard to travel with a baby?”
Pros of Traveling with a Baby
Traveling while your child is still an infant can be really great. While there certainly are some cons, we wanted to go through the positives first. Because honestly, they’re the most important things.
1. Sightseeing Gains a Childlike Fun Element
Traveling to theme parks and playgrounds, going to the beach, and other kid-centric attractions are not only fun for your children but for parents as well. When you're on the go with your baby, it's fun to attend these entertainment areas.
You can also do activities that may be of interest to you. A baby in a stroller or a sling is likely not to mind if you took them for a hike, leisurely lunch or a browse through an art gallery. As long as you come prepared.
2. They’re Probably Going to Sleep – A Lot
Infants take a lot of naps. Strap your little nugget to your chest, and off you go. Some days, we could amble around town or enjoy lunch without ever hearing any complaints from our little one.
Even better, long-distance flights and land travel are made easier when traveling with a baby as they can nap for ages. Also, if there is some sort of disruption during your journey, the chances are they will sleep through it.
3. Modern-Day Conveniences Make it Easier
Traveling with a baby is not as stressful thanks to modern-day conveniences. From flights offering bassinets to specially-designed travel gear, comfort is possible on both long and short flights.
4. Fewer Troubles with Meal Times
Traveling with a baby is less of a hassle when it comes to meal prepping. Infants under six months old are only concerned with breast milk. On the plus side, breast milk is always on hand (or, ahem, on the chest).
Breastfeeding your infant when traveling is not only beneficial but makes traveling more relaxed and less stressful in regards to meal prepping. The best and most natural food to “prepare” when traveling is breast milk.
After six months old, you can supplement your little one's diet with formula milk and puree, which is still easy to mix up and travel with.
5. They Fly For Free!
Most airlines, both domestic and international, allow kids under the age of two to travel for free. Other airlines may charge a small fee or charge just the airline tax fee.
Keep in mind, this doesn't mean they get their own seat. They would have to be strapped into a bassinet (cot).
This may sound spectacular, but some challenges do come with this. Airlines have a limited number of cots available. You would need to book in advance for this seat, and they tend to assign these seats on a first-come-first-served basis.
For a long haul flight, try to opt for a bassinet, and if you're going on a short-haul trip, get an aisle seat at the front of the plane.
Psst… when you're going on an international flight, make sure you check out the most family-friendly airlines.
6. Babies Are Portable
Infants under the age of one are easily portable – whether traveling or sitting at home. They are easy to move around with a sling or a stroller. However, in retrospect, sometimes a stroller can get in the way of things when you're walking through busy crowds.
Your baby is as portable with you as if you were alone. Go hiking, move through busy crowds, or run through airports with them stuck on your chest in a front pack. They are undoubtedly mobile.
Cons of Traveling with a Baby
Where there are positives, there are some negatives. We all know that babies can be difficult, and tiring.
And sometimes, leaving your comfort zone and your wider support system can be really daunting when you have a baby on the hip. So it’s important to weigh up these cons of traveling with a baby.
1. It’s Tiring
If your baby isn’t much of a napper, it can be exhausting to travel with him/her. For longer trips, jet lag can be a killer. Having little sleep certainly won't leave you with much relaxing time.
2. A Lack of Routine May Upset Your Baby
It’s essential to stick to routines, feeding, and sleeping schedules. Sticking to their plans while you travel with them won’t allow you to fit as much as you want to do in your day.
3. There’s Bound to be Too Much Luggage
Wherever you go when traveling with a baby, you need to bring along extra things to pack and lug about such as nappies, bottles, toys, and baby food.
Tip: You might be interested to check out our favorite beach gear for your baby.
4. They May Get Sick – Away From the Family doctor
No parent ever wants their child to get sick, and throwing a cold or any sickness into the mix can make your travel plans unbearable.
Also, babies are susceptible to all sorts of germs found in public places. You certainly don't want to have a sick baby in an unknown place.
Parents should take particular precautions when traveling with their little ones. Pack or buy wipes and lots of them. They are great for multiple purposes; they soak spit-up, clean sticky hands and faces, serve as toilet paper (don't flush them down), and serve their intended duty.
Tip: Check out our favorite travel diaper bag here.
5. Traveling Can Take On a Slower Pace
Traveling around with the family making memories is exciting, but try not to cram too much into your fun-filled days.
You'll end up feeling frazzled! And you may end up disappointed when plans are changed by an unhappy infant.
6. There’s A Lot of Running After Them Involved
When your baby isn’t crawling yet, you won’t have to fret much about her stumbling down an ungated flight of stairs or sticking her fingers in an uncovered plug outlet.
Toddlers, on the other hand, are an entirely new ballgame. They are challenging enough at home, let alone traveling.
The best age to travel with an infant – does it get easier?
There are millions of traveling parents who worry about whether or not they will manage. Here's a short guide on what's the best and worst ages to fly with a baby up to 2 years.
0 – 3 months
Traveling with a 1-month-old infant can be challenging. Infants are often colicky and have disruptive sleeping patterns at this age. Making it difficult for everyone, including yourself, to travel with.
3 – 9 months
This is a fabulous age to fly with. They are easy-going, sleep a lot and aren't so mobile at this age. Your baby will still be nursing and taking bottles regularly, making meal prep easy, too.
9 – 12 months
During these months, your child will likely learn to start crawling, and things begin to get a bit more challenging. But certainly still very do-able.
If you have an active child that squirms out of your arms during trips, we highly recommend that you buy a seat for them.
12 – 18 months
At one year old, your child begins to start walking, yet is too young to follow instructions (or understand instructions).
This is the age of divine distraction and bribery. When you're traveling, take a variety of toys, snacks, and books, enough to deal with their attention span
18 – 24 months
Things continue with the challenge of a now fully mobile toddler. Though, being a bit older, discipline is more effective and the use of good or bad salutation.
Take along an iPad or DVD player or some travel accessories for distraction when you’re traveling with a 2-month-old.
Is it hard to travel with a baby? (Recap)
Traveling with a baby can present its own challenges, especially if it is your first time. Of course, you will face hurdles, but it can be really rewarding too.
Your infant's age and the stage they are going through will give you its own unique obstacle – whether you are traveling or not.
As you travel more with your children from early on, it also instils an early fondness for travel. Travel with your baby at any age and look forward to taking more adventurous trips with them as they grow.
Adventures certainly bring the family together as a unit and have an untold number of benefits for development. What's your next family trip with little peanut?