Any plans of traveling with a baby should bring with itself a set of nightmares only parents can relate to. It means being prepared for any uncertainties. However, if you are a parent to a toddler or an older kid, you would have realized by now that it is also the easiest phase to travel. This is a time when the baby stays put in the seat or in your lap and doesn’t get excited about every little thing he sets his eyes on. All you need is a little bit of preparation in advance and you and your little one are all set to travel.
I have traveled quite a bit with my baby right from the time she turned 4 months old. In fact I have traveled with her alone a couple of times when she was around 8-9 months old. And I am this over-anxious person who hates uncertainties. However, I think I am also pretty organized. So if I can manage to do this alone, I believe any one can. With that bit of experience under my wings, I can say there are some pointers that will help you have a smooth trip.
1# Mode of Travel
The first thing to know is what is the mode of travel that you are using for wherever you are traveling. How many hours would you be on the road or up in the air (literally!)? If you are flying, then the baby might feel flustered due to the lack of space and the closed confines. It would be good to carry a tablet with his favorite cartoons or music, a couple of pacifiers (you do not want to drop one at the beginning of the trip and be pacifier less for the rest of the trip), his favorite snacks and bottles of formula. Keep medication handy on the flight itself. Carry a change of clothes not just for him but for yourself. You do not want to smell of puke/poop/pee to others.
2# Place of Stay
Ask the hotel staff for a crib and baby toiletries in advance. if there is no crib where you are staying then go for a large family bed. Prefer a family suite so there is enough space. At the time of booking, keep in mind that the place where you stay is baby friendly. Staying in a jungle resort where there are mosquitoes in abundance is not a good idea. Once in the hotel room, set up your baby counter so you do not have to rummage through your suitcases every time.
How you pack is going to define how easy your trip is going to be. Keep baby stuff separately so it is easy to dig into. Carry sufficient diapers, wipes or formula for the trip. Divide things like snacks and formula in separate containers for ease of carrying. Keep some empty containers, pouches, tissues and disposable cutlery with you. Check for the weather at the place of your arrival beforehand and pack clothes in accordance.
4# Baby Equipment to Carry
It is a good idea to carry some baby gear with you in order to make life a hell lot easier. If you are walking quite a bit then carry the baby stroller. Invest in one that is easier to maneuver with a single hand. A baby sling is a must for trips. It gives you free hands to carry your shopping bags! Remember also to pack baby hats, mosquito nets and patches. Invest in a large diaper bag that can carry all your baby stuff like milk, snacks, diapers, wipes, toys and more as well as some of your stuff like wallet, phone etc. There is no way you are carrying a hand bag with it! Get a car seat that faces rear if you are traveling by road. Carry sun shields so your baby does not have to face strong sun rays.
Most importantly, be ready for things not going according to plan sometimes. Think of plan Bs. Be ready to walk your baby on the aisle or to ask a fellow passenger to hold your bag for you. I have always found enough people helping me out when I am traveling alone with the baby without even asking for help.