THE CONTENTS OF YOUR CARRY ON
If you've checked a bag, pack enough baby stuff to get by for a day or two that way if the checked bag gets lost it’s no big deal. We’re all about reducing the likelihood for moments of stress and panic on trips! For long trips we carry on a large zippered tote and for shorter trips our carryall. It's always wise to pack the workhorse items that can serve multiple functions, things like a swaddle (blanket, soft surface to change your kid, etc.) and coconut oil (makeup remover, moisturizer, nipple salve, etc.). Go ahead and pack an extra shirt for yourself just in case all hell breaks loose and your baby vomits or poops on you.
Load up on the snacks and bottles/boob for the flight. It is the best distraction for little ones on a plane. If your babe is small, pack a couple of books and skip the toys until they’re > 1. If you can't resist a toy or two, bring one your kid has never seen before for maximum excitement and distraction.
Fact: babies love pooping on planes. It is a thing. Put your babe in a fresh diaper right before you board to *fingers crossed* avoid a blowout and buy yourself time if you can’t get to the bathroom right away. Changing tables are typically in the bathroom at the back of the plane and ridiculously tiny so we always bring along our Kit Bag packed with a couple of diapers, wipes, an extra set of clothes, and dog poop bags so you don’t leave festering stinky diapers hanging in the trash to torture all the other passengers. Having an easy-to-grab bag with all your gear really cuts down on the new parent stress of having to diaper a grumpy baby on the fly, mid-flight (or anywhere else for that matter).
In those moments where your child goes dark (and this *will* happen) take a walk in the aisle (or spirit the little one away to the bathroom for a few minutes) and remind yourself that babies cry and that at the end of the day you're likely never going to see any your fellow passengers again. Let any disgruntled stares or negative commentary just roll off your back.
// THIS MAY BE AN EASY ONE, BUT GIVING THE BOTTLE/BOOB/PACIFIER CAN HELP ALLEVIATE THE PAIN THAT SOME LITTLE ONES HAVE WITH THEIR EARS DURING TAKE OFF AND LANDING. //
4. SCHEDULE / ODDS & ENDS
For short trips less than 3 days with a time difference < 4 hours, stick to your home time zone and schedule. For example, if you're a west coaster and on the east coast for a long weekend put the babe to bed 3 hours later than normal (aka 7pm PST bedtime becomes 10pm EST). Note: this works better going west to east so you’ll prob want to adjust a little if headed in the opposite direction so you’re not waking up at 4am.
For longer trips or trips with a large time difference, do your best to immediately acclimate your baby to the new time zone. The first 12-24 hours are always a little rough, but try to be strict about bedtime (e.g. putting the kid down or keeping them up depending on the new time zone) and then more flexible about daytime naps as they get their bearings. Sunshine and the outdoors really help while everyone's getting adjusted.
For childcare while traveling you've got a couple options: ask friends/travel companions to watch the babe for a night, trade-off with your partner for free time, or book a babysitter through a hotel (if you're staying in one) or an online service like Care.com. Pro-tip: do Skype interviews with sitters before your arrival so you feel confident and carefree leaving your babe with someone new.
FOOD + REST = SANITY
Parents? Hi, it's us. Just a gentle reminder to take it easy on yourselves. Yes, you want to make the most of your travels, they are expensive and who knows how often they happen. But don't punish yourself with an overly aggressive itinerary. Take it slow, take breaks, miss a few things you may have hoped to see along the way. Exhausted children and partners can be cranky and dragging them around in that condition will be less enjoyable for everyone. Also, don't forget to feed yourselves. A well-fueled crew is essential to maintaining chill travel vibes. And eating is half (ALL) the fun anyway, right? I mean, what did we even come here for?