Top Tips for Travelling with Baby
Travelling with baby is a whole new experience, and it can be pretty daunting, but we (and our brilliant Ergobaby community) are here to help! We’ve combined our 19 years of baby travel experience with your parenting know-how to compile the ultimate guide to travelling with your little one/s!
At lot of these tips assume you’re getting a plane or train to your destination but most are the same no matter where you’re going or how you get there. Take a read through and we’d love to know if you try any of these on your next trip!
Before You Go
Speak to the airport and your airline in advance to find out what family friendly policies they have to help make your trip easier. Some airlines have specially designated family check in desks, priority lanes, speedy boarding and more to help make life easier for parents and we thoroughly recommend making the most of all of them. And on that note, make sure you check out the airport’s baby change facilities in advance too, trust us when we say changing a nappy on terra firma is easier than doing it in a cramped airplane bathroom at 10,000 feet – turbulence and a poonami are a terrible combination!
And it’s worth talking to your hotel before you arrive too. Lots of hotels and resorts will have baby items you can borrow so call ahead to find out. Most hotels have travel cots or bed rails as a minimum and many even have larger items like sterilisers and offer services such as babysitting if some adult-only time is on your agenda.
Holidays seem to present far more opportunities for mess than being at home, whether it’s sticky ice cream drips or just everyday dirt from having a good time, so a few spare outfits can make all the difference. One of our community top tips was to bag each day’s clothes up into an old carrier bag or ziplock bag with a nappy, socks and a vest so you can just pull out a bag a day and know you have everything to hand, no rummaging through drawers or your case for the one pair of socks that would match today’s choice!
Another community-sourced hot tip is to split up your pack of wipes into separate packs ziplock bags. It means you can stash them in multiple places and you’re not scuppered if you lose a pack. Genius!
Bring Home With You (within reason!)
There are a few things that can really help kids adapt to new environments, from the obvious things like their favourite cuddly toy or blanket to less obvious things like plate/cutlery from home which not only helps them feel like mealtimes are more familiar but also saves you having a desperate scramble for a baby-sized fork or having to resort to hands only (not a problem if you’re happy with it but it can get messy!) at every restaurant. You could also consider taking your own car seat with you. It can go on the plane with you – on baby’s seat if they have one and if it’s airplane compatible – or you can put it in the hold (with LOTS of padding) which can be easier and potentially safer than hiring one if you’re hiring a car.
At the Airport
Pack Your Baby Carrier (of course!)
Unsurprisingly, number one on our list of things to have close to hand is your trusty baby carrier! Not only does it keep baby safe and close in busy airports or new locations, giving them the comfort and security of being up high and close to you, it’s got all the practical benefits of babywearing at home and more. For example, you can wear baby through security at some airports, ask the staff when you get to the scanners what their policy is, and it’s much easier to keep track of lots of bags if baby is safely stowed on your front or back.
Know The Rules
As well as maybe being able to wear baby through security, in almost all airports you can take milk or food pouches through security that exceed the 100ml limit. Speak to staff when you get to security, normally they go through the scanners on a separate tray and are returned to you on the other side. Alternatively, if you’ll need formula etc. but don’t want to carry it? Check if your airport/station has a boots or similar pharmacy, as they might allow click and collect orders for formula, nappies, wipes, over the counter medicines etc. to save carrying it in your hand luggage.
On The Plane
Keep Your Stroller With You
Whilst most airlines let you check your stroller in for free (generally they have a policy of up to two baby items such as travel cot, stroller, car seat etc. you can take alongside your baggage allowance) but you then won’t get it back until you collect your luggage so taking it on board as hand luggage if it folds small enough can be really handy, particularly if you have a long wait at immigration or baggage claim at the other side. Our Metro+ folds to 54 x 44 x 25 cm which is small enough for most airline’s cabin bag policy (check with them before you fly) which means you can keep it with you for whenever you might need it.
Food Food Food
Most of our tips for while your on the plane revolve around food! If baby is breast/chestfed or if it would be an appropriate time/possible for them to have a bottle then feeding them on take off and landing can help them equalise the pressure in their ears. For older kids a snack to chew and swallow, or a drink to sip can help. Then when you’re in the air… SNACKS. Try serving lots of different foods in a large pill organiser or similar to make it a fun experience and keep them entertained. But whatever you do you can’t have too many!
However if your little one is prone to sickness then maybe go easy on the snacks and stick to things that will be gentle on their tummy. One of our community suggested bringing a stack of single party cups to catch vomit on a plane, paper bags are hard to use with babies and many don’t like them!
As well as endless snacks, some new toys can be a great way to keep kids entertained for longer than usual if it’s within your budget to find some. We love anything that involves thinking or puzzling something out as well as one without too many small pieces or any mess! Window gel clings, water doodle pads, magnetic blocks, Montessori puzzles, a travel-sized busy board – all things we’ve used to great effect on flights recently. And of course if you need to break your usual screen time rules then that’s absolutely okay, do what you need and don’t feel bad.
And a last bonus tip – don’t forget if you need to move about the cabin (when you’re allowed to do so) your carrier can help you navigate the narrow aisles with baby held safely and your hands free.
At Your Destination
Pick The Right Stroller
No matter where you’re visiting, a compact, comfortable stroller is a must. Ideally it should lay flat for naps on the go, have a large enough sunshade to offer baby adequate protection if they’ll be out in the sunshine and of course have plenty of storage space for yours and baby’s essentials. Our Metro+ stroller does all this and more in one tiny, ultra-padded package!
Lots of you also recommended an approved shade for the stroller, something to help baby snooze that is safer than draping fabric over the stroller which can cause baby to heat up. Your other must-have pram accessories? A clip-on fan (and spare batteries or if they’re rechargeable then a spare fan so you can use one while the other charges) and a support bar to attach it to. Our Metro+ stroller also comes with a rain cover for wetter days and you can purchase a separate carry bag to turn your stroller into a rucksack for handy transportation when not in use. And don’t forget to check out our new colour pop sunshades to give your stroller a holiday makeover, check out our Sea Glass colour way below.
Then once you reach your destination its large storage basket, UPF 50 sunshade, lie-flat seat (with mesh back panel option for airflow), adjustable footrest, and lots and LOTS of padding make it a comfortable and super handy option for wherever your adventures take you.
Babywearing To The Rescue!
But of course there are some places strollers can’t go or some times that only the safety and security of your arms will do… so always pack your carrier! Having baby in the carrier means you can really explore together, they get a first class view and you can interact with them, talking about what you can see, smell touch etc.
One of our mesh fabric carriers are a great choice for holidays in warmer climates, our Embrace, Adapt, 360 and Omni models all have mesh fabric options while our Aerloom carrier is cut from one piece of FormaKnit, a streamlined, cool fabric made from post-consumer recycled polyester so it’s good for baby and the environment! No matter what carrier you have though do check out our top tips for summer babywearing to help keep you and baby cool and comfortable.
Our Adapt, 360 and Omni models all have a built in hood to protect baby from the sun and they have varying amounts of storage for your essentials too. The Omni even has a removable pouch alongside further pockets on the carrier’s waistband.
A top tip if you have more than one little one, having one in the stroller and one in the carrier at any time means you don’t need to bring two of each with you! Our Omni carriers are suitable from newborn (7lbs) to 20kg and our Metro+ is also suitable from newborn up to 22kg or 4 years old (whichever comes first) making them a dream team in any combination for almost any age little ones.
Keep The Routine
One tip that we found makes a real difference (and was one of our most-submitted tips from you guys) is keeping baby’s bedtime routine the same as much as possible to help them adapt and help you all get a good night’s sleep. One way to keep things as home-ly as possible on the move is to use a sleeping bag that has come from home and is part of your normal routine. Not only does the routine help baby but the comforting feel and smell of their sleeping bag will too. And the best part? Our sleeping bags have special slots for harnesses, so whether you’ve got a late night / early morning drive or you need baby to sleep in their stroller you can keep them in their sleeping bag the whole time. Make sure you pick the right TOG or weight sleeping bag for your destination, we have lightweight ().5TOG) bags for warmer climates through to our cosy (2.5TOG) weight bags for chillier locations. And for super mobile little ones? Our On The Move Sleeping Bags also allow you to pop little one’s feet out the bottom, brilliant for when you want to get them ready for bed but there’s still time for play!
Hopefully this has helped you feel more prepared for travelling with your little one and if you have any top travel tips we’d love to hear them! You can get in touch via Instagram or Facebook at @ergobabyuk!