15 Tips for Traveling with a Baby

After soon six months of traveling around the world with our daughter, we have learned a few tricks how to keep her happy, calm and safe. Throughout this trip a lot of people have told us that they would never dare to bring their babies with them on holiday. It is true that traveling with a baby is more challenging than it was pre-baby. But if you give them lots of love, and remember to put your baby’s needs first, you will end up having an amazing trip.

When we started our journey Elsa was seven months old. She was both nursing and had started eating small portions of processed food. During the trip she stopped nursing and now she eats almost the same as us (minus the chili). We started with 2,5 months in U.S. and then went to China, Vietnam and Thailand. Our focus in this guide is on traveling in Asia, since that is more of a challenge.

PACKING

1. Can it fit in a tuc tuc?
If you plan to stay in more than one place during your trip, you will do yourself a big favor by not bringing all the baby equipment and toys from home. Keep in mind that you should be able to fit all your luggage in a taxi, boat or sometimes even a tuc tuc.

2. The bare necessities
Except from baby clothes, pacifiers, bottles and other obvious stuff, here are a couple of things that we have found useful on our trip:
• A Baby Carrier – we love our Ergo.
• An Umbrella Stroller – make sure it can recline completely, we use Chicco Liteway.
• A Portable Baby Chair – a great invention that you can mount to any chair.
• A Baby Watcher – so you can relax at the beach while your baby is napping.
Mosquito Net – some places already have mosquito nets, but if they don’t you’ll be happy that you brought your own. We had one big net that we put over our bed, and a small net that we put over Elsa’s stroller.
Instant porridge – you can find it in all supermarkets in Asia, but it’s hard to find the unsweetened kind that we use.

3. Just in case
Make sure that you know where to call if your baby get sick. If it’s not an emergency, a good trick is to bring your baby’s pediatrician’s number or email. It feels easier asking questions and not having to worry about language misunderstandings. We created a small natural travel pharmacy that helped us many times through our trip.

Viburcol – oral solution from Heel (Flu, Colds, Fevers, Minor Infections, Colic)
Ferrum phosphoricum pearls (Flu, infections)
Probiotic drops from Biogaia (boost digestive and immune systems)
Traumeel cream from Heel (pain relief and skin problems, bites, rash etc.)
Resque cream from Bach flower remedies (skin problems, wounds, bites, rash etc.)
Herbal spray from Spenglersan (pain relief, immune boosting)
Citronella oil spray (non-toxic mosqiuto remedie from Asia). We spray Elsa’s clothes in the evening before she wears it, if there are many mosquito.
• Mini first aid kit
• Relief of fever suspension drops
• Oral rehydration salts

ON THE PLANE

4. Have  a bottle ready
If you don’t nurse, always have a bottle with formula (or whatever they drink) ready already when entering the plane. They should drink during take-offs and landings to help prevent ear pain.

5. New toys on the plane
You know how it always takes at least 30 minutes of waiting in the plane before take-off. These minutes can be quite challenging for parents, since babies normally don’t like to sit still with the seat belt on. We always bring tiny new toys, that we don’t show her until we are on the plane. They usually keep her occupied and sitting still during that time.

6. Don’t run out of snacks
Bring lots of snacks (fruit, hard boiled eggs, instant porridge, fruit smoothies (these from Alex & Phil are nice) or similar, rice crackers, avocado, carrots, sprouts etc.). Giving them a snack is always a good trick to prevent that they suddenly start screaming of hunger. We learned this after sitting in a traffic jam with a hungry Elsa. Nowadays we never leave home without snacks in our bag.

ACCOMODATION

7. Be picky about your place
When you have a baby you will spend a lot of extra time in your hotel room, house or bungalow. Make sure that you choose a place where you will feel comfortable. If you are on a beach vacation it might be worth finding a beach front location. That way you can have a swim and relax in the sun, while the baby is sleeping.

8. Keep them close
If you move around a lot your baby might feel a little unsafe. Always show them around when you arrive to a new place. And, if they have trouble sleeping, let them sleep in your bed. That way they will always feel safe, no matter where in the world you are.

EATING

9. Skip the menu
Even in the most remote places in Asia we found children’s menus in the restaurants, but since we don’t give Elsa any sugar, meat, pasta or white bread, we never found anything decent on them. Our best advice is to talk to the waiter or the chef (if they speak english) and explain what your baby likes. They can almost always fix something yummy, even if it is not on the menu.

10. Eat early … or late
Bringing a baby to a restaurant doesn’t have to mean trouble. Just do it on their terms. Even though it might feel a little awkward having dinner around 5-6 pm, in an half empty restaurant, that is usually your best chance of having a no cry dinner. You don’t have to wait for the food, plus there are lots of space to play on.
If you do however prefer to eat late. Give your baby something to eat at home, then put her in the stroller with a bottle and hopefully she’ll sleep while you can enjoy a quiet and romantic dinner.

11. Try the local luxuries
If your baby eats solid food, let her try fresh coconut, dragon fruit, pomelo, lychee, both as fruit and as juices. That stuff is so much better than baby crackers, bottled juices and bread.

OTHER

12. Take turns
Vacation is about relaxation, and since small babies need a lot of attention, it’s not always easy to find the time to read a book or just slumber away. We took turns on taking care of Elsa so that the other one could have an hour of total relaxation.

13. Leave your rules at home
Things are different when you travel, you run into new challenges that you haven’t faced before. Best way to handle it is trying to be open and adjustive to whatever happens. That way you can save a lot arguing and worrying. Normally we try to keep Elsa from putting stuff in her mouth, but after her first day at the beach we realized that it was impossible to stop her from “eating” the sand. And after about a week of sand eating, she finally realized that it didn’t taste very good.

14. The sweetest babysitters in the world
We almost forgot to mention the thing that is most striking when you travel in Asia. They love kids! They seriously LOVE kids! Specially in Thailand. We have never experienced anything like it before. An old man stopped his car in the middle of the road just to run out, pinch Elsa’s cheek and take a photo of her. At restaurants you often find at least five waiters volunteering to take your baby on a long tour in the kitchen, while you can enjoy your food peacefully.

15. Just do it!
Don’t be afraid of what kind of problems you could run in to. Traveling is an amazing experience, and you never end up regretting it. So what are you waiting for, start saving up, and book that trip.

If you have any more questions about traveling with a baby, feel free to ask them in a comment. We will try to answer them as soon as we can.
Safe travels!

55 Comments

  • Nadine
    Thx Luise. Sounds pretty easy. Where did you stayed in Thailand? XOXO from germany, Nadine
  • Nadine
    I love your blog. It´s so inspriring. Thanks for the tips. We have already a 4 year old son and expecting another baby-boy in summer. So we would love to do a 2month trip to Asia when the smaller one is around 7 months old. Like Elsa (such a cute little girl). We travelled already 2 years around the world without kids, but we never went with a baby to tropical countries. So I have one question? Was it a problem to get babymilk in Asia? I will not nursing. All the best to your lovely family, Nadine
    • Thank you soo much Nadine! No it was not a problem at all. In most big supermarkets they sell milk formular. We found european brands, american brands, asian brands and even goat milk formula from Australia. When we went to small islands, we just bought a big package and instant porridge on the mainland. Happy traveling! /Luise
  • Hi, I've been following your adventures for a while and thought I would let you know I've featured one of your recipes over on my blog. Thanks for the continual inspiration. :-)
  • Thank you so much for this post! I don't have kids yet, but I know that I will want to keep traveling once I do and this has given me the extra confidence needed to "just do it!" :) Thank you!!
  • Our youngest is now 5, our middle child 9 and my oldest 19. We have always traveled with our kids, no matter what their age. Often parents think it will be easier when they are older but essentially there are just different needs both of which require a little extra effort but are all well worth it. Capturing the moments and family experiences that we have thru the many vacations we have taken are memories that we will always treasure. Elsa may not remember your travels but it has made your lives richer by having that precious carefree time as a family of three creating an even closer bond. Your tips are great, makes me want to travel with a precious toddler again just to observe their wonder of it all.
  • This is fantastic advice. I love traveling and I am always worried how difficult it will be once I have children. I'll have to bookmark this, definitely.
  • Shelby
    Thank you! This is so helpful. I will be leaving soon for Ecuador from the United States for a month with my baby. Great information! I love your blog! <3
  • Thank you for writing this post David & Luise. Even if I don't have a child yet, I find all your information and tips useful. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to travel with my boyfriend and our baby soon! :)
  • Oh, I do have a question...how did you sterilize the bottles? Our sterilizer is so bulky. Thanks!
    • Hi Joey! Thank you so much for your kind words. Sterilizer was one of those things that we decided not to bring. Instead we have boiled water every night and poured it over a bowl with the bottle and pacifiers. Let it soak in the water for 5 minutes. Have a great trip and good luck! /Luise
  • I have been following you posts on your travels with Elsa and I am truly inspired! And now this fantastic post sharing all your tips so we can all duplicate the experience...thank you! We have a 15 month old daughter and we will soon be taking her on her first plane ride. I am so excited but also nervous so these tips really help! Elsa is adorable and you are such cool and lovely parents :)
  • You guys are truly amazing and inspirational! Most couples say it's quite impossible to travel with a baby...but I guess we can all learn to challenge " the impossible" . Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to write this post with such detail and enthusiasm. I will save it for the days when I have children. Hehe! xx Mimi
  • I would love to hear more about food ideas when traveling with babies. Our daughter is nearly 18 months, but we have been traveling with her for a year now (USA-Canada-Australia) and soon to Spain and France for a few weeks. She is a picky eater, but we don't allow her the same things you don't allow Elsa to eat. I would love it if you could do a post with meal ideas for kids under 2!
  • monty
    this blog is fantastic....im very pleased my friend forwarded it to me...!
  • I wholeheartedly agree - dont let a baby stop you from traveling!! We've traveled quite a bit with our almost one year old and I can say we all enjoyed it. For the baby it's so much fun to see all the new places, meet all the new people, and if you as a parent manage not to obsess with your rules or how things should be, it can be a very pleasant time for everyone. Thinking ahead what the needs of your baby are (sleeping and eating times) and planning around it, makes it a million times easier. I'm glad you had such a great time traveling! Save trip home!
  • å vilken söt bild på elsa! o kloka ord, när man läser detta önskar man att man hade valt att resa lite mer än vi gjort detta året, men det är väl aldrig försent. ni får göra en guide i hur man reser med två barn sen också ;)
  • Kai
    I loved reading your tips! Just took some time for myself after packing up for the 6th plane ride in a month. It was a nice surprise to see your topic of interest. Good to know your secrets, especially in the area of "just in case" with the 1staid. Thanks and happy travels!!
  • Wow, I don't plan on having kids for at least 10 more years, but this was a really interesting post. I often despise parents who bring their babies travelling with them but you make it sounds so doable and wonderful. Thanks for changing my mind on this!
  • Richelle
    I'm taking my 3 year old and 1 year old daughter on a trip From Alberta, Canada to Prince Edward Island, Canada this summer so these tips are greatly appreciated. It's great that you are travelling with Elsa. My husband and I went to Mexico this winter without our girls and we missed them dearly. I'm looking forward to travelling with them (even if it's more work) because kids always make experiences more fun. Happy Travels.
    • Dear Richelle! It's true, we didn't even mention that, but this trip has been so much more fun just because Elsa was with us. Have a great vacation on Prince Edward Island and hope the kids enjoy it too! /Luise
  • John
    Thanks for this post, I loved reading it. You guys have such a cool and relaxed way of parenting. Lucky Elsa!
  • You two are so amazing! Thanks for the healthy dose of reality AND the motivation to take that trip! I don't have kids yet, but your post made me feel totally fine about traveling with them.

Leave a comment