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!

53 Comments

  • Angeline
    Hello Dear Green Kitchen! Thank you for your wonderful blog and delicious recipes! I would like to know which brand its your suitcase... looks very nice! Thanks,
  • Loes
    Hi Luise and David, Thanks for this great post! In three weeks, we're heading to Thailand with our 8 month old daughter Pia. We're staying there for a month. We still have to decide where to go. Looking for a not too touristy island, and would like to stay in a bungalow right at the beach. Have you got advice on what's a good island perhaps, or tips for accommodation you liked? Thanks! Loes
  • You know how children only play with new toys for a while before moving on? Well the same thing applies to all the “special” toys they want to put in their backpacks. DO give them the choice, give them some control Let them pick a few special toys that they can’t travel without, but maybe limit it to a small bag each. Edit as much as you can.
  • pushpa
    Hi I need a suggestion that i want to travel with a baby of 5 months to france.what are the precautions i have to take.how can i protect my baby with cold weather
  • Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading? I'm trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  • Julia
    Hi! Not sure if you read comments on older posts. I am a new mom with a four month old baby boy so I am re-reading your blog, paying more attention to the posts about Elsa than I did a few years ago! Many great ideas here for feeding my baby when he stops nursing. Any ideas on how to get babies sleeping so well as Elsa when abroad? Currently my baby wakes up at least three to four times during the night. We are traveling in a month and I dread the sleep depravation... Best regards Julia
  • Hey! I know this is kinda off topic however I'd figured I'd ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My site addresses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you might be interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!
  • Sushmita
    Hi.... It's great what you've written n extremely helpful as we also plan on taking a trip internationally with our 7month old daughter....jus wanted to know if they allow water in the feeding bottle to make the formula for babies in the plane....thanks
    • Hi Sushimita, yes they do allow baby food and feeding bottles (both full and empty) on the plane. You can of course also bring an empty bottle on board and ask the flight attendants for hot water before take-off. Good luck with your trip! /David
  • This is a great list! Please add it to the linky tool to keep more Moms informed. http://charlie-the-cavalier.blogspot.com/2013/01/50-thing-you-should-know-before-having.html
  • de
    This post and the comments were very enjoyable. Except of course there is at least one judgmental person on every blog who feels qualified to pass sentence on others' choices. If you didn't feel comfortable nursing in unfamiliar cultures for any reason, that is your business. Formula never killed a baby that I know of.
  • Ioana
    I recently discovered your site and loooove it! We also have a 3 year old daughter which we try to raise as healthy as possible, without sugar, processed food, medicines and whenever possible organic. It's quite a challenge in our country (Romania) to have such views and make people around (eg.kindergarten staff and other kid's parents) understand that you do not want your child to eat any sugar or synthetic sweeteners, that you treat her mainly with homeopathic remedies..etc. Sometimes it can be very discouraging. Anyway, I just read this post and I think all your advice for traveling with a baby is just great and it's also great you managed to write it down and encourage other parents. We also traveled with our daughter to Mauritius for 2 months, when she was 1 year old and it was such a great experience for all of us. After reading your tips I can say that they are perfectly true and they brought up a lot of nice and really funny memories (like hiking with Maia in the Ergo in a natural reserve or dining at 6 pm :) I find a lot of inspiration and encouragement in your stories and recipes and appreciate your efforts of trying to share with others the great things you do!
  • Som
    I'm so glad to read about you were happy about your trip to Thailand.As a native Thai, I am always surprised by how foreigners seem to fall in live with the country. When you were here, did you ever get a chance to go to the floating markets around the central region? There are hundreds around and the food is amazing! Most will even make special dishes we you ask them.
  • Gianna
    I was surprised to read that you stopped breastfeeding during the trip - what could be more convenient and healthy than breastmilk? The WHO recommends breastfeeding AT LEAST until two years of age and you should always ask yourself if the food you are replacing breastmilk with is better - the porridge from Hipp is nowhere near breastmilk in nutrition. Disappointed, coming from bloggers I thought where more conscious about nutrition.
  • Sarah
    Hi! I am just wondering if you use a travel crib/pack n play when you travel and if so, which one? Thank you!
  • Hi, I love your blog, such clean beautiful recipes and love your pictures! I have question about bug spray. I am living in Costa Rica for the next few months and the mosquitos are horrible. I have tried all natural non-toxic sprays, however, I am still getting eaten alive. I'm about to resort to Off- DEET, because I have no other choice. I can't believe I have gotten to this point- any advice or other options? Thanks!!
  • Camille
    Thank you so much for the list of places in Stockholm.We will check them out (especially the café with the playground!) I have made a note of the Resque cream and the citronella oil. Great tips!
  • Camille
    Thank you! I have bookmarked this post in my favourites! We are actually going to Stockholm next month for a weekend with our 9 month old baby.We are really looking forward to it! We are planning to go to Vietnam next year. Our son will be 20 month old.I wanted to know how you dealt with mosquito bites. Did Elsa get any?
    • Hi Camille! Stockholm is fantastic and so beautiful in June! You should try 3 of our favorite baby places; Bokslukaren, (in Södermalm) a wonderful book café for children. Baby revolution , (in Kungsholmen) an amazing store and café with indoor playground. Vasaparkens lekplats (in Vasastan) is also and outstanding outdoor playground. Vietnam is one of our favorite places! Elsa got some bites, but we sprayed her clothes with citronella oil, you can by it on local farmacia. We used Resque cream from Bach flower remedies on the bites. We also had a mosquito net for our bed. You can email me if you have any questions. Safe travels! /Luise
  • Jannie
    What kind of baby watcher did you use? I can't seem to find one other than this one: http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Crying-Detector-Parental-Alarm/dp/B001BU0184/ref=lh_ni_t Thanks a lot.
  • Jannie
    These travel trips are fabulous. I am getting ready for a trip to Italy where we'll be taking trains, planes and ferries with our little 8 month old. Thank you so much for posting this!
  • Lael
    Thanks for all the wonderful, informative advice. My husband, 7 month old and I are about the embark on a trip to Europe and this entry calmed my nerves. I agree with always carrying snacks with you - I breastfeed, but sometimes she needs more!

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