Traveling with a mobile baby, oh and a pandemic and kids
Finally getting around to this! I wanted to really reflect on everything and provide the most important information (in my opinion) as I could. So here goes! Thanks for riding this wave with me you guys!! Feel free to ask me anything after reading this over!
Thought I would break it down into categories. I did this in my previous travel post, and I think it made things easier.
FOR THE FLIGHT
-try to plan flights around nap times. If you can't, then adjust. For example, our flight was at 11:30am. Eriela naps at 10 am. So, I had her nap right away on the first flight. She slept from 12-1 and then I proceeded with regular feeding routine as if she had done her normal first nap.
-Second flight had her sleep again, also about 45 minutes around her second nap time.
-Tip on napping baby on a flight. Bring a wrap, baby carrier etc where you can put her in it while sitting. Basically any wrap that forces her to stay in one spot, close to you where her arms and legs are essentially pinned down. Because we have been doing this for some time, she actually rarely fights me on it now, but at first, she would fight for about 5 minutes, get really tired and pass out for a nap. Works every single time. Some days there is more crying than others but eventually she will fall asleep. I also bring her favorite lovey to lay her head on and while I don't allow her to sleep with a pacifier at home, I do let her on the plane as it helps soothe her.
-When you arrive at your destination, put her down right away. Do her normal bedtime routine if you can and I promise she will sleep.
-Also remember all kids under 2 do not need a seat.
-Bring a lot! Some of our airplane go to snacks are cheerios, any hard breadstick, teething cookies, cut up fruit, a banana with a spoon to scoop it out on command, rice cakes.
-Because she is older now, I packed her lunch in a bento box. This made it fun for her and entertaining which took up some time! She could pick out what she wanted to eat and also having the lid attached made it an easy thing to travel with.
-This time around we traveled with age appropriate formula. We used this travel cup/measurer (see photo) where we measured out the exact scoops of each feeding. Then I brought 2 empty bottles and asked the airplane for hot water. This way, when going through security you don't have to stop and have them examine your liquids.
-Same idea for a sippy cup. Bring an empty one and add water once you pass security. Major time saver.
-Eriela is odd and will not watch movies or iPads. If yours does, do it, let them watch on the airplane. In fact, my 10 year old twins know that the airplane is the place they're allowed to watch a lot of movies or have iPad time. And then we make it very clear that when we land or at home those do not get used. We've set that rule in for a while and it still works!
-For the toddler, books! Small board books are great, their favorite toy and anything they can press buttons on. Poppits have been a great toy, easy and light and if we loose them it's not a big deal.
-Find a light stroller to take with you. Don't try to carry baby through the airport. Put her in the stroller until the second you have to fold it up. I suggest a ver compact one so that you can store it in the overhead bins. The times we didn't do that we had to wait over 20min for the crew to get the stroller from the bottom of the airplane before leaving the plane. That was a nightmare. So now we always store it above and immediately open it up and go the minute we exit the plane.
-Everything else, RENT IT. There are baby gear rental companies all over the world. I've been doing this since the twins were 10. The companies drop off the gear wherever you are staying (and most hotels or air&b's help coordinate) and will pick the gear up on your last day. By gear I mean anything (cribs, high chairs, toys, diaper genes, bath tubs...).
-Flying internationally you will need to have a passport for your baby. USPS has a great step by step process that makes it pretty easy to get. You will just need to take a passport photo of your baby, which there are apps for, or go to a drugstore, most do it there. It makes the process at USPS easier if you have everything ready to go for them
-From experience, keep a copy of their birth certificates in your phone. You shouldn't need it, however we learned that it's better to be safe than sorry.
-As of right now, you need to take a covid test, and make sure it's negative, to enter back into the states. Every country has their own regulations in terms of traveling to them, so make sure you research this before traveling so that you can be prepared and plan for the time it will take to do this. Again, babies under 2 are not always required so double check. Hotels typically know how to help here and many, from experience, have a testing company on site and can help coordinate it for you right there in the hotel!
-Masks are required on the flight and airports at all times for anyone over 2.
-We have been asked to show our vaccine cards randomly in Mexico, they're not required but make sure you find out if you need to be vaccinated to travel to certain places.
A few things that I did differently this time around and/or figured out from past trips.
-A few of you recommended a traveling drying rack! I got one and it was a game changer. I found mine on Amazon.
-I asked the hotel for dish soap (baby gear company might also have it) and kept that by one of the sinks. I made one sink specific to cleaning bottles and baby dishes.
-We didn't have a bottle warmer this time so I turned on the hot water in the sink and sat the bottle in there to warm up (when I used milk/almond milk etc)
-For the formula, I used hot water from the coffee maker (we had Nespresso machines in the rooms) and added some bottled water to it to make sure it wasn't too hot. Then added the baby formula, made for a very quick bottle!
-On that note, we traveled with formula so that I didn't have to worry about different brands of milks as we traveled internationally. I didn't want to risk Eriela not liking the milk and or having a reaction to something new while on vacation.
-Traveled with one of her silicone bowls and bibs and spoon to have familiarity for her.
-Brought a few small tupperwear to keep food in the mini fridge (make sure you request a mini fridge for your room if they are not already there).
-Since we would order room service for breakfast, I would save leftovers in the containers so that I could give them to her the next morning since she eats way before the rest of us do. basically any leftover food that she liked I saved so that we could have snacks handy and not have to wait for room service or restaurants to make the food.
-I brought a lot of her favorite snacks and cheerios of course which helped when she was fussy or didn't seem to want to eat much (again the familiarity of usual snacks helps soothe them too).
-Some foods I would order for her that were easy were
-guacamole no onions
-pita bread or any bread
-like I mentioned above, I rented all of the baby gear. This included:
-pack n play
**I brought my own sound machine. I have an extra one I only travel with that way I'm never worried if I lose it as to what would I do when we get home late at night. She has a specific one she likes and its easy to travel with BUT baby gear companies have some for rent too.
-I bathed her in one of the sinks since it was pretty big.
-I also always bring travel size items of all her soaps and lotions since I don't know how she will react to the hotel's products. These included:
-aquaphor for dru skin
-diaper rash cream
**and always pack infant and children's Tylenol, Benadryl, teething remedies, cough syrup and syringes especially when traveling internationally where I wouldn't be able to find these products as easily.
Some other items I brought with me were:
-extra long phone charger
-protable fan for baby's room
-stand for camera/baby monitor
(downloaded this on an extra iphone)
-pack n play crib sheet
-I typically try to get a hotel room that either has a separate room for her (as she is used to sleeping alone, in the dark with her sound machine.
-Always ask if they hav blackout shades (or whatever works for your baby) to make sure you can provide a very similar sleeping arrangement.
-Elizabeth at @modernfamily_travels suggested this tent which goes over the pack and play. They swear by it and we got it this time, as a back up, as we were not too familiar with the room set up. We didn't end up using it but it's a good option if you have to have baby in your room or need a black out space.
**STAY ON YOUR TIME ZONE. If you can, this helps a lot with easy transitions back home. For example, if where you are traveling is two hours ahead, pretend like you are on your own time zone if you can, this way baby doesn't have to adjust and coming back home won't be an adjustment either. We ALWAYS do this unless the trip is longer than a week. You can even adjust a bit, we were three hours ahead but that seems a bit much to not change the time by 3 hours. SO we pretended we were only two hours difference, which meant there was only an hour Eriela had to adjust, an hour is not much and usually easy since that first night everyone is exhausted anyway.
**for example. We put her to bed at 8:45pm Cancun time, which for us, because i adjusted our time to a 2 hour difference instead of 3, was 6:45pm. Our body clocks were the same as hers so we would go to dinner after putting her down. She would wake up at 9am Cancun time which was 7am our time!
**We did not take Lupita, our nanny, with us this time. However, since having Eriela, we have taken her in order to have time with the older girls.
-A lot of resorts have kids clubs. Usually a safe place with trained staff that plays with children, does arts and crafts and whatever else the hotel has to offer. Our 10 y/o twins love these places! They typically take kids ages 2 and up however that is something you can ask the hotel prior to your arrival
-A lot of resorts also have in room childcare. We had a babysitter, who was a hotel employee, come every evening after I put the baby to sleep so that we could go out to dinner wither with the twins or without them.
Traveling back home
-Baby gear company comes to pick up the equipment you rented (and usually works with the hotel directly to schedule that).
-Ask for a car service in advance (hotel usually provides this service) and a car seat if you didn't bring one
-Double check a few days before leaving if and when you need to schedule a covid/pcr test in order to have the results in time for travel
-I also packed food in Eriela's bento box for the flights home. Since I never know what I can get in the airport and/or how much time we will have, I like to travel with plenty of snacks for her
-I also re filled the travel formula container for the ride home and once again took two empty bottles with me to fill for her feedings.
A big takeaway from traveling is to always trust your kids, give them more credit because I promise they will surprise you. And while traveling with babies or kids seems daunting, once you take the plunge I guarantee you will want to do it again. Kids are very adaptable and I think as adults we forget that! Hope this helped a little!