Summer is often an exciting time to explore your city, country, or the world with little ones in tow. Warm summer weather offers plenty of options for activities to do outdoors with babies or toddlers, such as hiking, cycling, and swimming. However, if it’s your first time traveling with a little one, you might have concerns about what to bring and how to make the summer travel successful.
Traveling with a baby might be challenging, especially for new parents, but very rewarding. You don’t have to miss out on summer vacation if you have a little one. Following these tips and making timely preparations can make your travel with a baby or toddler easy and hassle-free.
Here are some tips for safe and comfortable summer travel with your baby or toddler easy and hassle-free.
- Pack a baby stroller
A baby stroller can make life much easier, especially when navigating train or airport stations with your baby in tow. Even if you have a baby carrier, it’s wise to get an umbrella stroller in case your flight is delayed or your little loved one gets fussy.
Strollers typically come with a canopy, but they can be lacking in providing your baby with cool and fresh air. You can invest in a baby fan from Diono that will perfectly fit your stroller, keeping the baby cool during daytime naps and mild summer nights. Besides cooling from the oscillating fan, your baby will enjoy the soft noise or watching the fan movement.
- Pack essentials for the baby
Certain items are very useful for babies, whether traveling by plane or car. While you should consider investing in a backpack diaper bag, it should be stocked with a few extras, especially if you are flying. A short list of these essentials includes diapers, extra clothes, medication your baby needs, wipes, and extra bibs.
In addition, choose and pack one or two of the baby’s favorite toys and books. There should be plenty to do and see to keep the little one engaged on the route and at your destination.
- Carry some food and snacks
Food is essential for little ones, whether you are breastfeeding or giving formula. If your baby is formula fed, stock a good amount of the formula just in case you don’t find it at your destination. Babies have a high sense of taste, and they may not like a different formula from that which they are used to. If the baby is one to two years old, carry some ready-to-eat low-calorie food that you can mix with hot water and feed on the trip anytime.
If you are breastfeeding, consider the potential proximity to strangers. If you need one, bring an additional blanket or cover to make yourself feel more comfortable. Remember to carry a hot water thermos and keep it constantly replenished. It will help prepare formula for your baby.
- Plan for both indoor and outdoor activities
There are plenty of outdoor summer activities, including outdoor concerts, parks, festivals, beaches, and other kid-oriented activities, such as biking and hiking with a baby in tow. However, to escape the extreme summer heat, it’s always wise to plan some indoor backup activities. Look for kid’s museums, indoor water parks, pools, or indoor markets as alternative options in case the weather gets too extreme.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen
Babies have very sensitive skin, so applying sunscreen is key to protecting them from harmful UV rays, which can cause rashes, sunburns, and eventually skin cancer. Choose a natural sunscreen that is free of harmful chemicals, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Apply the sunscreen generously every two hours, or more often if your baby is sweating or swimming.
In addition to sunscreen, pack hats, long-sleeved shirts, and pants made of lightweight fabric to protect your baby’s skin from the sun. Dress babies in loose clothing so they don’t get too hot.
- Bring first-aid supplies
No matter where you are traveling, it’s essential to pack a small first-aid kit for your baby or toddler. Include items such as bandages, antibiotic ointment, children’s acetaminophen, a thermometer, and any other medications your child takes regularly. If you have space in your diaper bag or stroller basket, consider packing additional supplies such as bug spray and sunscreen wipes. If you are traveling internationally, check with the CDC to see if there are any recommended vaccinations for babies or toddlers in the country you will be visiting.
- Keep your baby hydrated
Babies need to drink plenty of fluids, especially in hot weather. If you are breastfeeding, offer the breast more often than usual. For formula-fed babies, bring along enough formula for the trip, as well as some extra just in case. In addition, pack a few bottles of water to give your baby or toddler throughout the day.
- Make sure your baby is comfortable
When traveling with a baby or toddler, comfort should be a top priority. To ensure your little one is comfortable during the journey, bring along a soft blankie or toy, and consider using a car seat mirror so you can easily keep an eye on your rear-facing baby while driving. If you are flying, request a bassinet seat for your baby, and bring along a small pillow and blanket to make the space more comfortable.
- Consider your lodging options carefully
When booking a hotel room, make sure to request a crib or pack-n-play in advance. If you are traveling with a toddler, consider renting a condo or house rather than staying in a hotel, as this will give you more space and allow your toddler to move around freely. If you are staying with family or friends, find out in advance if there are any stairs or other potential hazards in the home.
- Have patience
No matter how well you plan, there will likely be some bumps in the road when traveling with a baby or toddler. The key is to remain calm and patient. Bring along some snacks and drinks for yourself, so you don’t get hangry (hangry = angry + hungry), and take breaks often to avoid getting too frazzled. If all else fails, remember that this trip is temporary and it will soon be over. Enjoy the moments – good and bad – because they won’t last forever!
The best way to ensure a smooth and stress-free trip is to take your time and not try to do too much in one day. If possible, plan for some down time each day, whether it’s taking a nap in the afternoon or spending an hour at the pool. Remember, the goal is to relax and enjoy your summer vacation, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to see and do everything. Just sit back, relax, and savor the memories you’re making with your family.