Quick note – Happy New Year, traveling families!
Thanks so much to all of you who helped make 2016 a great year for Travels with Baby. I hope that the website, Travels with Baby Tips blog or Travels with Baby guidebooks–or all of the above helped your family make extra special memories in 2016. And here’s to the adventures that lie ahead in 2017! I’m kicking of the new year with a new monthly series in addition to regular weekly travel tips. Anticipating Ages and Stages will offer insights and tips for planning travel with children from birth to five years. First up: Planning tips for travel with a baby from newborn to 3 months. Read on! (Know a friend who could use these tips? Please forward!)
As the saying goes, there is a time and place for everything. For example, a trip to New York City may be much easier while your child can still travel in her infant carrier car seat, popping in and out of taxis and a lightweight stroller frame (infant car seats that can be used without the base). And a beach vacation may be infinitely more relaxing once your child knows not to eat the sand or run headlong into the surf. But predicting the right time and place for trips with your child can be a tricky business. Especially since each child marches, crawls, and rolls over to the beat of his own drummer.
While keeping in mind that each child will develop at his own perfect pace, and with his own distinct temperament (don’t miss the series on Temperaments in Transit), here are some general guidelines for the various ages and stages of development your child may experience from birth through four years, and tips for how you might best plan your travels together.
Once you begin to feel you have your sea legs as parents, it may do you a world of good to get out of the house. You may also want to take advantage of maternity or family leave time to do some traveling.
Where to go: Weekenders not too far from home, or visits with family and friends, can be great places to begin; just be sure to read the tips and advice in Staying Safe (and Sane) with Friends and Family.
Sleep tips: Since your baby sleeps more hours of the day now than she will in the months to come, it’s an ideal time for trips that require long hours spent in the car seat—or in an airplane (ideally with an airplane bassinet or skycot; see Part V: Travels by Airplane in Travels with Baby). She also requires little space for sleeping, and may be fine sleeping next to you or in a space-saving infant travel bed (see recommended baby Travel Beds), leaving you with many options for lodgings, including smaller and more economical hotel rooms, economy train sleeper compartments (roomettes), or basic cruise ship cabins.
Other tips: Gear and feeding needs are minimal, though you will want to take into consideration that she’ll need to be breast- or bottle-fed and diapered frequently. The travel wardrobe couldn’t be simpler. No shirt, no shoes, no problem—just pack plenty of footed cotton playsuits, and some extra layers for warmth.
Be aware: Mosquito repellent and sunscreens are not recommended for infants this young, so choose a suitable destination or plan carefully if sun or mosquitoes will be a concern (for more advice, see “Managing Mosquitoes” and “Having Fun in [Spite of] the Sun” in Part III: Special Considerations of Travels with Baby). You may want to delay travel to underdeveloped destinations until after two months, since her first complete round of childhood immunizations may not take effect until around eight weeks, during which time her immune system and natural defenses are also still establishing themselves (more in Vaccinations and Travel Shots, Travels with Baby).
Big help: If “the evening fussies” or colic are concerns, consider renting a baby swing (and/or other gear) at your destination (see the Worldwide Directory of Baby Gear Rental Agencies).
Best bet vacations: Home stays with family and friends, overseas travel (see The Baby Abroad in Travels with Baby), car trips, train trips, and short cruises (see Part VII: Travels by Cruise Ship in Travels with Baby).
Have you subscribed to Travels with Baby Tips?
More tips and advice are on the way! For help for planning travel with a baby–or toddler or preschooler, order or download your copy of the award-winning Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Travel with Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler.
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks
What?! Your kids aren’t babies anymore? Head over to Family Travel 411