June 7, 2017

Our First Experience Traveling with a Baby

 

<outfit details below>

Ah, traveling with a baby.  If you’ve never done it before, it’s probably one of the most daunting things to think about it. I swear, I think I researched more before our first trip with Nate than before I gave birth.

When I first mentioned the idea of taking a family trip to Keith, his immediate response was “lets just drive somewhere!” I mean, it made sense. We’d be in the comfort of our own car (even though Nate hates the carseat) and at least we’d have a little more control. I almost gave in, but I stood my ground. I knew the longer we prolonged it, the more intimidating it would be.

So in the span of one week (talk about procrastination), we planned a trip to Turks & Caicos and it was quite successful, if I do say so myself.  Maybe next time we’ll go further or be more adventurous, but it was perfect for our first family trip.

I’m also assuming that by now, you’ve read a ton of different tips and tricks, but below is what worked for us!

In the airport & on the plane:

Babywear: Once we got to the airport, I strapped Nate into my baby carrier and having the ability to have my hands free was major. Between our suitcases, diaper bag and stroller, there was so much stuff to carry, that having the ability to give Keith a hand eased the stress. I also used the carrier *so* much at our destination. We were able to take walks along the beach, something that would have been impossible without the carrier since Nate is not walking.

Travel Stroller: It took me weeks to decide on what travel stroller we were going to go with. In the end, it was a toss-up between the  or the Mountain Buggy or the Babyzen YOYO, but after test-driving both, we went with the Mountain Buggy. They’re both excellent strollers, but the Babyzen YOYO was almost double in price and I didn’t feel it was that much better.

After checking our bags and going through security, Nate came out of the carrier and went into the Mountain Buggy. Once we were ready to board, we gate checked the stroller using this bag.

An extra seat! Babies under two are free if you plan to have them in your lap. If we were flying somewhere closer (say under 2 hours), we’d end up saving our money, but for a flight that’s a bit longer, the extra seat was really, really nice. It gave us extra room for all of our crap, and trust me there’s a lot of it, and we didn’t feel all congested with a squiggly one year old. Some others may disagree with this, but I guess it depends on your child. Nate is not one to stay still and just hang out in my arms, so I kind of knew what I’d be dealing with. If you have the extra budget, it made a tremendous difference!

To bring a car seat or not? We already knew that we’d have a third seat on the flight, but whether to bring a car seat was one of the biggest decisions we struggled with. I asked a dozen friends, researched like a mad woman but ultimately, it comes down to what works for you and your child. In the end, we chose not to bring a carseat. To get to and from the airport, we scheduled a cab with a carseat and we knew we wouldn’t be driving once we got to our destination. I do think that if we had a carseat for the actual plane, it would have been a tad easier. He would have been contained and more likely to fall asleep quicker, but it would have been an extra (huge) thing to carry.  I also have friends who choose to bring a carseat for their trip (if they’re planning to do a lot of driving at their destination) and they use this bag to check it.

In the end, he fell asleep in my arms, but it took a little bouncing and walking around the plane to get him to do so.

Tip: I thought UBER would have the option to order a car with a carseat, but that wasn’t the case. I ended up finding a local car service place that was super accommodating. We scheduled the same company for pickup and drop off. If you’re in the NYC area, we used Eastern.

Zone Out: Don’t worry about anyone else. My pre-motherhood self worried too much about what other people thought. Would I be that annoying mother with a crying baby? Would people roll their eyes at me? You know what?! Who cares. To be perfectly honest, for the few minutes that Nate did get fussy, everyone was super nice and no one even looked my way. During those moments, I just focused on Nate and what it would take to get us all happy and calm. I walked around the aisle, bouncing him like a crazy woman and he fell asleep. Whatever it takes!

Feed during take-off & landing: bottle or breast – it calms your baby and helps with ear pressure since they don’t know how to pop their ears.

Snacks: I packed bananas, sliced apples, crackers, muffins, gold fish, etc.. Basically, all of his favorite snacks! It definitely played a key part in keeping him entertained and happy during the plane ride and like I said, whatever it takes.

Toys & iPad: We ordered a few cheapie toys on amazon, some stickers and loaded the iPad (something we’ve never done!) with a few learning shows. They all served their purpose for a few minutes at a time.

For your stay:

Get an apartment (or a suite!): One of the things that was majorly important to us was having the ability to hang out once Nate went to sleep. Who wants to tip-toe and whisper once their baby is sleeping? Not us! For starters, during naps and once 7PM rolled around, it was so nice to have time together. To be able to sit on the couch, or on the balcony, with a glass of wine and to be able to talk, without having to tend to the needs of a baby. Airbnb, VRBO and Home Away are all great sites to look through.

The place we stayed at was a mix between a hotel and apartment and I was able to get a crib and highchair set up before we arrived. Also, having a full kitchen was the best! We ended eating out about once a day, but for all other meals, we stocked our fridge with out favorites and cooked everything in our apartment. If we didn’t have Nate, I’m sure we’d eat out a lot more, but this just made things so much easier. Also, we had a  washer and dryer! With a baby, it was a huge perk.

White noise: We have a white noise machine that goes on before each nap or bedtime, so I wanted to make sure we’d have something on our trip. We downloaded a few apps (Relax Melodies is my fav) and I was able recreate his bedtime routine on our trip.

Quite honestly, I was nervous on how he would handle being in a different room, in a different crib and in a different situation, but babies really are so resilient. I was surprised at how easily he adapted!

Where we stayed: As I may have mentioned before, we stayed at the Venetian in Turks in Caicos. It’s not an apartment that we rented through airbnb or VRBO, but you’re able to go through their actual site or expedia. They work as apartments, but they also have some hotel like services like daily housekeeping, water, coffee and a staff that’s able to help you with anything you need. There are a ton of amazing reviews on Trip Advisor if you’re interested in reading a little more about it. Or, feel free to ask me and I’ll be sure to update this post to answer any questions you might have. We ended up choosing Turks & Caicos because so many of YOU recommended it to be beautiful, yet very family friendly. This was completely the case! Our entire flight was families and we felt right at home once we arrived.

As some of you might know, we’ve only been on a plane with Nate once, so clearly we’re no experts, but this is what worked for us. If any of you have traveled extensively with your little ones, please share any of your helpful tips and I’ll be sure to either edit this post or create a new one to help others out.

In the end, it was a ton of work, but 100% worth it! Being able to share that experience with each other, as a new family, was worth every single pain-in-the ass-moment. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Thank you so much for reading!

Wearing: photo 1 | Frank & Eileen Shirt & Aquazzura Slides. photo 2 | Saloni dress seen here. Nate’s outfit is from Zara and his swimsuit is from the GAP.

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23 comments

  • Magda

    Great post, travelling with a baby for the first time can be challenging! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    http://www.gloryofthesnow.com

  • Kendal

    This is such a great, informative post! I can only imagine the struggle my parents when through traveling with my brother and I when we were little. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    Kendal // Life With Kendal

  • Kristina

    I imagine it as a huge challenge to travel with a small child. Great that you did it anyway!
    ♡Kristina
    TheKontemporary

  • FeLicia

    Nate is getting so big! Love this post, thanks for sharing Helena!

  • lisa

    great tips! i have really enjoyed reading all of your baby-related posts. my daughter is 5 months and we recently did our first family trip (longggg drive to newport, ri from hoboken) which was fun but stressful! followed by my first weekend away w/o baby. i’m ebf’ing and had to pump on the plane… i was so nervous, but like you, i got over it quickly and realized it’s not a big deal unless you make it a big deal! 🙂

  • wendy

    would love to know which carrier you used. I find some to be so hot and couldn’t imagine having baby in them on a beach!

  • Carrol

    From your older voice of reason lol, you are doing an amazing job. Just like you said, focus on your little one. I do think that exposing kids to new things from the time they are very young works well. I travelled with all three from the time they were still in my belly and they were pros. They knew what to do and what was expected of them. Not every flight was perfect but all in all they were amazing. And people do understand. We hear so many bad stories but rarely the good ones. Great job, Helena and Keith, and keep up the exploring! Xoxoxo, Carrol

  • Tasha Juli

    I wish more people had your level of self awareness when traveling with children! I know it can be difficult, but planning ahead, and making an effort to keep them happy and comfortable really makes a difference!
    Tasha Juli
    stylesplendorbliss.com

    • traveling mama

      This sounds a lot like the type of judgement that can dissuade some parents from attempting to travel with children. In my experience, worrying about how others are perceiving us and our “level of self awareness” is counterproductive. Traveling with a young child is HARD and the unexpected happens, even with all the preparation in the world.

  • Kay Nguyen

    This is so cute, love your blog! I’m the worst traveler already, can’t imagine having to take care of a baby <3

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • Christine Comer

    Love this post! So happy that your trip worked out well!! It’s so true how resilient babies are– I always remind myself that people have been doing this parenting thing long before technology existed… we’ve flown with our Nolan three times so far and I totally agree with your analysis of it– hope you, Keith and Nate have some more adventures this summer!😘

  • Christine Comer

    Love this post! So happy that your trip worked out well!! It’s so true how resilient babies are– I always remind myself that people have been doing this parenting thing long before technology existed… we’ve flown with our Nolan three times so far and I totally agree with your analysis of it– hope you, Keith and Nate have some more adventures this summer!😘

  • Tracey Price

    Blue painter’s tape is THE BEST toddler toy for an airplane (it actually comes in a few colors). Costs less than $4 a roll and keeps them occupied for hours… no mess, no noise, endless options.

  • Margie

    great post, thanks!

    by the way for the future, uber does have a car seat option in new york:

    https://www.uber.com/info/nyc-car-seat/

    also, a good option for planes without using a carseat (but safer for kids than just the belts) is the CARES harness, it’s the only one like it approved for flying.

    https://www.amazon.com/Child-Airplane-Travel-Harness-Restraint/dp/B0012E4FV8

  • Kristina

    Great post!I can say that we pretty much did almost everything the way you did for our first trip with our baby (9 months at the time) except we did not have a stroller with us but we were given one to use at our destination (by a family member, of course). For me it was easier because I breastfeed my baby so he fell asleep almost right away when the plane took off. At the end of the day it is important that you get to recharge your batteries every once in a while to stay sane:))))Love your posts on motherhood. Regards from Bulgaria.

  • Jo

    I loved this post. My niece is pregnant I’m sending her this post because she & her husband love to travel. I really here your voice with posts, a wonderful mom, a woman who loves her husband dearly, & a strong lovely spirit beautiful lady..
    p.s I needed new shampoo & tried the nexus brand you have recommended- used it this morning wow love it. I bought the travel version so I could try it – I’m going to buy more & the mask too my hair needs help. Thankyou for recommendation.

  • sari nilsson

    Love this post, thanks for sharing!

  • Ewa Macherowska

    Nice post hun! 😉

    http://www.evdaily.blogspot.com

  • Colleen

    Great tips for first time moms traveling with their little ones! I do want to throw out that another resource is a Travel Agent. Travel Agents also work thru an Expedia program called TAAP or they can forfeit commissions and receive points on the booking if that affords the customer a better price. Most times an agent has visited the location and can give you firsthand experience about the resort itself, has personal contacts at the property and can be a wealth of knowledge about the destination. They also have the advantage of holding airline seats and courtesy holding rooms while a customer has the time to finalize their necessary travel documents. These days a Travel Agent can go above and beyond the customers general booking needs and also secure the items you mentioned such as highchairs, cribs, baby necessities and airport/hotel transfers. It’s a personalized service that you receive at no extra cost to the customer.
    If you haven’t guessed it, YES, I am a Travel Agent and I have recently had an upward of 280+ texts between a customer and myself. I know the pricepoints are good with Airbnb and VRBO but I recommend giving yourself the opportunity to try an agent and save a portion of the hard work for them.

  • pictaram

    Thank you for sharing the post! Traveling with baby is something that I want to do and also don’t want to do 😀 It must be very hard and tired, perhaps I can’t go many places as before, but it will be a great memory for my family. Thank you for sharing the advice, I will prepare as perfectly as I could if I have chance to traveling with my kids.
    http://www.pictaram.org/

  • cARMEL

    Our first trip was to Fiji, because, like you, I didn’t want to travel too far from home in Melbourne in case my son had a melt down on the plane. We tried to recreate his routine while we were away, which worked out well. They get so much more tired on holidays so sleeping wasn’t an issue