Oh BABY! Tips for traveling with your newest tag along

We’ve traveled quite a bit with our babies. It’s nice to take advantage of that free flight (babies under two years fly free… more about that later). So we fly even MORE while they are little and inexpensive.  In fact, with a baby under 1 year of age, we’ve been to: Thailand, Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Denmark, England, Sweden, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, Scotland, Whales, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia.  

In our experience, the sooner you start traveling with your baby, the faster they learn to be more flexible and easy going when you get away from their typical routines and setting. They learn to sleep anywhere, nothing will phase them, and instead of relying on their familiar surroundings for comfort, they learn to rely on YOU as their constant- a way that you can bond so much with your baby.

Beyond travel being good for your baby, the parents can take advantage of the “systems” when traveling with your little one.  Places are so much more accommodating to babies-  you’ll get ahead of lines at the airport and even museums in Europe… so having them along pays off just for that.😂

I divided this blog post into three sections: Packing for your baby, dealing with jet lag and time change, and four baby travel hacks we’ve learned along the way.

Packing for your Baby: Less IS More!

If you are a first time parent reading this and feeling overwhelmed about traveling with your baby, let me encourage you that you do not need to overthink packing.  Be strategic to not pack too much stuff knowing you will have to carry EVERYTHING yourself, so simplify what you bring.

Here is a checklist of what we typically bring for our babies:

Packing List 

  • Paci/Comfort blanket
  • A couple small toys/books for the flight
  • Diapers & wipes
  • One outfit per day 
  • PJs (or comfy clothes they could also wear during the day)
  • Small bottle of detergent (to clean stains, blow outs, etc.)
  • Hat/sun block (above 6 months)
  • THIS pop up bed we love
  • Stroller (for city) & baby carrier (for hiking)

The most important thing I always remind myself when we are preparing for a big trip, is that there are babies all over the world- If I do actually forget something, I can always just buy it abroad.

Time Change and Jet lag: 

Helping your baby adjust to the time change and sleep schedule can seem daunting. I have known some families who just stuck to the baby’s schedule from home.  But that means you will be awake at times when shops and sites aren’t open and then sleeping during the day when things are.  We personally prefer to adjust to the time zone as quickly as possible.  It only takes us a day or two to adjust our sleep schedule while abroad.  To help my babies adjust, I  generally make a point to nurse /feed them every three hours during the day so that they can sleep longer at night- and it really helps!  We may still deal with the typical “fussy time”, but they happens while we are home too so we might as well be somewhere scenic while it’s happening. 😅 

Here are four suggestions to help alleviate jet lag and time change with your baby:

  1. Nurse/feed every three hours during the day
  2. Don’t let them nap for more than 3 hours 
  3. Keep younger babies close to your bed so if they do wake up in the middle of the night you don’t fully wake up feeding them
  4. Give them lots stimulation during the day to wear them out at night 

Four Baby Travel Hacks:

1. Don't buy a seat for them if they are under two years.

Children under 2 can fly for free (you still have to pay tax on them though!)  If you don't buy them a seat, you will get a "lap child" ticket for them instead, which means they will sit on your lap for the flight.  However, if the flight is not full, the flight attendants are soooo accommodating and will do whatever they can to get you an extra seat (even though you didn't pay for one!)  So, as long as your child sits on your lap for take off and landing; it's a "free for all" the rest of the flight!   In our experience, it has only happened a handful of times that our flight was full and we didn't get an extra seat, so it is definitely worth the risk to not pay for a whole extra ticket for your baby/toddler!!  However, just in case we don't get an extra seat, I bring a sling for the baby to sleep in while we are sitting on the plane.  That way, they are all cozy against me, but I can still use my hands to watch movies and eat meals while they are sleeping!  

2. Bring new and exciting activities.

On those super long and annoying flights, I always make sure to bring a bunch of paperback books to read, a couple very small toys I know my son will love, and dollar store (small and light-weight) "presents" to unwrap during the flight.  I use the "presents" when I notice him getting restless (or need to divert his attention).   It occupies him for a few minutes to open the "present" (which, if you do a good wrap job, it may even take longer 😉) and then keeps him busy while he plays with it.  However, all kids LOVE to be carried on “walks” up and down the aisles of the plane.  I've walked a whole hour with a baby; we wave at people as we walk by and many of the older passengers will even start conversations with us.  Your older baby will love showing off all their "tricks": waving, blowing kisses, "so big", etc!  Older babies also LOVE playing in the bathroom; so if it's not too busy, bring them in there for a few minutes to play with the water and make bubbles with the soap!  I also try to pack a lot of snacks or special "treats" for emergency type situations (like during turbulence, when everyone needs to wear their seat belts, or to divert a tantrum).  It's survival, right!?  

3. Be strategic when booking flights: the time of day you fly and layovers

We love booking red eye direct flights.  Honestly, we try to avoid layovers at all costs, especially this day and age with so many flights getting canceled.  We would rather drive a few hours to a different airport for a direct flight then out of ours for multiple legs.  We love red eye with kids because after the meal comes and everyone is settled, they all fall asleep and everyone is well rested when we land.  We find that it makes the flight soooo much easier (and seem quicker) and I love not wasting any vacation time!  When we arrive at our destination, we literally start exploring right away!  

You can plan flights around nap times too!  If you are a parent, you'll agree, a sleeping child is like gold, so it's always a big time score when they finally get bored and fall asleep. 😉

4. Change your perspective!

Normally whenever we travel, I try to prepare myself ahead of time by changing MY perspective.  The flight is one of the only situations that I can give my kids uninterrupted attention without dishes, laundry, meal prep, etc.  So, I really try to make the flights special time that I can give my undivided attention to them and nothing else.  This will make your child BEHAVE better!  Most kids tend to misbehave and act out when they are being ignored.  If we are playing and talking and just spending time with our kids, they will not only love it, but also behave sooo much better!  It really is a win-win!

I truly hope this post inspires you to travel with your babies!! We have made so many memories with them on these international trips and it is such a special time you will cherish forever!


  1. Spending time at Eiffel tower with goldenbustours this was stunning for me. I am in love with this article and love to share it with others soon.

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