New parents considering traveling with a baby may have many questions. First and foremost, are we crazy?
Jen Campbell Bowles, the founder of Explore More Family Travel, told TODAY Parents that traveling with her twin children since they were babies “has meant a lot.”
“People are so scared about traveling with young children,” Campbell Bowles said. “Not only is it important to get your kids used to traveling from an early age, but it’s also really nice to be able to not travel during the school holidays.”
She continued: “Traveling in May and September was always a favorite of mine when my boys were younger. We were able to improve our travel experience by traveling on the shoulder or off-season. Getting more value out of your vacation investment is always a good thing.”
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How hard is it to travel with a baby? It’s not difficult at all. Campbell Bowles offered parents traveling with their baby six tips for success:
6 tips for traveling with a baby
Start small and build from there.
“When I found out I was having twins, I honestly didn’t know when I would travel again like I used to,” Campbell Bowles said. “We started small with a trip to Chicago to test the waters. I needed to build my confidence before traveling abroad again. Chicago went so well that I immediately booked our next trip to Italy and Greece.”
Bring extra items for children.
“On our trip to Italy when my twins were 1, I had a wonderful moment sitting outside on a Cinque Terre ferry with my son on my lap,” Campbell Bowles said. “I was thinking how much I loved this moment and for no reason at all my son took a sip of the cup we packed for him and threw it into the ocean so fast I didn’t even get to try to stop him.”
Get a balcony or a room with a separate space.
“Babies go to bed earlier and parents need time to recover from their day and bond with each other,” says the travel expert.
The ride may be slower—and that’s okay.
“You’re not going to see everything,” Campbell Bowles said. “It’s a trip that includes everything compared to a trip that sees everything.”
Don’t forget to include something for your baby.
“If they like to swim, book a hotel with a pool. If they are mobile, a little space to run safely – maybe that means a green space in a resort or a piazza in Italy! Find parks with playgrounds. Schedule time to wear them out so they can nap in the stroller and let you do what you want.”
Consider sleep schedules.
“When flying long distances, try to book red-eye flights, so children are more likely to sleep and not be too nervous during the flight,” Campbell Bowles shared.
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Traveling with babies vs. toddlers
Campbell Bowles told TODAY Parents that she thinks babies “move on easier than toddlers.”
“They’ll spend a lot of the day in a stroller without complaint, they’ll just take it all in,” she said, adding that babies are more likely to sleep on the move. “Of course, traveling with babies involves carrying more stuff, but airlines are pretty good about letting you carry everything. You can also target resort and cruise brands that have the items on hand so you don’t have to pack a lot right away.”