Tips for Traveling Overseas with Your Baby
Enjoying a vacation with the family, in particular with a young baby is one of those cherished moments in life. Especially the first vacation with your baby is one that you will remember forever. To make your holiday more enjoyable and safe, we have composed a number of baby holiday tips designed to help you in your travels overseas.
Choose your destination wisely
In choosing your destination take into account the sort of accommodation most friendly to your baby and overall the level of facilities. In the extreme, jungle hiking and sleeping ‘rough’ isn’t very family friendly to a newborn baby, but on the other hand, you do not have to be confined to a room all vacation long. In terms of accommodation, ensure that a baby cot is available and depending on the age of the baby, perhaps even a high chair for meal times. In terms of facilities, ensure that medical attention can be given i.e. that you are not on some remote island without any medical personal around.
Minimum age for flying
It is highly desirable to wait until the baby is 2 to 3 months old before flying. At this age, the immune system is much more developed and risk of infection significantly drops. Otherwise, the earliest you can travel is after 2 to 3 weeks once the pediatrician provided the baby with a clean bill of health. When possible and if the baby gets its own seat, bring your car seat with. It can be used on the plane as well as in the destination when moving around by taxi. Many countries have the same legislation on the requirements for baby seat and local taxi drivers won’t risk their license in transporting the baby without one.
There are small items that can make a big difference in your vacation enjoyment when it comes to your baby’s belongings. Packing well is about bringing the essential and leaving the obvious.
Essentials – Baby monitor is easy to carry and fit. Sunscreen with high factor for baby skin isn’t always easy to get a hold of. Familiar toys are wonderful to improve the baby state of mind and give you some peaceful ‘me time’.
Obvious – If your baby has normal dietary requirements, there is no need to stock up on food as you will be able to source it there. As well, in most destinations diapers will be available so again bring only a few to suffice for the flight.
Permitted in hand luggage
Ensure that items in your hand luggage including those for the baby are within the permits guidelines found at TSA.gov. Provided you declare them to the security staff at the airport, baby formula and food, and breast milk is allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag.
As any parent knows getting a baby into a routine is essential in the first few months. Sleep and food are the cornerstones of any routine. If the baby is bottle fed, you should ask the cabin crew for boiled water well before the feeding time as unlike at home, you cannot put the bottle in the fridge for speedy cooling down. It will likely take between 30min to 45min to cool down naturally. Bring a small flask and ask the cabin crew to fill it in due course.
Many parents are unaware that some airlines offer sky cots that allow your baby to be more comfortable during the flight. Normally these are free of charge, though in limited supplies. You will need to call your airline well before to discuss such availability.
Once at the accommodation, take a few moments to inspect the room and baby proof it as best as you can. If the baby is crawling, you are advised to bring baby table corner guards to stick on the corners of various furniture. While inspecting the room, check for any small objects that the baby might find and swallow while crawling around and remove them. On the other hand, creating a temporary corner with its favorite toys and blankets will do wonders to restrict the baby to a safe place and create a more relaxing atmosphere.
Photo credit: Simon Doggett