Note: So the Little Homie is now 4 months old, and this article is about traveling with a two month old. Yeah, you might say we’ve neglected the blog a bit to handle (or attempt) other things: Namely our full time jobs, raising a child, and
sleep. But nonetheless, hope this post is relevant and timely for some folks!
Laura and I are slightly crazy: With our little homie a few days past the ripe age of 2 months old, we hopped on a plane with him. Anyone who has had a kid or is about to soon knows there is a well rehearsed script to the whole pregnancy process. It goes something like this:
Person: Oh my gosh, you’re having a baby?
You: Yes (goofy ass smile on face)
Person: Congratulations! Boy or girl?
You: Boy (or girl)
Person: Do you have a name yet?
Person: I just love (insert hip name of the year)
But as travelers, the people who knew us always had another question, something along the lines of: “I bet you’re really going to miss traveling, huh?” But here’s the thing: Laura and I have never been those people that thought the entrance of children in our lives meant the death of travel. But nor are we the folks who believe life as we know it need not change. And so the answer was always complex: We won’t miss travel, because we still will travel, but we may once in a while miss the way we used to travel.
And so our first trip was… Well, it was a lot of things. But most of all it was smooth, joyous, and worth repeating. And rest assured, repeat it we did, with more than double the mileage a month later. So stay tuned for tips for traveling with a three month old baby What did we do right that we definitely will do again? What could we improve? Believe you and me, we’ve got more than enough tips for traveling with a two month old.
Where Should You Go?
Consider carefully your destination. If you’ve never traveled with an infant, I wouldn’t really advise a long flight unless it’s unavoidable. For us, we made our determination with the following parameters:
1. Distance. We wanted somewhere with a flight of under two hours. We figure if everything goes to hell on the trip, we can survive two hours.
2. Family and friends. We wanted the little homie to meet some of our loved ones, but there’s also strategy to going someplace you know people: Meals are a lot less stressful. We didn’t have to worry about eating out nonstop and instead got to hang out in more controlled environments while seeing people we love. It was a great decision for so many reasons!
3. Early events. Spoiler alert for any soon to be parents: All that crap about not sleeping much and being up REALLY early- it’s all true. And so we decided to leverage that reality to our advantage. What was a trip we could take that revolves around early mornings. So maybe you’ve always wanted to travel to the coast of Maine to enjoy breathtaking sunrises. Well, if you’ve got an infant, no better time than now since you’ll be awake!
So where did we decide to go: Albuquerque. Hour and a half flight. Friends AND family live there since I grew up there. And we got to check out the world famous International Balloon Fiesta, an event that starts at 6 am and is worth every ounce of morning energy!
Before the Trip
I am always amazed how much laundry our little man requires. Laundry nowadays is done more than ever, and about 80% of the load is for the smallest member of the family. So it went with packing. We learned a thing or two about packing. You’ll find packing lists here and there, and you know what you absolutely need, but we’ve got a few ideas you will want to pay attention to.
1. Diapers. If you’re going to bring them, they take up A LOT of space. We packed them. Rookie error. Next time we’ll do one of two things- pack enough for our trip (accounting for possible delays) and then either buy diapers there OR, what I think is the best option- have diapers shipped to the hotel or wherever we are staying. Check with your accommodations beforehand if you can ship something and if you can- it might be worthwhile.
2. Pack the vitals in one suitcase. It’s natural for most people to pack a bag per person. Don’t do that. Instead pack the family version of a “go pack”. One bag should have the basics for you and the baby to go 48 hours (or more if you can fit it). The idea is simple- if you get to the airport and they insist you need to check a bag, or you are boarding and you find out the overhead bins are full and you will need to check one of your bags, you want to know that everything you need for the next couple days for the whole family can stay with you, and check the other bag.
3. Think through transportation logistics. We have a wonderfully affordable and practical Graco Click Connect Travel System which means most of the time, we unclick the car seat from stroller, and just click it into the base and go. So we never thought about “do we need to bring the base?” or “how does it work to secure the car seat without a base?” Fortunately, we know the following: The base is not required- and it’s pretty easy to secure, as long as you know what you’re doing first. This video helped us out.
But also think through every other detail. The car rental place closed minutes before we landed, so we couldn’t get our car that night. Ooops. Same with the hotel shuttle- it stopped moments before we arrived. These are little frustrations normally, but they can feel monumental when you’re otherwise overwhelmed as is.
During the Trip
So first, let’s state the obvious that you’ve probably already read everywhere: Feed the kid at take off and landing when at all possible. This worked like a charm with the Little Homie and something we can’t emphasize enough. If feeding won’t work, have a pacifier handy. For our landing, the little man was fast asleep so we just let him sleep, he never even realized we landed.
1. Slow down. If this was Laura and I pre the arrival of the Little Homie, our itinerary would have been jam packed with visits with friends and loved ones, hikes, and can’t miss food and drink throughout the city. Having the Little Homie with us forced us to slow down, something I think is good. We landed late and rather than try to hit the Balloon Fiesta the next morning we said “we’ll sleep till he doesn’t want to sleep anymore and take what the morning brings.” A good rest for all three of us and a couple lazy cups of coffee at one of my favorite breakfast joints was just what the good doctor ordered.
2. Ask for a corner room. When we checked into the hotel, the first thing we did was asked for a room at the end of the hall. The rationale was simple: With the Little Homie, we wanted to minimize the chance he’d disrupt other travelers holiday. The hotel guy took one look at him and was all too happy to place us next to an empty room. This means more sleep for you, and also minimizes the chance you’ll be that disruptive neighbor everyone hates in a hotel. It also never hurts to ask “is there anyway to upgrade to a suite?” Depending on where you are, the inventory, and any loyalty you might have, it might be your lucky day where you and the baby get your own rooms.
3. Bring a change of clothes for everyone, everywhere. Something you probably already do at home but it doesn’t hurt repeating. If the little one decides to ruin your clothes AND theirs, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
4. Think through meals. Up until this trip, we’d been really reluctant to eat out with the Little Homie. Albuquerque changed that because, well, yeah. We had to eat. One thing we learned that we liked for our own sanity, weather dependent: Eating outside on the patio. There was more to distract him when he was awake and it was easier for him to sleep when he dozed. And eat early. Turns out the 5 and 6 pm crowd is older and surprisingly, really excited to see babies at dinner. We had several older couples smiling at him as we entered restaurants, a first! And when all else fails and it’s been a rough day- get take out. Laura fed the Little Homie one night while I made a run for some of my favorite New Mexican food.
After the trip
1. Take it slow, part II. We got back to LA early in the afternoon, and it was heavenly. It allowed us to get home, to relax a bit, and re-establish a routine. If at all possible, build in time on the backside to take it slow, you won’t regret it.
2. Take notes on what worked. We were able to quickly jot down the notes that became this blog. So stay tuned because we’ve got even more tips and tricks after the Little Homie’s latest journey: Los Angeles to Birmingham to Boston to New York and finally back to LA. Yep, our little 1200 mile jaunt to Albuquerque gave us the confidence to do a bigger and even wilder trip. And boy did we learn some good things!
We’ve learned many a lesson, some of which you’ll learn about in a later installment of tips for traveling with a three month old (the Little Homie went to Birmingham, Boston, and New York) and trips for traveling with a 5 month old (Chicago here we come!).
If you’ve got kids and you’ve traveled with them, no matter the age- let us know your best tips!