For our third and final installment of our inaugural series, Real Talk with Real Moms, we’re dishing about travel. As a travel lover, this topic was a particularly strong anxiety inducer before we had Carter. I swore up and down that I would never let having a child stand in the way of my jetsetting tendencies. When the couple with a six month old sat in the airplane seats behind us on our honeymoon and the child never made a peep {on a 4+ hour flight!}, I thought it was proof. Proof that you can simply proceed with your adventures as if nothing has changed. The couple were avid surfers who chased waves around the world. They told us all about how they’d traveled with their baby from day one and simply never let her cramp their style. It sounded perfect.

Now that the reality of mama-hood is upon me, I’m here to testify that the picture perfect scenario might be….maybe half true…


We’ve actually done a fair amount of traveling since having Carter, starting at five weeks in fact! {I was going so stir crazy at that point}. Sure, we haven’t headed off to Europe or even across the country, but we’ve gone on little weekend and sometimes week long getaways on a near-monthly basis. And yes, we have braved our first baby-on-a-plane experience and lived to tell the tale. While there have been a few bumps and some unmitigated disasters {our dinner out where I circled the block with a crying baby while my gourmet dinner went cold and I never even got to finish my wine}, I’ve definitely picked up a few tips and tricks that make traveling with your little a whole lot easier. Completely doable in fact.

While I could go on and on, I’ve attempted to narrow my learnings down to my “Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Traveling with an Infant.” I do hope you find them helpful:

1. Don’t overpack. Our first escape was a quick road trip up to Sonoma where we planned to stay four nights. I have never seen our car so packed with crap necessities. I had an entire bag of just baby clothes, brought half a dozen swaddle blankets, every burp rag we owned, a bag of toys {when Carter was five weeks old and didn’t even know toys existed}, all the diaper changing accoutrements. The baby monitor. The Sleep Sheep. You name it, it came with us. I ended up using so little of all that stuff. And yet somehow also still ended up doing laundry…but see #3 about that.

2. Do remember enough diapers. While I was prepared for every possible contingency during the afore-mentioned trip, I somehow miscalculated the number of diapers needed for five days so a 10:00 PM emergency trip to Walgreens was required. Not the end of the world, but if you a prefer a certain type of diaper, need a particular size or are not staying near civilization, it can throw a little cramp in your style. Bonus tip: don’t pack diapers. Order them on Amazon and have the shipped to wherever you are headed so they’re there when you arrive. This is particularly helpful for air travel!

3. Stay somewhere that has laundry. You definitely don’t want to overpack clothes or blankets or burp rags, but you also don’t want pack a ton of poop, puke or other bodily fluid-covered things back home with you. Your little will also invariably spit up on something you don’t own. So it’s quiet nice to be able to quickly strip the bed or throw the towels {or the only dress you brought with you} in the wash.

4. Do gate check your car seat and stroller. The car seat – stroller combo is a godsend at the airport. {I’m obsessed with both our Nuna stroller & car seat btw}. Our first plane trip started in the early morning so Carter fell asleep on the way to the airport. I simply clipped his car seat into the stroller and rolled him around everywhere. My purse and diaper bag went in the stroller basket while my carry-on when in the belly of the plane. Best $25 I ever spent. Carter barely woke up going through security and I didn’t have to carry him until we were actually stepping onto the plane. The stroller and car seat were then waiting for us on the jetway as we deplaned. So much easier! Can’t recommend it enough.

5. Don’t forget your sound machine. Having your white noise maker on hand helps your babe {and you} maintain more even sleep in unfamiliar environments. If you don’t want to pack up an actual sound machine there are great apps and even baby-sleep playlists on Spotify!

6. Don’t worry, Amazon can replace anything you lose. Did the binkie somehow manage to go bye-bye? Did you forget the favorite bedtime story in the rental car? Did the diaper bag get left in the public bathroom? {yes, but I realized it quickly enough that I just turned around and went right back in to get it. No judgements} Travel will make you a little more harried than usual and you are carting around a lot of stuff {no matter how judiciously you pack}, so don’t be hard on yourself if something goes missing. Amazon Prime is here to save you.

7. Do pack that third extra outfit in the diaper bag. Changes in cabin pressure make babies poop. It’s a fact. In all likelihood you will have to change a blowout in an airplane bathroom. Your only hope is that the flight is short enough that you won’t have to do it twice. But just in case, have that third extra outfit ready to pitch hit. Otherwise you’re just going to have a lot of poop on your hands. Literally.

8. Don’t have overly high expectations. As much as you’d like to think you can plan an agenda like you did pre-baby, it’s best for everyone’s stress levels if you pick a more go with the flow attitude. That wine tasting appointment you scheduled? Push it back an hour when there’s a blow out situation. That nice lunch place you wanted to try? Order room service when he suddenly takes a two and half hour nap. A baby’s schedule is just too unpredictable for rigid planning and that’s a-okay. #gowiththeflow

9. Have a secret toy. The secret toy is the key to plane travel. Yes you should feed a baby during takeoff and landing. Yes, you’re likely to get lucky that they’ll sleep through some, if not all, of the flight. But should the occasion arise that your little angel is getting rather fussy you break out…the toy that’s never been seen before! Make sure it’s a real humdinger. We brought this one on our trip to Seattle and Portland. Carter had never seen anything that lights up and thankfully it worked its magic on our flight home and he was less than a happy camper.

10. Just do it. Is traveling with an infant easy? Not by the textbook definition of easy {without great effort; presenting few difficulties}. Travel is certainly no where near as easeful when you’re carting a tiny human with you, but it is entirely doable. Even necessary. Travel  can restore some sanity by helping you get back in touch with the pre-baby version of your life. And that my friends is worth just as much, if not more, than the memories you make on your trips!

I would love to hear your tips for traveling with kids. Since I’m only 6 months into this whole adventure I’m sure there are many things I’ve yet to discover!

And definitely check out the rest of today’s Real Talk with Real Mom posts – you’ll have travel tips for days. Along with some really funny stories. I’ve linked to them below.

The Effortless Chic | A Daily Something | Could I Have That | Parker EtcSacramento Street | Sarah Sherman SamuelOur Style Stories | Ave Styles | The Refined Woman

And spoiler alert: check out Instagram today too because we’re going to have a big surprise for you!

image by belathee photography

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  1. Such great tips! We haven’t traveled yet with our son, but we’re getting closer and closer.

  2. SUCH good tips! We just came home from our first air travel with a baby, and I have to agree with most of this. The only main thing I did differently was baggage check my stroller and carseat, which is always free (doesn’t count as luggage fees). And bring a carrier/wrap with you (I did the wrap because it takes up minimal space vs. my big carrier).

    xo, Irina |

  3. We moved from Georgia to Washington state when my son was just 6 months old. I had read somewhere that you should bottle feed while taking off and landing since they get uncomfortable with their ears popping. That worked, and at that age, he actually slept for the majority of the time which was really nice.

    I traveled with my son (by myself – yikes) recently and he was 13 months. He was pretty restless but I tried to distract him by us looking out the window, singing to him, etc. I didn’t bring any toys which I think if I did, that would have made my life easier. We had window seats both times, which I wished we had aisle seats. Although, having a window seat meant he couldn’t crawl down the aisle, which maybe was a blessing in disguise 🙂

    Traveling with a child is definitely a challenge, but like you said, Just do it! That exposes them to it, and gets them used to it. Life doesn’t stop after baby, and it’s fun for them to explore, and see the world.