Everything you need to know about traveling with a baby.
Guest post by Rachel, Wokabout
My little family has almost made a career out of travel. Jason and I have been married six years and during that time, we have relocated countries…hold on, let me do the finger count…six times? Yup. Six times. I am Australian. Jason is American. We now have a little ‘dualie’, Xavier. We usually live in China.
Xavier is almost one year old. In his first year, he’s been to Australia, USA, Germany, China and back to Australia. I feel like we’ve learned a thing or two (possibly even a few tricks) that are useful for any family considering travel — be it by plane, train or automobile. So because it is the little man that has taught us most of what we know, I thought you might enjoy hearing it from him.
So without further adieu, please enjoy the exchange between Mummy (M) and Xavier (Mr. X)!
M: What do you think of your transient lifestyle?
Mr. X: I love it! I love new places, new foods, new people adoring me. I love presents from Chinese grandmothers. Love it.
M: What about your crazy parents? Do you feel like they’ve done you a disservice, disrupting your schedule and toting your all over the world while you’re at an age that you likely won’t remember any of it?
Mr.X: No. They are first timers so they still have a lot to learn but at this stage of my life, I’m using 70% of my brain as opposed to the 10% that I’m likely to use as an adult. I am soaking in everything. I understand some Chinese you know. Schedule? What’s that?
M: Do you sleep through the night?
Mr. X: No. Why?
M: Never mind. Do you sleep in your own bed?
Mr. X: Sometimes, but why should I? I prefer to sleep the Chinese way — everyone in the same bed!
M: Well, I think your parents wish you would spend more time in your own bed.
Mr. X: Well, they have to admit that it has cut down on the amount of ‘stuff’ we tote around. No portable beds!
M: True… Let’s change the subject. Our readers would like to know what you consider essential to every travelling baby’s nappy bag (that’s a diaper bag for our North American readers).
Mr. X’s travel Essentials for Babies:
- A baby carrier — I recommend Ergo. There’s plenty of other styles — wraps, mai tai’s, ring slings — that are also useful (ring slings can be used as blankets/nursing covers too).
- Res-Q remedy/ointment — go to your local health food store for this. Modern day miracles that soothe bumps, burns and bites. Great for Mummy’s cuticles. Having this on hand is a lot better than standing in Chinese pharmacy and trying to figure out the universal sign for mosquito bite. Or you could by a homeopathic first aid kit like this.
- Coconut oil — the miracle oil! Hand sanitizer, wound cleaner, sun protection, etc, etc.
- Mosquito repellant stickers — discovered these in China and they are brilliant. No more rubbing chemicals on my fair skin and one sticker usually lasts for a whole day (stick it on my back so I can’t eat it).
- Amber teething necklace — truthfully, I haven’t travelled while teething so I can’t vouch for this one but my other baby buds tell me they don’t leave home without theirs.
- A change of clothes…for the parents — you will puke or have a nappy blow out (no shame, brothers and sisters). If you’re lucky, you’ll survive the trip in the same clothes. Your parent/s? Odds are not in their favour.
- A bag of tricks — have your mum pack a little bag of fun things. Include a few familiar items (like your teddy and your dummy/paci), your favourite book (the one your mum can recite to you so that she doesn’t have to look at it and get motion sick), and a few new toys. I like cars. BUT nothing should be loud or obnoxious. The gentleman sharing your row will not appreciate irritating songs for the duration of the trip
- Snacks — airplane food is not especially nutritious. Here’s a link to the most extensive list of healthy foods you can bring on planes for children. There’s a lot of things on this list that you likely didn’t know was allowed.
- A stainless steel water bottle with filter — difficult to come by but who wants to spend half their vacation money buying airport water?
- Baby probiotics — again from your health food store. You can usually buy this in powder form and mix with yoghurt/foods/milk to calm the queaziest of tummies. Drank bath water? Take a probiotic. Gas? Take a probiotic. Diarreaha? Take a probiotic!
Bio: Rachel writes about her family’s gypsy lifestyle at wokabout.net.
Dear friends, don’t you love this list from Rachel and Xavier? (Thanks Rachel!) Have you ever travelled with a baby? I sure have, and I highly recommend it! (You can find some of my top tips that I wrote after Levi’s first international trip here: tips and tricks for traveling with a baby.) But back to you. What are YOUR top tips for traveling with a little one?