Making the Most of Baby’s First Big Vacation


Traveling with your children is a rewarding way to spend time together. While infants and toddlers are too young to fully appreciate the experience, it’s not too early to make family trips a habit.

Here are some tips as you prepare for baby’s first vacation.

The first outing doesn’t have to be a long one. If you’re not yet ready to go on an airplane, plan a road trip. Spending a long weekend at a luxury hotel or in a resort area where you’ve never been can be a great way to recharge. It’ll also give you a chance to see how your child does away from home. Your travel agent can help you come up with some fun suggestions that are within easy driving distance. Whether you’re planning a trip with an infant or a toddler, one parent should sit in the back seat with the child to keep him or her comforted and occupied.

If you decide to fly, there are some perks. Parents with small children usually get to board first. And children under age 2 don’t need a ticket, although the child will have to sit in your lap for the duration. As an alternative, you can buy a ticket and bring a car seat. If you’re traveling with an infant, you can book a seat in the bulkhead that has a connection for a bassinet. In order to relieve air pressure during takeoff and landing, make sure your child has a bottle, plastic sippy cup or pacifier to help soothe him or her. Formula, breast milk and juice are allowed through airport security in reasonable quantities in your carry-on bags. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings.

Whatever your mode of transportation, keep a bag handy that’s well stocked with diapers, changes of clothes—for parents and child—and plenty of snacks and toys. It’s a good idea to bring a favorite toy, blanket or pillow from home that your child associates with sleep.

When you make your reservation, let your hotel know that you’ll be traveling with a small child. Some will make the room childproof for you, while others will give you the items you’ll need to do it yourself. But just in case, it’s a good idea to pack some cushion corner protectors that you can put around sharp edges on tables and other furniture, along with outlet protectors and a roll of tape. When you first enter, always give the room a quick inspection before you put your child down.

This vacation is going to have a different rhythm than ones you’ve taken before. Remember that you may have to build in time back at the hotel for a nap, so choose your accommodations carefully. A hotel near the beach, or near some of the attractions you’ll be visiting, will make it easier to go back and forth during the day. Most importantly, be patient. Give your child time to adjust to a new routine and in no time, you’ll have a veteran traveler in the family.