Grandparents, Friends, and Family, Oh My: 5 Ways to Prepare for Baby’s First Holiday Trip

Having a new baby is a milestone that parents remember forever. One of the most exciting things that they do is share their joy with their own parents. This helps kids cement their child’s relationship with their grandparents in ways that can last the rest of their lives.

baby on a plane by The Wedding Traveler on Flickr

However, there is no lack of challenge associated with traveling with babies, especially over the holidays. Below are 5 tips for parents that can be used to make their trip with a  new baby less stressful and actually more enjoyable.

1. Gather the Tools of the Trade

Much like any other useful piece of equipment, appropriate toys and other items are actually part of the essentials of easier parenting. For instance, baby rattles provide entertainment, while teething toys and pacifiers could turn out to be lifesavers.

Any parent who has had to deal with a fussy child during travel learns to understand the value of these items. Pack extras, since these items are easily lost.

2. Review the Traveling Environment

Prepare for the trip ahead of time. If traveling in a car, ensure that there is adequate space for baby to sleep and be awake safely. Organize the space so that essential items are at the ready at all times; for example, rattles and other entertaining toys nearby to use when necessary.

If traveling on a plane, minimize packing, but include all essential items. Pack extra baggies for rearranging carry-on liquids. Take one backpack carry-on for the plane and ensure that everything needed is organized so that it can be accessed quickly. Try to get seating in the back of the plane and introduce yourself to nearby seatmates to create a friendly atmosphere.

3. Organize the Schedule Travel Time

Organizing the schedule to include major travel time includes sleep time. This can make it much easier to adjust the baby’s schedule for more baby and parent comfort. Road trips should include stops at least every 3 to 4 hours.

Flights should also be in 3 to 4 hour legs. Consider trains for travel since they offer more space and the ability to get up and walk around freely more easily than on planes. Doing this allows for time to break monotony, stretch and attend to loading up on food, snacks and things needed for the baby.

Flying direct makes more sense if traveling alone. With a baby, however, this usually only works well if it is very late at night. Even so, babies waking for midnight feedings can disturb passengers. Therefore, arrange travel in bite size nuggets to make it more palatable.

4. Don’t Be Shy About Asking for Help

Employees like flight attendants and curbside assistants are there to help. Take advantage of the family security line at airports. While it is best to board in advance of others, encourage others to advance ahead, if you arrive late. The more patient and agreeable you are, the more gracious others and the TSA agents.

5. Maximize Your Travel Comfort

Do not forget about ensuring your maximum traveling comfort. For instance, wear comfortable shoes and have your favorite snacks and water close by. Include good reading material and take along or invest in an e-reader or tablet.

The better you feel, the better the baby and everyone else will feel. Your positive attitude can set the tone for the entire trip.

Traveling with a baby is often one of the more challenging things that a parent will ever face. However, with proper preparation, flexibility and staying focused on the result, the experience can actually be far more rewarding.

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