Is it possible to travel with a baby and not be completely out of your element? Is there any hope that you won't look like a flustered hot mess with stuff flying everywhere and baby gear strapped to every part of your body? Well, in the airport, no. I haven't mastered that yet (so much stuff to carry!), but once you arrive to your destination? Yes, I daresay it is possible! Here are six things that help you travel with a baby and still keep some dignity in tow, too.
ONE | BYOHC
Bring your own... high chair? In England, a few places will have high chairs. In France, we probably encountered three. One being at the newly opened Chipotle. Holding a toddler during a meal can be described in many terms, but "relaxing" is not one of them. Plus, it makes eating nearly impossible.
We marched to Monoprix and bought a cloth one that slipped over the back of chairs and snapped Viola into an inescapable sitting position. It was amazing, and it folded up in my bag. We loved it, and I have a feeling it will travel many places with us over the years to come.
Here's a similar one. If you use a high chair at home and are planning to travel: buy it! Trust me.
TWO | WEAR A SCARF
Wear a scarf? Yes. Stop hauling around your nursing cover and just get a large summer scarf. It's one less thing to schlep around, it is way more inconspicuous than a giant paisley shawl, and hey- it's Europe. You'll probably be wearing light layers and a scarf anyway. This is my #1 trick I like to share with people. All the modesty, way quicker than "cloaking up", and looks like the baby is just snoozing on you. And yes, that is why I wore a scarf for pretty much the entire year of 2013.
GAP has these ones on sale that should do the trick.
THREE | DOUBLE'S TROUBLE
If you have more than one child, a double stroller can be a great thing on a day with lots of walking. On behalf of all the citizens of a large city, can I ask you a favor? Don't get a double-wide! The side-by-side strollers are great for surburban walking trails and amusement parks, but in cities where massive amounts of people use sidewalks? It's one of the worst offenses possible. It bottlenecks the traffic and people have to dodge around you to get past. Just trust me, a stadium seating stroller will save you annoyed glances and mumbled comments. Plus, the side-by-sides don't fit on buses!
The Baby Jogger City Select is what we bought. We love it, and it collapses in half quickly when you're in a pinch. Just make sure you check it when you fly. Airlines have broken two of ours from handling it when checking it at the gate, and airlines take no responsibility for them.
FOUR | URBAN JUNGLE GYM
Give your little a break and take advantage of the playgrounds and parks around the city. Not only is a great time for them to get out some energy, but they are typically in amazing places. It's fun for adults, too.
Some of our favorite places to let Viola play in Paris are the park alongside the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower, a tiny garden playground right next to the Pompidou, the playground at Place Des Vosges and a neighborhood park in the shadows of the Picasso Museum near our apartment.
FIVE | LIVE LOCAL
Hotels have some great amenities, but when traveling with a kid- renting an apartment is so nice. You can get cozy, have access to a fridge and food, and extra space to stretch out with little. Plus, the lower prices make it way more affordable. Almost all of them can provide you with a pack & play, if you request it in advance. We typically book through AirBnb or One Fine Stay.
SIX | PACK SOME SNACKS
Maybe this seems obvious, but I often forget. Meals are long and there is no "hold-over" food waiting for children once you're seated. No chips and salsa. No bread. No kids meal out early, It's a good habit to form, but it may save some sanity to have some small toys (we love finger puppets) and puffs or crackers to munch on while you wait.
There you have it. Six easy things to make your trip overseas a bit more doable... and, hopefully, a bit less hectic!
*all images via Aspiring Kennedy