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International travel with an infant

somemomsomemom 10904 replies327 threads Senior Member
I'm collecting suggestions and stories about travel abroad with a baby, say 4-6 months old. What made it easier for you?
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Replies to: International travel with an infant

  • oldfortoldfort 23110 replies294 threads Senior Member
    Great above advice. I used travel with both of kids starting at 3 months. I always made sure I had enough formula/food in case of flight delay. I also tried to feed the baby during take off and landing (easier on their ears and also not crying). I tried to sit in business if possible, otherwise get an extra seat if I was traveling by myself. I really didn't find it that difficult. Both of my kids traveled well.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 22654 replies237 threads Senior Member
    edited January 5
    +1 to nursing or bottles on takeoff and landing, changes of clothes for everyone, more diapers than you think you'll need (for unexpected delays).

    Google the cup on the ears trick, an old flight attendant trick for blocked ears.

    Bring items to entertain the baby on the flight. Board books, small toys, favorite blanket/stuffed animal.

    On our many travels with our children starting at a young age, we've found that most of the world enjoys and responds to children better than Americans. Traveling with children makes things different but not worse. Just take a more relaxed pace to travel.

    We always traveled with an umbrella stroller. Compact, easy to fold up and stow. In many countries, accessibility with strollers is not as easy as in the USA. It made me have new appreciation and sympathy for disabled people.

    We preferred renting apartments and homes over hotels to have the extra space, kitchen and laundry facilities.
    edited January 5
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  • LizardlyLizardly 2540 replies11 threads Senior Member
    I remember traveling internationally with a six month old. Most of my advice has been given: nurse (and if you are not nursing bring bottle supplies and be prepared to use them freely), extra clothes, umbrella stroller, upgraded seats/business class.

    A few other odd bits of advice: I wore loose clothing and pants I could pull down with one hand in case I had to pee alone; in general, I thought about how to do things one handed; family bathrooms are great as are airport nurseries where you might be able to lie down (do they still exist? I recall a great one in Switzerland).

    I tried hard to keep my babies from crying and disturbing people, but honestly, when I fly near a baby, I don't mind crying. It isn't my baby.
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  • thumper1thumper1 76432 replies3379 threads Senior Member
    Check with your airlines. Some will not any longer allow strollers to be carried on a plane. They will gate check them for you...but now in most places, items gate checked are picked up at the baggage claim.

    I second getting a baby carrier...we didn’t travel abroad, but did fly with our very young kids domestically. It was great to have a carrier...and thus use of my hands!

    +3 or how many to bottle feeding or nursing during takeoff. If a long flight, make sure you have sufficient baby foods and drinks with you. We used powdered formula on trips because it was way easier than trying to keep bottles cold and fresh.

    Bring sufficient bags to dispose of diapers, and ask the flight attendants where to put these. We found the attendants were very helpful.
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 723 replies17 threads Member
    Lizardly wrote: »
    I tried hard to keep my babies from crying and disturbing people, but honestly, when I fly near a baby, I don't mind crying. It isn't my baby.

    100% agree. I try to offer to help. I try to tell moms or dads who look flustered that it’s ok and no one will be mad at them. Babies cry. 🤷‍♀️
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  • blossomblossom 10149 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Cash in whatever currency you need when you arrive, and dollars. Nobody carries cash anymore.... but you aren't tipping a porter at a train station overseas by swiping your phone or card. When you need a cup of coffee at 4 am in your hotel room and the hotel restaurant doesn't open until 6 and you've just persuaded the desk clerk to make you a cup and bring it upstairs to you (because room service is closed, and you can't leave a sleeping infant to go downstairs to get it) you will be glad for a few euros or whatever in your pocket.

    Old clothes. I remember the "good enough to wash the car in" sweatpants, etc. that I abandoned overseas. You will be grateful to be making the return trip with less stuff than you started with, and you won't miss the old stuff which will be dirty, smelly, and not fit for company anyway.

    ziplock bags and a full set of plastic utensils. You'll be eating more meals in your room than you think, especially if the baby is monstrously jetlagged. The first time I paid $2 for the plastic fork and knife at an overseas grocery store (y'know, the ones that are FREE in the US where you can take a dozen at a time with nobody blinking) was the LAST time I traveled without my own set of "rinse and go" plastics.

    Individually wrapped gourmet type chocolates. Anyone stuck in the seat next to me with a cranky baby got chocolates. Any bus driver who put the bus into park, got out and carried my diaper bag and stroller up the steps got chocolates. The teenager who played peek-a-boo in an endless immigration line got chocolates. These are the people you can't tip (see suggestion number one) but want to show some appreciation to.....
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  • JustaMomJustaMom 2802 replies99 threads Senior Member
    My recent Air New Zealand flight to London had those attachable bassinets that snapped to the bulkhead wall - several babies on that flight, all seemed content.

    I swore by my umbrella stroller and front baby carrier (like a flexible backpack you wear on your front) - that let my hands be free.

    I did a lot of reading of favorite stories aloud.

    Take deep breaths and have fun!
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  • mommdcmommdc 11755 replies31 threads Senior Member
    I flew internationally with a 3 months old. She was strapped into her infant car seat in the plane, and slept most of the flight. I nursed her at takeoff and landing, to help with the pressure in her ears. She was a very good traveler. We asked for the bulkhead seat to have more legroom.
    I gate checked the stroller that the car seat attached to.
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  • one1ofeachone1ofeach 723 replies17 threads Member
    Oh!! Important tip more upon arrival than mid travel. Your baby might adjust to the new time right away or be on US time the whole time and refuse to switch. Our international travel was all to Europe to visit family (grandmother visited every summer). So my kids just stayed on est. It allowed them to handle the late dinners that are more standard in Europe.

    Fighting against baby’s jet lag or trying to get baby on a schedule when there’s a 6+ hour time difference is something that might make a mom crazyyyyyyy!!

    Maybe pack melatonin for you.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 22654 replies237 threads Senior Member
    I guess we were fortunate but our kids adapted to changes in time zones much more easily than us parents. I think they tuned into the daylight/dark as signals more readily than we did.
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  • oldfortoldfort 23110 replies294 threads Senior Member
    My kids also didn't have any problem changing time. I used to travel with them to HKG, HI and Europe quite a bit.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8672 replies77 threads Senior Member
    I think babies are easy to travel with. It's when they are toddlers/pre-schoolers that it can become more difficult on long flights.

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  • aquaptaquapt 2281 replies47 threads Senior Member
    edited January 5
    Emphatically seconding the complete change of clothing for you. I thought a spare shirt would be enough. It wasn't. You don't want details. :lol:

    (The same child who detonated in-flight was also *not* adaptable to jetlag. It's luck-of-the-draw on that front, just as it is with the whims of their various sphincters. I'm going to step away from this discussion before the flashbacks worsen... good luck!!!)
    edited January 5
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  • doschicosdoschicos 22654 replies237 threads Senior Member
    edited January 5
    aquapt wrote: »
    It's luck-of-the-draw on that front, just as it is with the whims of their various sphincters.


    My motto was always hope for the best but prepare for the worst! Like a general going to war. :)

    I remember traveling with my young kids once and bailing out another mom because she brought absolutely nothing to entertain and feed her child on a 9 hour flight and that boy was not a happy camper (and neither were their seat mates because of it).

    edited January 5
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8672 replies77 threads Senior Member
    I would also echo the sentiments to bring more than you think you'll need for the flight in terms of changes of clothes, diapers, food. Sometimes delays can be lengthy. Be sure to have everything you need in a carry on if you have a connection too just in case of cancellation.
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  • milee30milee30 2283 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Listen to the tips, but the most important tip is to know your own kid. They're all sooooo different that knowing your kid will help you know which of the tips might work.

    My kids were opposites in many ways. One was a very tough baby at home - fussy, needed constant attention, colicky, hardly slept. But was always a wonderful traveler. The extra stimulation of travel and all the mechanics associated with it were mesmerizing and apparently soothing - or pleasingly overwhelming - for him. He was always quiet and perfectly happy as long as one of us was wearing him in the front pack. (He was about three years old before he stopped screaming every second he was in a car seat, so let that mental image help you understand how rare it was for him to be calm and quiet ever.) He didn't cry on planes - again as long as he was being held - and slept more than normal. Just a dream traveler, the best.

    My other son was a very easy kid. Generally happy, slept well and long, didn't need any special handling. Drop him on his head and he didn't fuss. But this was at home. Try to travel with him and all bets were off. He hated the front pack that had made his brother so happy, instead preferring the back pack. Unlike at home, when we traveled he'd be fussy and uncomfortable with not much that would calm him. One of the things that did calm him is if we just held him and let him cry for a few minutes and he'd go down. If we tried to sing, talk to him, look at him, bounce him, walk, or anything other than just hold him, he'd cry even longer. So although I know it looked to outsiders that there were times we weren't "doing anything" what we were doing - holding him, ignoring him while he cried for a couple of minutes was actually the best way to get him to quiet quickly.

    I still traveled regularly with both of them, including to Europe where we have relatives. But both needed very different things and reacted very differently. Think about what soothes your baby and ignore the other advice.
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  • MassmommMassmomm 4086 replies84 threads Senior Member
    Buy a seat for the baby. Always.
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  • milee30milee30 2283 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Always. Unless yours is a baby that cries if you put him/her in a car seat. Again, do what works for your baby.
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