Recently, a few people have asked me questions about traveling abroad with a baby, so I thought I'd put together a post. I wrote another list of travel tips after our trip to Ireland last year. Check that out for more tips!
When we decided to take Maggie to Italy with us at 9 months, a lot of people said we were crazy. Travel is something that I love & something that I really look forward to doing with my growing family. The trip was wonderful. The Italians love babies & everywhere we went we heard "bella bambina!". Maggie celebrated her first Thanksgiving in Italy & we had a week full of family memories.
Here are some tips from our trip to Florence & Rome:
Try to fly an airline that has bassinets available. You don't have to buy the baby a ticket, but most airlines offer bassinets to lap children on long flights. If you're not familiar with them, they hook into the wall of the bulk head seats. This was a life saver. It keeps them safe & snug & I think the vibration of the wall/ sound is like a magic sound machine. Maggie fell asleep 5 min after take off & I woke her up right before landing so they could stow the bassinet.
We flew Luftansa & they serve baby food on board. Check with your airline before packing a ton for the flight.
Buy books as souvenirs. As they grow, it's a great reminder of the places they have traveled. We love to read our Snow White book that's all in Italian.
Changing Diapers: A lot of places outside the US do NOT have baby changing stations in public restrooms. I am very glad I read that before going to Italy. Bring changing pads, disposable changing pads etc. I packed some that were a little thicker/softer since most changing was done on the ground.
Most places we went did not have a highchair. We ate out for every meal for a week & we had a highchair twice. This little seat folds up really small.
Get a great carrier. Having a stroller is not always easy while traveling. For example: on cobble stone streets in Florence.
I carried Maggie in the Lille Baby while in Italy & loved it. She faced out & saw the action for a few hours of touring & then I would turn her around & she would sleep for hours. We often joke that Maggie slept her way through Italy.
Do activities for them, even if they are babies. When you travel abroad, you often have days jam packed with sightseeing & tours. Make a point to pick a few activities just geared towards the little ones. Even if it's an afternoon at a park or for Maggie: riding the carousel in Piazza Republica.
Don't freak over germs. I read this on a travel blog before I left for Italy & I kept reminding myself throughout the trip. They need time to crawl around & it's probably going to be on a hotel or museum floor. Wash their hands. They will survive.
Maggie was itching to get out of the carrier when we got to one of my favorite places in Italy: Piazza del Campo in Siena. It's always packed with tourists & pigeons & the thought of her crawling grossed me out. But she had the best time & this is one of my favorite pictures from our trip.
When in Rome: I'm pretty certain Italians feed babies pizza & gelato from birth. Everywhere we went waiters brought out bowls of gelato for our bella bambina. At first I thought: "I can't give icecream to a 9 month old!", but hey, "when in Rome". This is what her eyes looked like one of the first times she tasted gelato:
Eat in. Resturants with babies can get exhausting. A whole week can be really tough. We decided to "eat in" one night at the hotel. We got dinner & wine from an amazing pizzeria & had a picnic in our hotel room. It was a great break for all of us.
Relax & enjoy. Down the road (even just a couple years later) you won't remember the frustrating parts about the trip. You'll be making memories that you will share with that little one as they grow.
Every time we see a fountain, Maggie says "remember you took me to Italy & showed me all the giant fountains?"