Baby kneeling, packing the suitcase

Travelling with your baby doesn’t have to be stressful. Sadly, many parents make the trip a lot harder than it needs to be. Your baby has special needs that you probably take for granted, since everything you normally need is right at your fingertips. Not so when you’re on a long trip away from home. Minimise your stress, and keep your baby safe, by properly preparing for your trip.

Start Packing Several Days in Advance
Don’t wait until the last minute to pack. This is a huge mistake that many parents make. It also increases the likelihood that you’ll forget something important. Start out by taking an inventory of all of the things your baby uses every day. Mark down how important these items are and whether your baby could live without them for the duration of your trip.

Some items like:

  • Diapers / Nappies
  • Blankets
  • Plastic bags
  • Bottles
  • Tissues
  • Pacifiers
  • Favourite toys
  • Washable bibs
  • Formula
  • Breast pump
  • Inflatable crib
  • Collapsible stroller

These should be on that list. Anything else that your child can’t live without needs to be packed up too. Make a checklist of all items and check them off as they go into the suitcase.

Pack Each Day’s Clothes Separately
Another way you can dramatically cut down on the stress of travel is to pack each day’s clothes (for your baby) into separate resealable plastic bags. Then, you don’t have to go hunting for a small sock in the morning when you’ve got 10 others things that have to be done before you get on with the day’s events.

Bring Entertainment
Keeping your child entertained might mean the difference between having an enjoyable flight vs having every passenger on your plane angry with you. Entertainment is also a good thing on a long road trip. The longer your baby is entertained, the less time you have to spend stopping and dealing with a finicky baby.

Bring First-Aid
You never know what you’ll run into while you’re away from home. Plan for the worst, hope for the best. First-aid kits will contain all of the basics you might need, but don’t stop there. Be sure to pack a couple of bottles of Pedialyte too. Your child may get sick simply from the changing environment. For example, being around strange people on the plane (who may have a cold or flu that you don’t know about) exposes your baby to illness.┬áPedialyte will help restore much-needed nutrients if your child is sick. Another good “first-aid” measure is to bring all of the child’s normal medication as well as medication you might not use often – like Motrin.

Write Down Your Paediatricians’ Phone Number
Finally, there’s just no getting around the fact that your child might get sick and it will be beyond your ability to deal with it yourself. Always bring your child’s paediatrician’s phone number with you. He (or she) will be able to help you with any non-emergency.

Along with taking your paediatrician’s phone number with you, make sure you also scout the area where you’ll be staying for the nearest hospital. Drive down to it at least once (preferably several times) and locate the emergency room entrance. It seems like a simple thing to do, but the last thing you want is to have to figure all of this out in an actual emergency situation. Keep the address for the hospital in your mobile phone so you can easily map directions to it with your GPS.

Elizabeth Bailey is a travel consultant and a mum. She enjoys taking her little ones out for road trips. Her articles mainly appear on mother lifestyle blogs. Visit the Car Hire Australia for more information