Thinking about going on a vacation overseas with a young baby? Your friends and family will say, "You're crazy." We say, "Go for it!" International travel with an infant isn't easy, but it's simpler than you think. Although your little one won't remember the experience, you'll always treasure your memories of baby's first trip. Here are seven tips for traveling with your baby.
Many new parents think they should wait nine or even 12 months before going on a big trip. But traveling with a squirming, crawling baby - or a toddler - is much more challenging than with a babe in arms. At three to six months, your baby is less fragile than a newborn, but is still easy to wrangle.
He or she can advise you if your baby's old enough and well enough to travel, and if any extra vaccinations are suggested. Your doctor can also offer suggestions for keeping your baby healthy on the trip, including medications to pack.
If you're traveling internationally with your baby, she needs a passport. Make an appointment at your nearest passport acceptance center for a time when your baby will be calm and alert, because for the passport photo she must be looking at the camera with eyes open - and not screaming. Read the passport requirements for minors first.
When it comes to international travel with an infant, there's no such thing as over packing. If you think you'll need 10 outfits, pack 15. Remember that basic baby items such as formula or diapers may not be available where you're staying, or may be prohibitively expensive. The Transportation Security Administration will let you bring bottles on board, but read the guidelines for traveling with children first.
While the car seat can be awkward to carry, you'll need it for safe travel at your destination. Most airlines will let you check your car seat at the gate for no additional fee.
You'll be surprised by how gracious most people are when they see you're traveling with a baby. Return the favor: If your baby wails during takeoff, offer some earplugs to your seatmates. And if your baby disturbs people in the room adjoining yours, it might be nice to send them a bottle of wine.
Most hotels and resorts charge nothing, or a nominal fee, for bringing a baby with you. Make sure you inform the hotel in advance so you can get the amenities you need, such as a crib and refrigerator in the room. If you ask nicely (and if your baby's really cute) the manager may even upgrade you to a bigger room or one in a more convenient location.