The idea of travelling with your baby may feel a bit daunting, particularly if it is going to be a long journey – here are a few things that may help make your trip smoother and more enjoyable for everyone.
Long or short – it’s all about planning
Travelling with a baby or young child can be challenging, but with a little bit of forethought and planning everybody’s stress levels can be reduced – so whether you’re travelling by car, plane or public transport remember to:
- Give yourself lots of extra time
- Try to keep your trip simple
- Think about how you are going to feed, change and entertain your baby while travelling.
Travelling – by car
Whenever you’re travelling by car always make sure your baby is safely secured in a car seat or capsule appropriate to their age – remember it’s the law – no matter whose car you’re travelling in. For more information on car seats and child restraints, see Car Seats.
Other things that may be helpful include:
- Stopping regularly on long trips to give yourself time to stretch your legs, and feed your baby
- Being careful when travelling in hot weather – seat your baby on the shady side of the car or use window shades
- Don’t leave your baby alone in the car.
Travelling – on trains, buses and ferries
Using public transport can be a cheap and easy way to get about – to make traveling on a train, bus or ferry with a baby even easier remember to:
- Check the timetable first so you don’t have to wait too long – but give yourself enough time so you don’t have to rush or miss any connections
- Have the right money or travel card at hand so you don’t have to waste time or hold other passengers up rummaging through pockets or bags before getting on
- If you have a pram use the lifts or ramps to get to and from platforms, stops or wharves
- The safest way to get off a bus or train with a pram is to go backwards – while to get on and off a ferry it’s safest to fold down the pram and carry your baby across the gang way
- Remember you can always ask the transport staff or another passengers if you need some help.
Travelling – by plane
It’s always a good idea to check with your airline first before planning to fly with your baby:
- Airlines may not allow very young babies (under 7 days old) to fly without medical clearance
- Most airlines will let you take a car seat on board – but you will need to check with your airline – most airlines will also provide a bassinette (that fixes to the wall) for babies under 6 months, but you will need to book these in advance
- If you are going to be travelling on a long-haul flight – try to book a flight that fits in with your baby’s normal sleep times
- Most airlines will offer early boarding for people travelling with young children. Early boarding means you can get settled in your seat with less people around, but you may prefer to board later and enjoy some extra time off the plane with your little one
- Breast or bottle feeding, or giving your baby their pacifier during take-off and landing may help prevent ear problems
- Check if there are any restrictions on bringing baby products on board e.g. formula (either in powder or already prepared) or sterilised water.
Travelling – overseas
If you are travelling overseas with your baby here are a few things to be aware of before you go:
- Baby equipment safety standards, such as those for car seats and cots, may not be the same as in Australia
- If breastfeeding, check for any local laws or cultural norms about breastfeeding in public
- Remember your baby will need a passport and appropriate visas too
- If you are travelling alone with your baby some countries may require extra documents – so check with the embassy, high commission or consulate before you travel.
Travelling can be a stressful process at the best of times and when you’ve got a little one it can feel a whole lot harder – but just because you have a baby it doesn’t mean you’ve to be stuck at home. With a little preparation and planning everyone gets the chance to relax and enjoy the journey.