Monday, May 18, 2015

Tips for traveling with a 6 month old baby (DC, NYC + more)

We survived traveling with a baby! A flight across the country with a 6 month old and 6 states visited in 6 days! If you're a traveling fanatic like me who wants to travel with a baby, trust me, it can be done!! While planning I asked my friends and googled things like "tips for flying with babies" "what to pack for a 6 month old on vacation" or "how to travel with children" - I've learned some things so I thought I would share my findings!

"All this, for me!?"

A quick rundown of our trip:
  • We flew Seattle to Baltimore, rented a car from Nextcar (which we loved... Awesome price and great customer service) then drove to DC/Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. 
  • I coordinated his eating times for take off and landing so he could have a bottle and be distracted from the ear pressure. 
  • We checked his car seat for free, but I bought a rolling car seat bag on Amazon for help in the airport and to protect the car seat a little 
  • From the bag drop to the airplane we kept him in a jogging stroller. They took it in the jetway and then gave it right back when we landed. 
  • Going through security I had a sealed water bottle to mix some formula but I also brought some of the pre-made formula. Both were fine by TSA they just had to take it away for a minute and look at it (without breaking the seal)
  • I brought my ergo carrier but only used it once (on the beach) everywhere else (DC, zoo, baseball game, NYC) the stroller was fine. We just had to carry the stroller up and down some stairs like in the subway especially, no biggie.
  • When we got to the hotel (who online said cribs were available) they told us they had all been reserved already. They somehow found an extra but my advice is to call the hotel in advance to reserve one FOR SURE.
  • In DC we did drive into the city, but we went later than the peak times to avoid traffic. We stayed in Camp Springs and then drove about 25 minutes into DC around 10am and just stayed till 7pm. The traffic there is nothing like NYC so you can definitely drive in DC and find parking for about $25 a day. We used an app called "spotnow" to see what was available and for how much. Also check and see what time the garage closes for the day because they're all different.

(Thank goodness he slept in the stroller!! Sleeping through the white house visit :)

For our NYC day we drove to the Penn Station in Newark, NJ (A little ghetto, just gotta look past it) - parked our car for about $20 for the whole day and took the Path train into Manhattan to the World Trade Center Station. That's a new facility there and it's sparkly white and clean!!  
    • The path train cost $3.75 per person each way, and the baby was free. (Subway/Path train is the cheapest way to travel if you ask me)
    • In all the underground there are service doors so you can push the stroller right through. Always be looking for the wheelchair signs because that's where strollers will fit.
    • Also, not all subway stations have elevators. When you look at the subway map, it might be easiest to use ones with that wheelchair symbol because then you can get up to the street level with your stroller on the elevator. 


Baby travel must haves to buy in advance: 
  • Binkies clips and toy clips. Keeping the toys attached to the stroller or car seat saved me a lot of germ heartache, like not having toys and binkies fall on the ground in dirty places like the NYC subway. These are from Amazon: 
  • Diaper bag must haves just in case: Gas drops, baby tylonel, nose frida with boogie mist, baby sunscreen. I think we used all of these things while on the trip!
  • Disposable diaper bags.  If you're changing diapers in public you might not have a trashcan near by and you don't want to carry unprotected poopy diapers with you for very long, hehe. 
  • Changing pad - our diaper bag has one built in but it came in very handy. I had to change our baby all over the place.... in corners away from everyone, on a park bench, etc. and it was nice to put down so I wasn't laying him directly on a gross surface. Don't judge me for changing him in public... there isn't always a bathroom with a changing table around!!


These two tips are for formula only babies:
  1. Bring a Thermos for warm water for bottles. My son will drink it room temp, but things are much easier with warm water. We would fill up the thermos at the beginning of each day and bring it with us so we didn't have to worry about finding clean warm water. 
  2. Bottle brush and dish soap. Just like at home I made a little bottle washing station where we were staying so I could clean the bottles real well. 


IN CONCLUSION:

Pros of traveling with a baby:
  • MOST people are extra nice and generous to you because you have a baby
  • It's actually quite convenient to have a stroller to load everything into, versus carrying your purse, water, etc. on your own!
  • you're teaching baby what "normal" is so if you start em young they will be used to traveling... or at least that's the idea, right? :)
  • amazing family memories!! I do not regret taking our baby at all... we had so much fun with him. 

Cons of traveling with a baby (neither of which are the end of the world)
  • Diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, outfits, binkies, toys, etc. We had to pack about 10x more than usual to accommodate a baby
  • More breaks for feedings and changing diapers
Abraham Lincoln with our son, Lincoln!

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