Traveling with baby isn’t always easy, but it is definitely always an adventure. Dana Dee Kelly has spent the past year traveling the world with her infant, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. We sat down with Dana to hear about her adventures and to get some of her best tips for traveling with baby.
In this interview, Dana will share some of the things she has learned from traveling with baby.
How old is your little lady?
Did you travel a lot before you had a baby?
Yes! My husband and I take at least one big international trip a year, along with lots of smaller ones, and I travel every month for work. In the last couple of years we’ve been to Japan, China, Hong Kong, Italy, and Mexico - plus all over California, Colorado, and New York.
Did you always plan to travel a lot after baby?
Travelling is a huge part of my life, and something I really love to do. I was terrified that having a child would make it so difficult and expensive that I would have to give it up for a while (I’m still scared of that, actually). So my plan was to start traveling with my baby early, kind of like ripping the band-aid off.
Where have you traveled so far with baby?
So far, my little love has traveled with me from Houston to Los Angeles (twice), New York City (twice) San Francisco, Austin (just a drive), and Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe, and Fussa). We have another trip to NYC coming up in two weeks, as well.
What is your favorite thing about traveling with baby?
I love that I get to have her with me, even when I’m traveling for work. When we travel as a family, it’s fun to watch how our habits and routines change, and to get to solve new problems together, like trying to fit all the baby stuff into a carry-on!
What is one thing you can’t do without when traveling with baby?
Our baby carrier! We use the Baby Bjorn Carrier One Air (it’s the mesh version so it keeps us all a little cooler). It’s useful on the plane when I need my hands, or if she gets fussy and needs to be walked around. It’s also way easier to navigate cities, buses, and trains with a baby carrier than it is with a bulky stroller. We didn’t even take a stroller to Japan. We just carried her everywhere and she LOVED it.
What is your favorite travel memory so far?
At three months we took her to Japan to meet her dad’s side of the family. It was so special to watch her “talk” with her great-grandmother every morning, and to see her grandpa rocking her to sleep at night. Jet lag was difficult, but so so worth it.
What is the biggest challenge of traveling with baby?
For us, it’s sleep. Our little one has never been a great sleeper, and when we’re traveling a lot it’s hard to get her into a good routine. Naps aren’t on time, and sleeping conditions aren’t always ideal. It takes a whole lot of trial and error, and flexibility. In hotels, we request a crib, but sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to get, so we take a portable crib. Our Lotus travel crib has a bassinet option and it fits in a backpack and in an overhead bin. It was awesome when we were traveling around Japan and staying in airbnbs.
How do you make time for yourself when traveling?
Honestly, I’m not great at this. I think the best answer is, I take help. Having someone travel with you, who can take over for a little bit really helps if you need a nap, or an uninterrupted meal. But for sites and activities I’m interested in, I just strap her into her Bjorn and take her with me.
What tips do you have for getting organized and traveling with babies?
Make a list, and use it! I double check everything, and count how many bags I have before I leave. When I get in the car, I count again, and again at the airport, before and after security, and when I land.
I carry a backpack diaper bag, and I use a lot of smaller bags inside it to keep little things like medicine and pacifiers organized. Everything I need on the airplane has an easily accessible place, so I don’t have to search for it (burb rags, wipes, diapers, toys, and a change of clothes).
I also keep a home set and travel set of things like medicine, pacifiers, bottles, and toiletries, so I don’t have to repack all the time. This also reduces the chance that I’ll forget something!
Being a new mom can be exciting, overwhelming and sometimes a little lonely. This new blog series from Under the Nile is designed to showcase real stories from new moms. Twice a month, we will introduce you to a new mom and give you an inside look at her world. Our goal is to add a little inspiration to your already busy lives.
Check back regularly to explore more stories from new moms!