How to Survive Traveling with Babies and Young Children

Taking to the skies or hitting the road can be stressful enough, thanks to rules, regulations and restrictions. Add a baby to the mix and traveling can be downright intimidating. But guess what, mama? It doesn’t have to be! My kids (now ages 8 and almost 6) can:

  • handle car rides like champs
  • conquer plane flights
  • navigate airports and car rental facilities
  • manage public restrooms like pros
  • hold conversations with people
  • order for themselves at restaurants

Sure, we still have our challenges, but we can handle situations better because we started our travel routine when the kiddos were just babies. Trust me, it gets better! You don’t have to give up your Summer travel plans just because you have children in tow. I’m going to share my tips for successfully navigating flights and road trips with a few helpful gadgets and tricks I couldn’t live without.


Our first trip was a 7-hour drive for a reunion on my side of the family. Just like every new mom, I was struggling to decide what to pack. If you’re driving with a newborn, here’s what I’m going to tell you: pack everything that can fit in your car! Seriously. When you roll up to your hotel, you’re going to get a cart anyway to carry your luggage, right? I don’t care if you’re staying for one night or five: pack as much as you feel comfortable. Because it’s better to overpack than having to take a last-minute Target run for wipes, diapers, ointment, toys, etc. So pack everything. 

Pro Tip: buy the big packs of diapers and wipes at Sam’s Club or Costco and stuff those bad boys in every crevice, pocket and consol your car has to offer! Wipes are great for cleaning messy faces, spills and everything in-between. 


Before you hit the road, try timing your departure with baby’s nap schedule or earlier in the morning while they’re still sleeping, or consider driving at night during baby’s normal bedtime.
Install a mirror for the backseat so you can keep an eye on your baby from the front (since it’s recommended for kiddos to sit rear-facing until at least age 3.)

We would let our little guy sleep as long as he wanted. When he woke up, we would find a rest stop, take him out of his car seat and have a nice, long stretch. We played with him and interacted with him, and of course, fed and changed him. After he had a good break, we buckled him in and rolled out. We would drive until he woke up again or got fussy. It’s also important to take breaks to reduce the risk of flat head syndrome. Baby-wearing and tummy time (when out of the car, of course) are keys to prevention.

You also may want to invest in a portable diaper changing pad for rest stops, restaurants or gas station restrooms. 🤢 IYKYK. 

Pro Tip: let all the expectations go! Don’t be in a hurry or have a strict schedule for the first few road trips. It’ll mean less stress for you. Plan for several stops or a change in itinerary. 


One of the biggest takeaways I hope you gain from reading this post is to give yourself some grace. I was so worried about what other people thought – especially during hotel stays. Guess what? Your baby is going to cry. He/she might throw a fit, get really fussy and loud. Maybe scream. And it’s okay. 

Try using a sound machine for a little white noise. Use blackout curtains or even put your baby in the bathroom (yes, really!) to have a quiet, dark, separate place. You can request a hotel crib (BYOB – bring your own bedding) and keep it in the bathroom, walk-in closet or a nook in the corner. Be sure to set the thermostat to a comfortable 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (an ideal temperature range for babies, according to the Sleep Foundation).

Remember: your priority is your baby and caring for your loved ones. Let go of worrying about everyone’s opinions. Lower your expectations. If a hotel guest is bothered, they can always ask to switch rooms. 
Pro Tip: Ask for a corner room so you only have one other room next to you. Corner rooms also tend to be farthest from loud elevators. If a corner room isn’t available, you can pack a white noise machine or play quiet music on your phone to drown out noisy neighbors.


Deep breath. I know the thought of booking flights, packing suitcases, and lugging strollers and carseats around an airport can be overwhelming. Remember: you got this!

Generally, airports are less crowded earlier in the morning and early flights are less likely to have travel delays. If you can, book your trip during this time.
For our first flight, I ditched the stroller system and opted for an umbrella stroller and an Ergobaby Backpack. I love this one, found on Amazon.

My son was already accustomed to and enjoyed being close to me. I encourage you to start babywearing when your kiddo is young, because they get used to it and you can be hands-free.

The Federal Aviation Administration highly recommends purchasing a ticket for your baby and placing him or her in a rear-facing car seat for safety reasons, especially when unexpected turbulence hits. However, children under age 2 can fly for free if they sit on your lap. That’s what I chose, because I wanted him close to me and it was comforting. We checked the car seat at the gate and tucked our umbrella stroller inside the car seat bag. I love this one because it protects our booster or car seats from scrapes and it’s compact.

Inside our carry-ons, I packed lots of extra clothes, diapers and wipes, plus ointments, creams, pacifiers and toys. Don’t forget any medication and lots of hand sanitizer.

Pro Tip: we always rented a car when we arrived at our destination and I always brought our own car seat with us, rather than using a booster seat from a rental company. That way, I could verify its safety and I didn’t have to pay extra money just to rent one.


Every mama’s journey is different. For me, I was blessed to be able to nurse my children. It made traveling so much more convenient. I didn’t have bottles to clean and I didn’t have to deal with a pump. So I was breastfeeding on-demand.

If you are pumping or bottle-feeding, you are allowed to pack supplies and formula/breast milk in your checked bag. If you put them in your carry-on bag, there are things you need to know before you reach the TSA security checkpoint. These tips are updated as of May 2023.

  • Formula, breast milk, toddler drinks and baby puree pouches are allowed in your carry-on bag. These items are considered medically necessary liquids.
  • That also applies to breast milk and formula cooling accessories like ice packs, freezer packs and gel packs (regardless of presence of breast milk).
  • Your child or infant does NOT need to be present or traveling with you to have those items in your carry-on!
  • Pack liquids into a clear Ziploc bag to prevent spillage and making the security process smooth.
    Tell the TSA officer that you are carrying liquid feeding items. Take them out of your carry-on bag to be screened separately.

More TSA breast milk and formula tips can be found here! 

I packed my pump and pump parts in my suitcase. Medela makes really great cleaning wipes and sprays that make it convenient to keep pump accessories clean when you travel. If you forget to bring an ice pack to keep milk cool, head to an airport restaurant and ask for a bag of ice. 

Try to hold off on feeding your baby until closer to takeoff. The cabin pressure can hurt their ears, so to relieve the discomfort, offer your baby a breast, bottle of pacifier during takeoff and the initial descent. Hopefully, baby will be content with a full belly and doze right off to sleep.
Pro tip: If you plan to fly more than once a year, look into enrolling in TSA PreCheck. It’s $78 for five years. Children 12 and under can join a parent with TSA PreCheck in the dedicated lanes. Plus, you don’t have to remove your shoes, laptop, belt, light jacket or 3-1-1 liquids while going through security

So these are some ways I make traveling with my kids a little smoother. Just remember: give yourself a little extra time, go over the logistics beforehand, and don’t worry about other passengers. Spend your time and energy making sure your baby is comfortable. Don’t forget to pack your patience and a lot of love.

NOTE: I am not an expert in baby development, nor am I a doctor.  These tips worked best for me and my family and I’m encouraging you to give traveling a try, but at the end of the day, you have to make that decision! Every baby is different. Good luck, mama and reach out if you need more travel ideas.

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*Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, I'm not Jesus and I'm not perfect. These are my experiences. You must do what's best for you and your family. You do you, but you must consult your own medical experts.
The information on this website and all associated social media accounts is not intended to be used as health, fitness, mental health or medical advice. I am not a doctor nor a registered dietitian. If  you have a health, medical or mental health problem or are in need of any help, please contact a professional. ALWAYS consult your doctor before taking any vitamins/supplements or starting a new diet or exercise program.

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