People often ask us about how we travel with our little Jaś; is it tiresome? Can you relax? Is it not too exhausting for the child? For some, the idea of traveling with a young baby is terrifying – but the truth is that it’s probably the easiest time to travel with a baby. When he’s older we’ll be stuck running after him on the plane, coming up with endless games to keep him occupied, or answering one million for the same question: “are we there yet?”
Our first time on a plane with Jasiek was when he was only 7 weeks old. The next flight, when he was 3 months old. And on those trips there were a number of multi-hour car rides. The beginnings were chaotic – too much luggage, loads of unnecessary things brought, mess in the bags which involved repeatedly searching them at the airport for a change of clothes or a diaper. From the first trip to the second, then third, we have better organized our travels and quickly learned what works and what does not when travelling with a child. Today we already know that we have 6 things without which we do not move on a trip with a baby!
1. Pram + Car Seat
Your pram choice is probably one of the most important factors to make travelling with a child smooth. We use the Cybex Priam Lux pram and we believe its one of the best prams on the European market. It’s not only super stable, and safe for our child, but also ideal for travel; relatively lightweight, and above all easy and fast to fold and unfold (even with one hand). Changing the child’s seat to a gondola or a stroller takes seconds, you can do it with one hand while holding the baby in the other. It packs very flat, so it does not take up too much space in the trunk of your car and in addition, it works well on all surfaces – we take it to town, go for walks in the forest and to the beach on very soft sand.
On our first flight, with Jasiek at 7 weeks old we brought both the gondola and car seat options for our pram. The gondola we folded up flat and packed as checked in luggage, the car seat attaches to the pram so we used that as the pram all the way to the plane and had it checked in at the plane door by the airline staff. Airlines will typically have extra luggage allowance for infants – check the airline’s website as we discovered lots of European airlines take the prams and seats for free (or even a baby bed).
Why do we take a car seat with us, do you ask? We do a lot of driving in rental cars on our drips so we take the safety and comfort of Jaś very seriously. By renting a car seat with a car we do not know what model we will get and how previous users used it. When we bring our our, we know that our Cybex Cloud Q is one of the safest car seat models on the market. In addition, our boy is very used to his seat, feels safe in it, and when we go we have more flexibility in what we take for a walk – whether gondolas, or a child seat, which folds down into the lying position and clicks on to the pram in a second.
2. The Nest
For sleeping, we always bring with us The Nest by Done by Dear, but there are plenty of companies on the market that produce these styles of beds. It’s a much more lightweight and compact choice than a tourist bed and it works fantastic. Instead of an extra 15-17kg, we have a lightweight, soft package that can be packed into a suitcase or a gondola. It’s perfect for putting the baby to sleep on a bed so he can’t roll out.
Na miejscu mały śpi w gniazdku, w łóżku razem z nami, ale jest bezpieczny, a my możemy spać spokojnie.
Just before Jasiek was born, we we were given a set of large swaddles from Aden & Anais – this was one of the best gifts to receive (allegedly even Kate Middelton is using them)! We use them almost every day, and are perfect for traveling because they are lightweight, take up little space and dry quickly after washing. Our swaddles are large, so you can use them in many ways. I primarily use them to make it easier to feed Jaś in public. It is important to remember that during take-off and landing on a plane you should feed your baby – to prevent their ears popping during takeoff/landing which will make them very uncomfortable for the flight. Thanks to these swaddles, Jasiek and I have a bit of privacy while feeding on an airplane, but also at the airport or somewhere else where the little man gets hungry.
Secondly, we use them as a light blanket during warm days when Jasiek is sleeping in his pram. As a result, the baby does not overheat, but it is sheltered from the wind and from the sun. Thirdly, if your baby likes to sleep with things wrapped around him, you can make a swaddling wrap that will keep him feeling safe in his sleep.
4. Inflatable Bathtub
Baby bathing on the go is often a problem for parents. Baths, even the travel versions, take up a lot of space, so if you are taking it on a plane, it’s hard to find the space to bring it with you. Booking the hotels we are never sure if the room will have a bath or shower and how clean it will be in the bathroom. We personally like Jasiek has his own, proven bathing place where he feels safe and comfortable, to make sure bath time is still a fun experience for him. For this reason we always take with us an inflatable BestWay bath. It is available in Smyk or Allegro (where it costs literally $5). It is inflatable in less than a minute, light and easy to transport as it rolls up very small. Jasiek loves water fun in it. As for us – it’s the ideal solution as the sides are soft for Jasiek, and it’s easy to trim the level of water in the bath by bending one of the sidewalls.
Baby carriers are a somewhat controversial subject, but we honestly wouldn’t travel without them. They are especially useful at the airport, when maneuvering between the checkin and security gates, and if you need your hands free for other reasons at the airport. On our first flight, Jasiek was small and we decided not to bring the carrier with us. It was a mistake! The security controls can be really unhelpful when you have to dismantle a pram to put through the x-ray machine one handed while holding the baby! After one horrible experience in Spain we decided we’d always bring the baby carrier with us! We use the ergonomic carrier by Tula Baby (you can start using it with newborns when you have the newborn head insert). Jasiek loves them and falls asleep on mummy in a few seconds. This particular model has a very wide leg support so that his hips are very well supported the entire time he’s in the carrier.
6. Beach Tent
As our trips are often associated with Sean’s windsurfing competitions, we spend a lot of time at the beach, mostly when there’s strong wind blowing. You can go crazy trying to protect the little one from the sun, the wind and the sand! And whereabouts in all this is there a spot for a bit of relaxation? Before the last trip on Costa Brava we bought a TriBord beach tent from Decathlon which has a UV filter – turned out to be a perfect and extremely cheap! You can pitch the tent with one hand (it folds out like an umbrella) and it’s fully open on one side so the child doesn’t “cook” without air when it’s hot. The walled side with its UV filter protects the baby both in the sun and against the wind. The tent also has a ‘floor’ which minimises the amoutn of sand that gets inside. It easily folds and breaks, takes up little space and is very light. We pack a regular exercise (yoga) mat, a beach towel, and we are ready to cheer on our dad!
Every trip is a new experience for us and always unforgettable moments. We can not imagine skipping any travel because of the baby. On the contrary, we are dreaming that our travel bug will also infect Jaś and he continues our passion for traveling. Each trip teaches us how to prepare and organise better, but these few months with the little monster has shown us that it is all right! In November we will have a long flight to Australia and sincerely… We can not wait.