Andrew and I have done a couple trips with baby O at this point, and we’ve already learned a few things about how traveling with a baby is different from our before-kids days.
Before kids: Rent a car and drive everywhere.
After kids: Fly when you can. We still do a good bit of driving, but we often fly when it will save time. Since we don’t own a car, flying can sometimes equal the cost of a rental car. So if there’s a choice between a long drive and a short flight, we pick the flight. This has to do with our kid in particular too—he’s great on flights but really hates riding in the car for more than an hour or so.
Before kids: Travel to 3 or 4 cities per trip, usually staying at a destination for 2 or 3 nights before moving onto the next.
After kids: Choose 1 or 2 destinations per trip and spend 4 nights to a week at each. It’s so much easier to have a home base with baby where you can have all of his stuff set up and he can have a familiar environment for at least a few nights in a row. It also saves you having to pack and unpack allll his stuff over and over.
Before kids: Stay at hotels
After kids: Stay at rental homes or hotels like the Residence Inn that include separate bedrooms and kitchens. Having separate space with baby is so important. We booked a typical hotel room once and quickly realized that after he went to bed at 7:30pm, our options were freeze on our balcony with a laptop and blankets or huddle in the dark with him. We absolutely need a separate sleeping area so that we have a living room to relax in after he goes to bed at night.
Having a full kitchen is also a must for storing baby’s bottles and making him meals and snacks. You try stuffing bottles into those mini fridges!
Before kids: Carry on bags only!
After kids: Forget it, you’re checking.
Kids need stuff. No matter what kind of minimalist you think you are, they just need stuff. So I’m resigned to checking bags now. Most major airlines will check car seats, strollers and travel cribs for free, so check your airline policy.