Traveling with a baby is something I’ve always wished for, and lemme tell ya, it’s happening a lot later in Lola’s life than I expected! Because of the pandemic, we’ve obviously not been able to travel. While I always like to focus on what we do have rather than what we don’t, but I won’t lie, I feel like I’ve missed out for sure. Here in B.C., we are under a travel ban unless it’s for work which is what this trip was for. I was producing Imagine Perry’s summer collection shoot and it was important to have the summer vibes to create content for the launch, so we went to Osoyoos – Roberto joined me to help with Lola who was modelling in the shoot, too! It made for our official first trip with her.
Wonder what it was like traveling with a baby, what to pack, what expectations to have… and of course, what I wished I would have done differently?! I had quite a few ppl asking me for advice on the topic, and I’m DEFO no pro, but I do know what worked for us on this trip! I also didn’t want to buy new things for baby travel, and I’d say we didn’t need to, either.
I did a Q&A on Insta to get your questions… I think I’ve answered the majority here, but feel fee to leave a comment!
Lola’s 10.5 months and has been in a bit of a bubble for her entire life, which means she’s never slept in a hotel or in anything but complete darkness, had never eaten in a restaurant, put her feet in the sand, been swimming… well, we ripped off all the bandaids and it was both incredible and exhausting! I have both an organized and a go with the flow approach to parenting I’m learning about myself. Roberto is EXTREMELY hands on and it would have been impossible to do this trip (since I was working) alone, or with a partner that didn’t take a huge role in her care. I think it’s important to have an idea of a schedule, but don’t be attached to it… it’s a sh*t show a lot of the time, but it’s also so much fun, and such an amazing bonding experience. So cliche, but we made so many beautiful memories on this trip that all the work was worth it!
Side note: I defo advise you to start packing a few days in advance so you can take it slow. Make a list for baby and for you so you’re checking off items and don’t forget anything. Leave only the loose ends for day of!
A baby in a car for 4-5 hours scared me… but it went well! For our road trip there, we made sure to leave right after her morning bottle so we had the best stretch of her being fed. Because she eats breakfast also, we brought along some snacks like cheese, fruit puffs and baby crackers that would be easy to feed her in the car seat. We made sure to bring various toys to give her one at a time and an iPad. She ended up napping for a few hours in the car which was also super helpful. We made one stop at a rest stop each way, and that’s when we gave her the bottle.
Obviously with a 10-month old, a lot revolves around their naps, eating, bedtime so it meant on work days I made sure to schedule shoots around her normal schedule as much as we could. For free time, I also tried to do that but also really tried to let her schedule play out… this meant maybe she would take three shorter naps if she seemed tired and passed out in the car seat or if she ate her bottle an hour late, it was all good. I think with traveling, it’s a good opportunity to just let it flow a little – prob good for us and her to learn how to not be so strict! I learned a lot about her adaptability… and mine, too.
Food and Bottles
If you’re travelling with a baby, getting a room with a kitchenette is really helpful. It gives you a place to prepare food, wash bottles etc ., but that would also be done in the hotel room bathroom if needed (just make sure you bring dish soap and a sponge or dishcloth). We brought some food for her hotel stay like oatmeal, blueberries, baby pouches, and hard boiled eggs – because our suite at the Watermark had a full kitchen, I knew we’d have a fridge and we could prep some small meals. My intention was also to feed her meals we were eating when we ate out in restaurants so I didn’t go too crazy but didn’t want to get stuck. She’s formula fed, so we defo brought her Baby Brezza for easy bottle making, and I bought a 4L of filtered water for that. We made sure to bring much more formula than we thought we would need, juuuust in case. We also made sure to bring her bibs, plate, bottle things etc. and because they don’t need to be sanitized anymore, we just washed them well.
Here’s what we brought:
- Bottles and all accessories
- Bib and bowls
- Bottle maker or warmer (could also use the water from the kettle to warm bottle)
- Dish soap and sponge (if needed)
- Filtered water
- Cooler bag for travel or the beach
What I would have done differently:
In the hotel room, there isn’t a high chair so it’s challenging to feed – one of us held her while she ate or she went into her car seat to eat. There’s no way I would bring a high chair though?! Not long until she could kneel in a dining chair I suppose.
Lola needs darkness to sleep which is just what it is. For the record, I was always nervous about having her get used to this and if we had travelled more often she would have either gotten better at sleeping with different types of lighting, or I would have caved and gotten something like a Slumber Pod (which I hear are magical!). She doesn’t sleep well with any level of ambient light unless she is being held. Even though it was a two-bedroom suite (loved that extra room, lemme tell ya),keeping in line with my helicopter mom status, we all slept in the same room. Obvs, we brought her sound machine and then we used the hotels pack and play for her overnight sleep, and brought her pack and play sheet from home. My friend said a hack is to put it in the bathroom for darkness but it wouldn’t fit. So, for naps I would hold her and then overnight, she would be in the pack and play and wake up ridiculously early (4:30am). We took turns waking up with her over the three mornings so we both wouldn’t have to be overly sleep deprived (spoiler: we were both exhausted the whole trip anyway ha). Since we won’t be traveling much with her until she’s older, next time I might just brings some garbage bags for the window (thanks, Insta mom friends for the tip!) which would make life easier. We didn’t have a portable monitor but were sleeping in the same room so I only checked her breathing 17 times instead.
For sleeping make sure you have:
- A place for them to sleep (for us, that was the hotel pack and play, but I’m not endorsing that)
- Sheet for pack and play as needed
- Sleep sack
- Sound machine
- Black out option like a SlumberPod or black garbage bags to cover window
- Monitor if needed
Clothes and other items
It was supposed to be hot where we went, but I brought lots of options in case. The suite had a washer dryer which was amazing to have (another reason some rooms at the Watermark are just so family friendly), but we didn’t really use it. We didn’t use a travel stroller – just brought her stroller base and our carseat clicks into it which was perfect! Great option if you want to keep it easy.
Here’s what we brought:
- Different options for swimsuits
- Cute clothes for outings
- Cardigans (because you never know when it’s going to start to feel chilly!)
- Hair ties, combs
- Bath soap
- Sleep sack
- Soothers with the clip so they don’t fall off
- Stroller toys (they clip on and help feel her entertained)
It was so great having more space – we had a two bedroom suite which gave us a room to use for playtime and seperation when needed. A kitchen was also great, and the hotel had a pack and play for us. The one thing about this age is that there is no place for them to hang out except for the pack and play, bed, car seat. I’m not into letting her crawl everywhere in a hotel room and at home we have lots of spaces for her to hang out, so that was a little challenging, although we didn’t spend that much time in the room when she wasn’t sleeping.
Prepping for the pool or beach with baby can feel overwhelming – we only did the pool which I feel is so much easier because of all the controlled variables like the chairs, umbrellas and provided towels. We recently bought a beach tent for her (not linking because we haven’t tried it yet!) so we are ready for our July trip to Kelowna.
For the pool and pool bag, make sure you have:
- Arm floaties if you need them (Lola is 10 months, so we were ok to just hold her close, but for the next trip, we will buy some!)
- Life jacket (we brought one for the boat – we used Wakepilot who were amazing -,but they actually had one)
- Swimsuit (try it on before you go! I prefer one with sun protective fabric and the long sleeve rashguard for max protection – this is the one I had for Lola)
- Sunscreen (I didn’t like ours, so I’m buying this one)
- A hat
- Swim diapers (either disposable or reusable)
- Diaper bag
Extras to bring that I may not have mentioned (because packing light is for quitters):
- Alcohol wipes to wipe down hotel surfaces and restaurant high chairs and tables, just general sanitizing – I prefer alcohol wipes to something with more chemicals if I can help it
- Lots of toys for your long car ride, making sure to whip them out one by one when they get bored… and the iPad for when it’s dire (Lola isn’t into cartoons yet but will watch a little Cocomelon)
- I would have brought our own pack and play but didn’t want to haul it – I might reconsider next time
- Something to cover the bedroom window with
- More diapers and wipes then you think you’ll need
- Some boozy bevs and snacks for mom and dad because you’ll be in the hotel room more than you’re used to!
- An external phone battery and a few phone chargers
- Extra paper/plastic bags for dirty clothes, dirty shoes, random garbage along the way
One last tip for making it an enjoyable travel experience…
Make sure your partner’s needs are being taken care of. It’s something we are pretty good at, but I made sure Roberto had his cocktail, felt like he was able to cut loose a little, and got a nice sleep in for one morning. When we are both happy, we enjoy our time as a family even more! Traveling with a baby is a lot of work, and very different to our usual trips/vacays as a couple, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything… even if it’s exhausting, there’s nothing like making memories with your baby! I feel even more bonded with her after our trip.