- Vaccinations. Check which vaccinations you and your baby need in plenty of time before your trip. Some vaccinations need to be given a month in advance for your body to develop immunity. If your baby has not yet had all their scheduled vaccinations, you might need to get them vaccinated earlier than planned. Take your vaccination card with you on your trip.
- Passport for your baby. In some countries, your passport has to be valid for six months after you return home or you won’t be allowed entry, and temporary passports aren’t valid in some countries. Check which rules apply at your destination and check when your passport expires.
- Visas. For some destinations you have to apply for a visa in advance, while for others you don’t need one or you can get one at the airport when you arrive. You can apply for a visa at home at the embassy of the country you’re visiting, or via various online service sites that help with visa applications.
- Travel insurance. Well before you plan to travel with an infant, check what insurance you have and what it covers during your trip. Some debit and credit cards, like Visa and MasterCard, come with travel insurance if you use the card to pay for your trip. And if you have home insurance you’ll often find travel insurance is included for a certain number of days. Print out your travel insurance certificate and take it along with you on your trip and make sure your insurance policies cover your infant, too.
- Rules for luggage. Will it cost extra to take a stroller and car seat on the flight? Airlines have different rules about how much check-in and carry-on luggage a child under the age of two traveling without their own seat is allowed to take with them. Some airlines let the child check in a suitcase with the same maximum weight allowance as an adult but not take any carry-on luggage, and others have a lower maximum weight for a child’s luggage. Check your airline’s policy before you travel.
- Airport rules. Most airports have restrictions on the amount of liquids you’re allowed to take aboard a plane, and creams, gels and sprays count as liquids in this respect. Check which rules apply at the airports you’ll be traveling from. If you’re not allowed to take the kind of liquid you want, you can take along empty (feeding) bottles that you can fill up when you’ve gone through security or are on the plane.
- What does your hotel offer? Many travel agencies have special offers for families to make it easy when traveling with an infant or young child, and lots of hotels offer fun activities for kids. If you haven’t booked using a travel agent, many hotel booking websites contain information about how child-friendly the hotel is; some tell you about babysitting, kids clubs and activities for kids close to the hotel.
- Road safety at your destination. If you’re traveling in your homeland, you’ll probably have a better idea of how road traffic works than if you go abroad, and you may also be traveling in your own car. If you’re going somewhere you’ve never been before, you can plan ahead to make your journey safer. If you know you will be traveling by taxi or rental car a lot, check if it’s possible to rent a car seat or if there’s a car rental firm that specializes in families with kids. If this is not an option, check with your airline to see if you can take a car seat on the plane free of charge.
- Apps, apps, apps! A good way to prepare for traveling with an infant (or without) is to download popular travel apps to your cellphone. They make certain things so much easier. Before your trip, you can use apps to book your hotel, read reviews and collect all your travel info in one place. And once you arrive, travel planners, maps, city guides and translation apps are all extremely useful. Pick and choose in the Travel category in the App Store, Google Play and Windows Phone Store.
Can’t get enough of apps? Check out our list of 9 popular travel apps!