Mom and a Whole New Perspective on Travel
Becoming a mom gave me a whole new perspective on travel.
Of course, my life has changed dramatically since the birth of my son, but so has the focus of my travels. While I used to seek out museum tours and culinary adventures, I now search for family-friendly hotels with playgrounds, toddler-friendly restaurants with high chairs, and kid-approved activities that won’t bore my husband or me too much (sorry kiddos, sometimes Mommy needs a day off).
When you’re traveling with a little one in tow whether it’s a baby or active toddler things are different than they were when you were traveling without kids. But while traveling as a family is sometimes harder than traveling solo (you need to pack way more stuff), other times it’s easier (you don’t need to be able to carry your bags all by yourself). And let’s not forget that when you’re planning trips with little ones in mind, the fun can be just as memorable for parents as it is for the kids.
New York City and Pregnancy
Traveling with a baby is hard. Her son, Italo, was born two days after her 30th birthday and three weeks before their first trip abroad as parents. Luckily, she had a few months to prepare for the grand adventure. She had read every book on traveling with little ones, but still worried about everything that could go wrong from possible delays at the airport to how she would hold Italo and carry all of their luggage on the flight from New York City to Italy’s capital city. “Traveling with a newborn is always stressful and there are so many opinions on what you should or shouldn’t do but I didn’t let that stop me from doing it,” De Pascalis says.
I quickly learned that babies come with a lot of stuff, and fitting it all into one bag is kind of impossible.
You already know that babies are tiny, but you don’t realize how many bags and items they need until you’re trying to stuff all of them into one luggage piece. So, I quickly learned that babies come with a lot of stuff, and fitting it all into one bag is kind of impossible.
There are some tips and tricks that have helped me over the years in packing for my son: take only what you will need; choose clothes that serve multiple purposes; plan as much as possible; practice packing your bag so you have a solid understanding of what fits, and follow some basic rules on what can be packed.
Packing for Myself is Easy, But Packing for two People Requires a Strategy
It’s not all a breeze, though. One of the biggest challenges that I hadn’t considered was how much stuff two people need for a trip. Before Matthew was born, I usually just threw together an overnight bag with some clothes and toiletries, but now, with almost every piece of luggage packed to the brim, it’s clear that traveling with a child requires planning.
Luckily there are plenty of tips online from other parents who’ve been there. The best advice always seems to come from fellow travelers: “Packing for myself is easy,” says one message board commenter about bringing her toddler along for an overseas trip, “but packing for two people one ridiculously picky person at that requires a strategy.”
Items that are Light and Easily Washable
You’re right. I have to find items that are light and easily washable. That’s one of the hardest parts because a lot of baby clothes aren’t practical for travel. But once I find something, then I buy multiples of it for instance, I have to buy like 10 pairs of pants at a time for my son! And now that he’s walking and running, he goes through shoes very quickly.
Speaking of shoes, kids need good-quality footwear when you’re traveling on airplanes. My son is strong-willed and we walk around a ton when we travel to the point where his toes would be bleeding from all the walking! So we got him really good sandals from Bobux and they were expensive! But they’re worth it because they’re so comfortable and durable we can go anywhere in them! They last forever too: We keep passing them down to other people after my son outgrows them.
Having easy-to-wash clothes is also important because you don’t always know where you’ll be able to do laundry while traveling with a baby or toddler. For example, when we went to Bali and did an Airbnb tour around different islands there, we couldn’t use any laundry facilities in some places but lucky for us our clothing was all easy-to-wash items that could be washed in hotel sinks!
Baby clothes need to be comfortable, but they also need to be stylish for the same reason that adult clothes do: you never know when you’re going to run into someone you used to work with. The last thing you want is to have your baby in some baggy, unflattering number when your former boss shows up at the park and offers you a job as CEO of their new company (which they started after making a small fortune as a social media influencer).
As an example, here’s a story of how this situation can play out in real life: I was walking by myself down Market Street in San Francisco wearing one of my favorite dresses, chatting with a friend on FaceTime. As we were talking, I passed by an old acquaintance who used to work at my current job. We waved and smiled at each other while continuing our conversation. After saying goodbye to me on video chat, my old coworker asked me what I was up to. While she wasn’t even close friends with me back then, I decided it would be more fun if she thought I had gotten married and had kids since leaving the company. It worked well: She invited me over for dinner that weekend!
Now imagine the same scenario but instead of wearing one of my favorite dresses, I’m wearing something that isn’t flattering or stylish and instead of showing up alone and having told her about getting married and having kids since leaving the company (which she believed because she hadn’t been keeping up with any of our mutual connections), she sees me pushing a stroller. There are so many things that could go wrong there!
Comfy Clothing From Casual Walks with Friends to Fancy Dinners with a Client
- Opt for one-piece clothing. Whether it’s a dress, jumpsuit, or romper, going with something that is all one piece simplifies the process of changing the baby and improves the odds of not leaving any articles of clothing behind. Dresses are perfect for casual walks with friends in the park or coffee dates, while jumpsuits and rompers can be dressed up with a pair of heels and a blazer for fancy dinners with an important client.
- Wear comfortable shoes. The last thing you want is to hobble around in stilettos while trying to keep your baby safe and happy. Opt instead for a cute but comfortable pair of sneakers or flats that will allow you to focus on the adventure ahead instead of what’s going on below your knees.
- Carry a light jacket. Even though you’ll be keeping your baby warm, don’t forget about yourself! In case it gets cooler at night or if you end up in an air-conditioned restaurant, have something light packed away that can help keep both you and your little one happy as temperatures change throughout the day.
- Be prepared for anything including clothing changes (or accidents). Not only should you pack extra clothes in case something unexpected happens to your outfit, but also make sure there are enough clothes packed for your baby too! While some babies have better luck than others when it comes to avoiding wardrobe malfunctions like spit-up stains or diaper leaks, always be prepared by packing extra onesies just in case spills happen on set.
Sometimes life calls for something fancier than a t-shirt and leggings, but who has time to get ready?
When it comes to getting dressed, many of us these days are more concerned with comfort than a luxury. With that in mind, this was a great opportunity to pull together a few different options to fit your mood and the occasion.
- Wear something plain but with a feminine cut. This is an example of a dress that can be worn for everyday (by itself), for something fancier (with jewelry, heels, etc.), or even with sneakers for a casual weekend look.
- Find pieces that easily create multiple outfits so you don’t have to pack so much!
- A clean white t-shirt can be dressed up or down: wear it alone if you’re looking for something simple and understated, or layer it under shirts, dresses, or jackets.
- Accessories make all the difference! Scarves and statement necklaces are one way to add some pizazz—or keep things simple by tying on a hair bow or throwing on some earrings. If you’re looking for easy ways to accessorize while traveling, look no further than these two pieces: they’ll work any kind of outfit!
Go to Pieces
Plus-size fashion is more accessible than ever, thanks to inclusivity-minded brands like Universal Standard and Eloquii offering everything from basics to evening wear in extended sizes. As a result, curvy travelers can look for the same things in their travel wardrobe as everyone else: versatile pieces that can be easily dressed up or down, are lightweight and washable (bonus points if they don’t need to be ironed), and stylish but comfortable. Opt for classic silhouettes that won’t go out of style even if you do your due diligence by following trend forecasters on social media and make sure all of your clothes are durable enough to withstand being stuffed into a suitcase or carry on many times over a year.
Traveling With Baby
Traveling with a baby is hard, but this art director and mother make it look easy. Hailing from the West Coast, she has a laid-back demeanor that enables her to stay calm when things get hectic (which they often do). Her three tips for traveling with a baby:
- Come prepared
- Be flexible
- Take lots of pictures