Suggestions for International Travel with a 5 Month Old?

Updated on June 15, 2009
A.P. asks from New Haven, CT
9 answers

Hi moms,

I will be taking a family vacation to Spain in August and my son will be 5 months old at the time. We are taking a nonstop flight, have purchased a seat for Oliver on the plane (which means we need to also bring a car seat) and will be renting a car when we arrive in Barcelona. We will be staying in a house with plenty of space, but no crib or other baby amenities. I breastfeed, so I'm not worried about the plane too much, although I am worried that my son won't want to sleep on the plane. At this point I have both an infant seat (Graco safe seat) and a convertible seat (Britax Marathon), so as long as my son still fits in the infant seat we could take either--but he already weighs 19 pounds and is 27" long so he might not be comfortable in the infant seat then! There will be a few extra sets of hands (my brother and sister are traveling with us) to help with baby gear, but I am starting to get nervous about what we need to bring with us. Has anyone traveled internationally (or other long travel, across country, etc.) with a baby this age? Any suggestions for lightweight strollers or good sleeping solutions for once we get there? How do you navigate the airport with a car seat and stroller? Or any other advice for making this a smooth trip? Thanks in advance for any advice you have. I'd appreciate it!

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answers from Albany on

I know a lady who traveled to Turkey I think it was with her twin baby girls and husband. I think you are stressing yourself for no reason. You'll be fine, especially with the extra help you will have. :)

1) Take a pack and play. You can check it in as it is or you might be able to get a travel bag for it at Babies R Us or the like. When the lady above went to Turkey, she took 2 pack and plays so the babies had some place safe to sleep and play. She said it wasn't a problem at all.

2) You can get a travel bag for the car seat that allows you to carry it on your back like a backpack. I would take the larger seat so your child is comfortable.

3) Don't do an umbrella stroller. I swear those things should be banned. I highly suggest the Combi light weight stroller. It folds into thirds making it almost as small as a folded umbrella stroller, comes with a strap that you can sling it over your shoulder, but won't tip like an umbrella can, supports your baby's back, and reclines should your baby fall asleep. You may want to get a little stroller bag to hang from the handles though as the basket is very small and there aren't any cup holders but it is still a GREAT stroller for traveling. It would also be great to feed your baby in at the place you are staying (if you do solids) since I am guessing there won't be a high chair there.

4) Just don't forget some things for on the place. Even though your little one is young, I'm sure it will be a long flight so you want a few distractions to offer like a few stuffed toys so you can offer one and then later offer a different one to change it up. You could also bring some picture books, rattles, teethers, etc. Don't forget to take things like Tylenol, refrigerated teethers for when you get there, diaper rash ointment, a hat since the baby is still too young for sunscreen, etc. You can always get these things there but it's better to be prepared especially if you need any of the above while on the plane.

Enjoy your trip!!

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answers from New York on

I traveled to the UK with my son when he was 2 1/2 months (came back at 3 1/2 months and made the trip alone!), and a trip to Aruba at 5 months. We also just recently took a trip to Oregon (10 hours as we, had to change planes) and he was fine at 7 1/2 months. Getting a seat for him is a great idea and he should sleep well in the car seat. The noise of the plane is actually very lulling. I would take the infant seat with snap and go as that is the easiest for travel (if he still fits in it!), you can bring the car seat on the plane and check the snap and go at the entrance to the plane so it is available when you arrive. For the plane bring plenty of toys (lots of dropping and you'll want to have clean stuff), pacifiers if he uses them, burp cloths etc. Changes of clothes are also a must and blanket because the plane can be cold. Changing a baby on the tiny airplane changing tables is tough so change before the plane to reduce the amount of times you have to do it. You may also want a carrier/bjorn for the plane so you can walk him up and down the aisles if he is fussy. Is there a supermarket near where you will be going? We usually buy diapers and so on when we get there (just bring a few days supply) and that reduces the amount for travel. Definitely bring a pack n play to sleep in when you arrive but other than that you should be good. Also make sure to bring a good med kit - nothing worse than searching for infant tylenol or saline drops in a place you don't know. Also try feeding your son right after take off and as getting ready to land to help with the air pressure. If he takes a pacifier I would have him suck on it during take off (he'll probably have to be in his seat for take off). Good luck! You'll be fine.
This was my packing list for a trip we took at 5 months - hope it helps!
Diapers, Wipes, A&d cream, Desitin, Pee wee pads, Lap pad use for changing on, Changing pad, 2 blankets for laying on
, Bottle brush, Bottles, Washing up liquid, Dishwasher tablets, Baby towel, Baby soap, Washcloths, Baby sunscreen (check with doctor based on age of your baby), Baby float, swim diapers, Burp cloths, Bibs, Bjorn, Toys, and clothes of course!

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answers from New York on

I travelled to Aruba with my son, who was 4.5 months old at the time. Since he was only about 16-17 lbs at the time & it is only a 4 hour flight, we did not buy him a seat. We gate-checked the chicco keyfit 30 infant car seat & our Maclaren Easy Traveller stroller (version of a snap and go - very lightweight!) - we placed them in these bright red "Gate Check" bags (one for stroller & one for the car seat)that I bought on Amazon I think. They put the car seat (upside down) & the stroller through the x-ray machine. I was both BF & bottle feeding, so I did bring some ready-to-feed bottles of formula with me in my diaper bag. If you plan to bring any pumped BM with you, you must separate it from your carry-on items & declare that you have it prior to x-ray. Bring enough wipes & diapers with you in your diaper bag, to anticipate a long delay prior to your flight & for the length of the flight - I do not believe that airports sell diapers & wipes.
There are lightweight umbrella strollers that have a recline feature & that can hold an infant car seat, eg. Maclaren Techno XLR (probably weighs 18 lbs).
I also brought my Maya Wrap sling, which I used before boarding and on the plane to breastfeed him & to hold him (to give my arms some rest while he was sleeping). I also brought my Baby Bjorn, which he & I loved to carry him around while we went for short walks (difficult to carry anything else -like diapers).

I may sound neurotic, but since he was so young & it was flu season, I brought Method Naked wipes on the plane to disinfect the window, wall, armrests, tray table, air vent, light buttons, etc. (anything that my husband, baby, or I would touch). The airlines do not do a great job in disinfecting! Even though you will not be travelling during the typical flu season, there is the Swine flu, common cold, and other bacteria & viruses that could be on the surfaces. Bring purell or other hand sanitizer as well.

If I were you, I would use the Graco safe seat instead - he will sleep fine in there on the plane and it is much lighter & easier to maneuver in and out of the car. You use the seat belt instead of the base to secure it to the car.

For the crib, I brought my Baby Bjorn Travel light crib (weighs about 10 lbs) and packed it in a very large suitcase. If you will have a washer & dryer - do not bring alot of clothing!

I brought the Infantino activity mat, which folds compactly and some of his toys. I brought the Summer folding bath seat, for his baths.

We also bought walkie talkies (we didn't want to rent cell phones) which I used while I was at the beach or pool and my son was napping in the room with Dad or Grandpa supervising.

I recommend to wait until your son is 6 months old to start feeding him solid foods. It will be one less thing that you will have to worry about.

It will seem like a big hassle, but once you are there you can relax. Especially since you will have many people around. I also recommend going to dinner with just your husband, while someone else watches the baby. We were able to do it 3 times.

Enjoy yourself!

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answers from New York on

If you will be doing a lot of walking, bring your best (most rugged) stroller, you can gate check it and it does not count toward any luggage allottment, if you will mostly be in cars, you might want to bring an umbrella stroller or a smaller regular one.

Since you have bought a seat for your son, the flight attendants may insist that he be in it prior to and during takeoff, you can try to call the airline beforehand and find out what their policy is, but my guess is, it will depend on the crew working that day (befriend them, they will make or break your flight!). Anyway, make sure you have a bottle/pacifier/sippy cup, something your son can sip on if they don't let him sit on your lap to nurse during takeoff or landing. Also, check the stickers on the bottom of the carseat you bring with you, they are not all rated as ok for airplanes. I had one a flight attendant wouldn't let me use, and sure enough the sticker on the bottom proved him right, even though I was sure the box said it was approved for flights.

You could check a pack n'play if you don't have any pre-arranged sleeping options, that WILL count as a piece of luggage, but since you bought your son a seat he'll be entitled to the same luggage allottments as you.

My only other piece of advice is diapers do strange things during changes in cabin pressure, I would make sure you have extra changes of clothing accessible during the flight for your son and for you, also a cloth diaper or something else to put across your lap between you and your son is a good idea too.

Happy travels!



answers from New York on

We took our daughter to Mexico when she was 4 months old. We did not buy an extra seat for her but found she had no problems sleeping, despite plenty of noise in the place (including a baby who wouldn't stop crying). But having bought the seat for your son, you will be glad to have the option to put him in his car seat awake or asleep. In terms of gear, if he can sit in the infant seat, I would take it. It is so much easier across the board to use and usually lighter. Also, the convertible seats will not solve the length problem as you are supposed to face those car seats backwards for up to the max weight (usually up to 30-35 lbs). The adaptable stroller for the infant car seat (Graco makes one) is a great idea and what we brought with us. If you don't already own one, at this point you probably don't want to have to buy one so you could see if you know anyone you could borrow one from or find one used. Otherwise, I would suggest bringing a carrier for walking around instead of a stroller just to minimize gear. Then, in terms of a bed, we brought the Baby Bjorn travel bed. It is lightweight and a snap to put together. If you have a travel bed, I would take it. As far as I know airlines are still pretty lenient when it comes to travel gear for children and do not charge extra. It might be a pain to get to the check-in counter but having a bed your son knows will help when everything else about his environment will be different. If you don't have a travel bed and he isn't rolling over yet, you could take your chances with putting him in your bed and surrounding him with pillows when you are not with him but there is a risk at his age that he will start rolling over anytime. We ended up focusing on things we knew would keep our daughter comfortable and entertained and because we were also renting a house, we brought fewer clothes for ourselves knowing we could wash as much as we needed. Instead we brought plenty of toys, books and gear. It made our life easier.

Hope this helps.



answers from New York on

We just went to Florida last month when my son was 4 months old. I used my stroller (Maclaren) with the infant seat. I checked both at the gate when we go to the plane. It was only a short flight so I didn't think he needed a seat. He slept the whole time flying while I held him. So that went easy. I would suggest breastfeeding him when you take off and land to help with his ears. Or hopefully he'll be asleep. My son was asleep when we came home so I didn't have to worry about his ears then, he slpet fine.
At the hotel we made sure we had 2 double beds. I slept with my infant while my husband slept with our 4 year old. It worked great. I didn't want to have to bring anything more than I needed and I didn't trust the hotel cribs.



answers from Buffalo on

We flew to Hungary with our son with one stop over. I was worried that he would not sleep because at the time he only slept on his stomach. My husband and I pulled down the trays in front of us and put the airplane pillow on top. This is where he slept. Just being on the plane with all the new people was exciting to him. We did bring a few toys but he was mostly interested in playing on the floor in front of us or having us walk him up and down the aisle.

As for a stroller, we own a pretty expensive stroller for the city and many friends warned me about the airlines not taking care of strollers and often they come back from airside check-in damaged. Prior to the trip we purchased an inexpensive umbrella stroller. I wasn't a fan since they are not suppose to be good for the back but I figured for the two weeks it wouldn't harm him for life. (remember our parents didn't have all the options we do now and most of us have survived). It was great for the trip as it didn't take up much space in the rental car. (European cars are usually smaller than our American vehicles.)

Remember to bring healthy snacks for yourself to eat since you are breastfeeding. We had a delay of 4 hours so I had to spend an excessive amount of Euro at the airport. I also don't consider the food served on the plane to be all that nutritious.

Try to pack light, there is nothing worse than carrying way too much stuff and you can usually purchase any items that you forgot. We now live in a global economy and most items available in the US are available in Europe.

Have fun!



answers from New York on

I took my baby when he was 3 months old to England and it worked out great because he laid in the basinet in front of us and the white noise of the plane relaxed him if your baby does well with white noise it helps a lot. Also if you breast feed it is great to because you can do that when taking off and landing or just have a bottle ready it helps to relieve the pain from the pressure in his ears. You can also give him a little tylenol before take off so that he won't have any pain. It should work out fine hopefully just be prepared not sure how long the flight is to spain but its about the same as england maybe a few hours more.
Take care
From H.



answers from New York on

i guess i missed it but will you have a rental car while you're there? if yes then i'd bring the infant car seat. if not i wouldn't bring a car seat if you're going to use taxis. it is just not doable overseas. you'll come to find out on your own. the first time we took our twins overseas we were shocked yet learned how to do it without car seats. they just don't use them over there. we limited the taxi rides or riding with family in their cars and mainly did walking and such. also, roads, don't know specifically for spain, but roads in general are old and not easy to navigate with our super big and complicated strollers. hence the sun stroller. if you see that it's just not working, one of you carries the stroller while the other carries the baby.
for an infant flying there's a crib kinda thing on the airplane for infants to sleep in. he will sleep. i wouldn't have gotten a seat for him specifically because you will hold him most of the time unless he's sleeping. did you call the airline to reserve the crib kind of thing? get a sun stroller. you know those lightweight strollers not a big one. or you can get it when you get there. you will have plenty of helping hands for while at airport, you carry your son, someone carries the car seat and so on. it's doable. i have traveled with my twins at that age, and it's only been husband and i. we didn't get airplane seats for them until they turned 2. and we also found out that we didn't have to because we held them or they slept the entire time.
also, bring infant tylenol with you. bring all the baby stuff that you usually use at home, medication and such (don't load on diapers obviously)
ps. totally understand your anxiety. i have it to this day whenever we travel overseas. you just don't get used to not having all the goodies and accessibility that you have here

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