When I first let people know that I was having a baby, there seemed to be one phrase on everyone’s lips: “Oh, you will have to stop traveling then.” I was usually pretty quick to tell them that this would hardly be the case. Why would a baby stop me from seeing the world? I think the whole point of having children is to show it to them! I believe that more than ever we live in a global community rather than just towns and countries and everywhere we travel to we have something new to learn. Isn’t that what childhood is about? Learning?

Although I have every intention of taking my boy around the globe at least once before he starts preschool I had not actually planned on taking him on his first trip at just 5 weeks of age. But when a sailing operator invited all the travelettes to come  to Croatia for a one-week sail cruise I didn’t want to miss the chance to finally meet the other girls in the team. They are living all over the world, so half of them I had never actually met face to face. I made a decision: I wasn’t joining the cruise but I would fly out with my little one for a couple of days to meet them.

Hands down, I was worried. So worried in fact that 2 weeks before departure I told everyone that I would probably not make it. The what if‘s got the better of me more than once but in the end it all went just fine. My son’s name is Atlas for a reason.


Raising a child, and a baby in particular, is one big learning curve and I think I can speak for most first-time moms when I say that a baby comes with all sorts of question marks. I find myself googling baby-related issues every day and when I tried to look up reports and tips on traveling with a small baby I could not find much. One short trip hardly makes me an expert in the field but nonetheless I will give it a go and write down a few things i’ve learned about traveling with an infant.

1. If at all possible travel in the morning or at least at a time that allows you to arrive at your accommodation no later than 5pm. Most babies get more restless towards the end of the day and are in bright spirits in the morning. Bring on the 6am action!

2. Bring a sling. My baby loves our black Moby Wrap as he just sinks into it and falls asleep almost instantly. The world is fascinating for a baby so switching off can be hard. It helps not to see so much (the sling covers most of their heads) and to feel the comfort of mom or dad’s body. Apart from the moby wrap I also brought a Marsupi which gets mixed reviews but is very light weight and easy to put on and take off, even with one hand (unlike the moby wrap). This is what I used to get on and off the plane. During the flight we walked around quite a bit, so it was handy to have something I can quickly put on and off.

3. More is more so bring the pram. I asked various friends about the best solution. Carseat and carrier? Carseat, undercarriage and carrier? Carseat, carrier and pram? I thought about it for a while then decided I’d rather bring too much than too little on our first time. He ended up sleeping for hours and hours in the pram while I enjoyed the town or had lunch with the girls. And on a hot day, carrying baby while walking in the blistering sun is stressful for both of you. Speaking of prams, getting a good one is essential. I was tempted to go for a cheaper model but the hype around the Bugaboo Cameleon is there for a reason. Especially when traveling there are many different kinds of street surfaces and you want a pram that navigates easily and is not too bumpy for baby.


4. Pack smart. Think twice about what you really need to pack to make your and baby’s life easy. Pram? Yes. Carseat? Definitely. Toys? No, not just yet. A small baby needs to eat, sleep and wear clean diapers and clothes. We managed to still only travel with hand luggage, even though I brought my camera and computer with me. A reasonable stash of diapers is important (if you have doubts about finding your preferred kind in the place you’re traveling to).

4. Forget hotels and rent a holiday apartment. You will want the extra room to hang out and cook yourself a nice meal/watch a movie or do some work after baby has gone to sleep. Airbnb has amazing options pretty much everywhere so I was quick to rent a place in Split. Cheaper than a hotel and with more comfort and in this case, a lovely terrace!

5. Get the Soundsleeper App. This is not a joke, people, I swear by this app. The moment I realised that my baby relaxes around washing machines, blow-dryers and showers I downloaded the Soundsleeper app to my phone and have tried all the sounds (from womb to thunderstorm) before realising that ocean does the best. Babies often need help to fall asleep (nursing, rocking, gentle songs) and at least for my son the sound of ocean waves instantly calms him down. This way you bring his sleep routine with you.


6. Adapt the routine. They say it’s hard to establish routines with babies that young but it’s worth trying to have one regardless. My baby goes to bed between 7 and 8 pm and wakes up between 5.30 (ugh) and 7am. He then sleeps again for most of the am with 30-60 minute interruptions and takes random short naps in the afternoon. For me this did mean being home by 7pm and doing what we always do. Daytime sleeps however were confined  to the pram or the carrier which worked out just fine. Babies need a good sleep to work through everything they’ve experienced, so this is not something you’ll want to compromise on. Or as I like to call it – happy baby, happy mom!

7. People love babies. I quickly realised that my worries that a baby would make many aspects of traveling more difficult were mostly unjustified. On the contrary, I often got preferred treatment. We flew Easyjet and no one bat an eyelash when I arrived with a carry-on suitcase and a giant handbag (Easyjet usually only allows one item of hand luggage). People were accommodating on the plane and throughout the trip. A baby is also a great conversation starter when traveling solo!

8. Stay flexible. This is a bit of a no-brainer, a baby always requires flexibility, regardless of where you are. This is not the time to arrive at your holiday destination with a massive to-do-list and you might not want to commit to seeing all 12 of the local museums. Instead just take it easy, stay within walking distance to your accommodation and take each day as it comes. If your baby, like mine, doesn’t like cars, avoid the taxi and go with public transportation. Just try to make your holiday as stress-free as possible, that way you’ll get the most out of it.

Finally, do take these tips with a grain of salt. Babies are as different as people and while some of the above mentioned things might work on your little one, others definitely won’t. But as any parent knows, sometimes all you can do is work through the checklist of options to calm a crying baby.

Happy travels!

katja und atlas