Were you quite the traveler before having kids? I definitely was. Weekend trips, hotel stays in the city, international travel… I didn’t discriminate, I loved it all! Traveling is a little bit harder now that I have a little dude who loves his room, his routine, and his space.
Last month we took a little weekend trip to Idaho for a wedding, and I’ll admit, it was tough. But I think it was tougher on me than him. I spent most of the time worrying about his routine that I had a hard time enjoying the trip.
At the end of the trip, I realized two very important things.
- My baby is more resilient than I give him credit for.
- I don’t have to revolve my life around my baby.
After that weekend trip, I felt more confident that I could take my baby on more trips, and it got me thinking about traveling internationally. Can I do it? What all do I need to do? So, let’s start with the basics.
Getting a Passport for Your Baby
According to Southwest Airlines, if your baby is over 14 days old and under two years of age, they can be carried free of charge when traveling with an adult (12 years or older). It’s pretty convenient that they consider 12-year-olds to be adults, so if you have older kiddos who are in their teens years, you have another “adult” to help you out.
Before you can even get on the plane, make sure you get a passport for your little babe. Make sure you get on the passport asap because it usually takes about 8 weeks to get your passport to you. If you are really pushing it, it can take about 2-3 weeks expedited, but you will have to pay extra. Passports for anyone under the age of 16 are only good for 5 years.
Here’s the play by play for getting your baby’s passport:
- Go to your local pharmacy or Costco and get your baby’s passport pictures taken. Make sure they are up to date on passport picture guidelines.
- Print this form: DS-11 and fill it out at home where you can find all the important info for it. Important Note: You will need your baby’s social security number, so if you haven’t filled out the paperwork for that yet you will need to write out a letter with this exact phrase, “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: (Child’s full name) has never been issued a Social Security number by the Social Security Administration.”
- Gather the following documents:
- Your baby’s birth certificate (again make sure you have this in time or you might need to expedite that process as well). Bring a photocopy.
- Both parents’ IDs, like a passport or driver’s license (bring photocopies).
- Your filled out DS-11 form and the passport pictures.
- Call ahead to wherever you plan to go to get the passport and ask if they accept walk-ins or if you should make an appointment. This is also a good time to ask how much a newborn passport will be (especially if you want to expedite) and what form of payment they accept. Lots of places do not accept debit/credit so you might need to bring a money order or check.
- Both parents and baby head to the post office or government office to get the passport. If both parents cannot be present check out this link to find out more info and making sure parental consent is checked off. Otherwise, this could prevent your baby from getting a passport.
Packing For Your Baby
We talked about this in our road tripping blog, but planning ahead is huge! You might be surprised to land in a country and find that they don’t have car seats or a pack and play at your hotel.
Call or email where you plan to stay and ask if they have a crib or pack and play. If you plan on renting a car, request a car seat. You’ll be happy you didn’t have to drag all of your stuff with you.
Baby food is allowed on your carry on (in reasonable quantities) as well as your checked baggage, but you want to pack it in a ziplock bag or plastic bag because it’s common for foods to explode in the air.
Inform the TSA agent that you have formula, breast milk or juice in excess of 3.4 oz. They will most likely have to be screened by X-Ray. For more info on traveling with children straight from TSA, check here.
And when it comes to clothes, check the weather for your destination and always throw in jackets or sweaters for night outings or random cold days (unless you are going to a cold place, then definitely pack winter gear).
If the bucket list family can travel with 3 kids, then you can too!
Leavin’ On A Jet Plane
Even though your baby might have you wrapped around his finger, it doesn’t mean you need to stop living your life to take care of him. You can travel, you can exercise, you can shop. It might be a little more work, but it will be worth it.
So, if you’ve been itching with that travel bug, then go get your baby a passport and start researching your trip!
Babies are resilient, and they will probably sleep better on the plane with all that white noise.
Where to next?
Where are my traveling friends at? What other tips can you share to help us travel internationally with our babies?