When is the best age to travel with your baby? In this post we discuss what age you should fly, and things to do for families traveling with babies.
WHAT IS THE BEST AGE TO TRAVEL WITH A BABY?
We’ve answered this question at least 60 times over the last year and a half. What is the best age to travel with a baby?
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We’re a little biased because our little guy started traveling at 8 weeks old due to a family emergency, and he’s been traveling ever since.
He’s been on nearly 100 flights and has well over 3,000 road trip miles under his belt at the tender age of 2.5 years old.
The majority of his flights were between 6 – 18 months old, which was great becuase he was free.
BEST AGES TO TRAVEL WITH A BABY
We think traveling with kids is great, but some ages come with challenges. After we had our son, we knew we wanted to travel but weren’t sure when to start.
Life decided for us, and we had to take our first flight earlier than expected. After our first experience, we gained more confidence, and before we knew it, we’re a full-time traveling family with a toddler.
Traveling with a baby 0-3 months old
Our first flight with our son was when he was 8-weeks-old.
We didn’t plan to travel with him this young, but there was a family emergency, and we needed to get to Colorado Springs quickly. After we got a call, we were on a flight the next day from San Diego.
Newborns this young spent most of the day drinking milk, sleeping, pooping, and crying. If your little one is colicky, they probably cry a little more than expected.
I wouldn’t recommend flying with a little one this young for first-time parents.
It can be overwhelming to adjust to your new life, so the first three months are best spent learning your baby and getting a routine established, especially for breastfeeding moms (pumping or on the breast).
Traveling with a baby 3-6 months old
3 to 6 months was the first time we took a major trip with our baby. I found a great deal to Beijing from San Diego for less than $400, so I jumped on it when our son was 4-months-old.
We took our son on his first international trip at 4-months-old from San Diego to Beijing, with a layover in Toronto.
In our opinion, this is a great time to start traveling with your little one. You’ve likely established a routine, know your little one’s cries, have a pumping schedule, and are less overwhelmed.
During our flight to Beijing, our baby cried one time. It was a 15-hour flight, and he only cried once because I didn’t get his milk to him fast enough. He spent most of the time sleep or pulling my shirt.
The flight attendants were so surprised they checked on us a few times to make sure everything was okay. They couldn’t believe how quiet he was.
Around this age, your baby still sleeps quite a bit, and they aren’t very mobile. It’s the perfect time to take a vacation with your baby. You deserve to relax on the beach, or at least somewhere warm with a pool.
Traveling with a baby 6-9 months old
We took a few big trips around this time since I still had a few weeks of maternity leave to use before our son’s first birthday.
The flights were a breeze. By this time, our baby had been on at least 12 flights.
This is when your little one is a lot more mobile and may feel the need to explore.
It’s a great time to introduce them to sand, snow, or grass if you haven’t done so already.
We took a trip to Los Cabos and Oahu, which was a lot of fun. We lived in San Diego, so we took a few day trips from the house. We didn’t do anything too grand since we took three major vacations in one year.
If you have a baby this age and are hesitating to travel, just do it. They’re small enough to out in a carrier and have a fun vacation, but big enough not to need to eat every few hours.
Traveling with a baby 9-12 months old
This is a fun age for traveling with babies because your little one is becoming more mobile, but they haven’t started having temper tantrums.
This is the time where your little one becomes more adventurous and independent. You can explore children’s museums, and they are usually free if they are under 12 months old.
You can’t beat traveling with a baby when it’s free. They can be a lap infant on airplanes, are free at hotels, and get into nearly all attractions for free.
You can find random things for them to play with on the flight, but you shouldn’t need much.
Traveling with a baby 12-18 months old
This is a fun age to travel with a baby. They are starting to become more active, independent, and have a better attention span.
Although you may need to have travel toys for your 1-year-old, it’s not too bad. You can get away with 3-4 toys, snacks, and their favorite show.
Around this time is when we started visiting more kid-friendly places. We went to Legoland California for our first Christmas, instead of buying gifts, and had a blast.
There are some fun toddler-friendly theme parks where they can have fun with activities geared towards their age.
DIFFICULT AGES TO TRAVEL WITH A BABY
We pride ourselves on being honest with our readers, so I can’t say there aren’t some difficult ages when traveling with a baby.
As your baby gets closer to the toddler years, it gets more challenging.
Your little one starts to develop their personality and test their boundaries. This is part of their development, but during this stage, traveling can be a challenge.
Traveling with a baby 18-24 months old
This is where the fun really begins when traveling with a baby. At this age, they are a ball of energy and curiosity. Plus, they’re starting to talk, so it just makes things more interesting.
This is the time to head to children’s museums, aquariums, and parks. Pretty much anywhere with a lot of space is where we went when our son was this age.
He is a runner, so we spent a lot of tie at parks. We let him run until he was exhausted, which made getting him to take a nap in his stroller easier.
We only took one flight, which he slept through because it was his nap time. This was May 2020, so we only took one flight, and the rest of the time we took an epic road trip.
Since our gap year was a bust, we did a road trip from Ohio with stops in Columbus, Cincinnati, Pigeon Forge, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Williamsburg, Charlotte, and Baltimore.
Taking a road trip with a baby this age is certainly easier than flying. There are a lot of screen-free road trip toys and activities to keep your baby busy.
Traveling with a toddler 2-years-old
Traveling with a 2-year-old is a lot of fun, but it comes with challenges. Since our son turned two, we’ve been to Guatemala, Orlando, Philadelphia, Hershey, and Cozumel.
There is so much to do with toddlers this age, but there are challenges. Around this time, tantrums start the rear their heads. You have to teach your toddler to manage their emotions, which is tough.
This is also when you have to start paying for flights, so that’s an additional cost, but you also have to worry about how to entertain them during flights. It can be a difficult adjustment, but with proper planning, it’s a lot of fun.
It will get better as your little one becomes more mature, so don’t get discouraged.
Honestly, this is one of the best ages to travel with kids. Their curiosity and fearlessness are something to be admired.
CONCLUSION: BEST AGE TO TRAVEL WITH A BABY
In our experience, traveling with a baby between 3 and 18 months old was our favorite time. It’s just so easy because they’re small enough to take anywhere and are free everywhere.
During the earlier months, babies tend to sleep most of the day, and you have a solid routine, so you aren’t as stressed out. Plus, all you need to do is grab your carrier and go.
We were lucky because our son started sleeping through the night at 5-months-old, so we weren’t as sleep-deprived as most parents. I was still pumping every 4 hours, so I was still tired, but not due to a crying little one.
You don’t need much to entertain babies this young. Honestly, anything can keep them busy.
As your baby reaches the toddler years, it can be harder to travel. You have to balance naps, potty training, and manage tantrums.
Traveling with a toddler isn’t impossible. We’ve been doing it and haven’t gone crazy. We’ve come close, but we’re still here.
Although it can be more of a challenge, any age is the best time to travel with kids of any age. Traveling with kids is one of the most rewarding and fun experiences you and your little ones will share.