10 tips for traveling with a newborn and a dog
A few weeks ago, we did something that seemed impossible – we went on a little a getaway with our then 8 week old baby and our 2 year old puppy. Before our baby was born, we knew we wanted to travel and take her places – revisit places where we made memories and discover new ones with her. Of course, we couldn’t leave our first baby behind – our cutest Maltipoo, Hugo. And so we went on a short trip to get a feel of traveling with a newborn and a dog. I am happy to report that by the end of our trip, we not only survived but thrived!
Obviously, traveling with a baby is not the same as pre-baby travel. I would be lying if I said if it wasn’t challenging. A lot of prep work is needed and it will not go as planned. And when you have a needy, energetic puppy, things only get more exciting! To our surprise, the newborn turned out to be a better sleeper and non-fussy one compared to our pup! That’s because we hadn’t considered some of Hugo’s needs and his alertness to noises around him. Nevertheless, it was relaxing and fun to get away from home and have a change of scenery. In the end, all of us enjoyed the trip and can’t wait to travel again! Check out my tips below to make traveling with baby and dog a lot easier.
This one is a no-brainer. Do not choose a cross country road trip or an 8 hour flight as your first travel experience with your newborn. Start with short, local road trips to get a feel of how the baby will respond. We chose to take a trip by car that is 2 hour away from home because we knew that we would have no problem coming home if an urgent need arises.
Research the location and stay
Research the location and ensure it caters to your needs.
- Check the weather. I made the mistake of choosing colder, windier coast rather than a warm, sunny location. We did not get to go out in the evening as it was so windy.
- Choose a hotel/AirBnb that suits your needs. Do you prefer outdoors or a kitchen? Decide your needs and choose the perfect stay accordingly. We chose a room with balcony for Hugo. We also decided to splurge on an ocean view suite as we knew that we would be spending time in the room.
- Does your baby/pup likes walks? Make sure the hotel/resort has stroller and pet friendly paths. If you plan on staying at an AirBnb, check the area for paved walking trails.
- For your first getaway, do not choose a remote location with no wifi. Make sure that there is at least a pharmacy nearby for unexpected circumstances.
Do you need a crib in the room? Do you have other special needs? Make sure to call ahead and check with the hotel on what amenities they provide.
Plan around baby’s schedule
Gone are the days of spontaneous trips! A lot of planning is necessary while traveling with a baby. Have your baby on sort of a schedule and plan around that.
Plan around baby’s feedings as a well fed baby is a happy baby. For example, our little one feeds every 2.5-3 hours. We started immediately after her feeding so we had enough time to reach the resort and check in before her next feed. Driving and planning is easier if you bottle/formula feed.
Same goes with sleep schedule. Sleep is very important, not just for the baby but for the parents as well. Try to follow baby’s sleep schedule during travel. Sleep was something we were most worried about. Our baby always slept in her SNOO bassinet that rocked her to sleep and we didn’t know how she would respond to sleeping in a new crib. To our surprise, she slept just as well. It was Hugo who didn’t sleep as he was hungry. He also kept barking at every little noise until midnight.
Pack stuff that you may not need
Think you may not need something? Pack in anyway. You never know if/when you will need something. We did not want to take a chance so we packed all the things we thought we would need and some that we might not. Our car was filled to the brim with baby’s stuff like bouncer, feeding pillow.
Carry a sound machine
Either carry a sound machine or use white noise apps to mask external noise. We forgot our Hatch sound machine so I used YouTube to play white noise and it helped soothe not only the baby but Hugo as well.
Do not ignore the pup
This is really important and it applies not just during travel but every day of your newborn’s life. Do not give all your attention to the baby. Pack the dog’s food, his lounger, toys, treats and give him lots of love.
Parenting is a joint effort. We had to share our duties quite often during travel. My husband would look after the baby when I took Hugo for a walk. And he played with Hugo when I fed and took care of the baby.
Room service is your friend
It is not easy to dine peacefully at a restaurant with a newborn and a puppy. The weather also didn’t cooperate during our stay so we relied on room service. It felt so good ordering in and not worrying about anything else.
Be flexible and adapt
Things will not go as planned. You might get all dressed up and ready to go out but your baby has a totally different plan. Do not fret if things don’t work out as per your plan. Unexpected things come up while traveling with a newborn and know that it is totally OK. Relax and treat every mishap as a learning experience. Adapt and plan for future trips.
We are both engineers and treat everything as our little project and learn lessons from it. Going out with our weeks’ old traveler (whether it is to a park or a getaway) was a fun adventure. And we learned so many little things. I will keep updating this page as we go on more adventures together. I hope these tips are useful!
PIN FOR LATER
I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.