Traveling with a baby can be a delightful lark, an impossible mission, or both -- in a single hour of the journey! But if you're intrepid (and prepared), a family trip can be a fun adventure. We've gathered wisdom from road-warrior (and plane-Jane) moms about getting there with smiles and giggles intact.
Get it Together
Whether it's wheels or wings that will carry you to your destination, preparation is key. Heed these tips and get packing.
Check it off. "I write down everything I need, then cross it off as it goes in the bag," says Maryse Cassamajor of North Lauderdale, Florida. "That way, I can remember what I've put in, since I start packing a week in advance." Keep a master list of what went where, so that in an emergency, you can find the backup Binky in a flash.
Think small. Little things can be tremendously helpful. When her son Lucas was a baby, Maura Rhodes of Montclair, New Jersey, took a handful of outlet covers on trips to childproof the hotel room. Bungee cords and garbage-bag ties can gather drapes and cords. And it's no secret, but you can never have too many plastic baggies!
Choose carefully. It's tough to envision life sans baby bathtub and bouncy seat, but it won't all fit. "After many trips, I figured out the bare minimum," says Georgia Hallinan of Richmond, California. "You need a way to transport the baby, a place for the baby to sleep, and a car seat." To her list, we'd add a front or backpack carrier and your child's best lovey. That's it. Really! Be inventive: A stroller can triple as a high chair and a napping nest.
Carry on! If you're flying, realize that with a baby comes exemption from the "toothbrush, prescription meds, and a change of underwear" rule. Take enough diapers, wipes, and snacks to start a daycare center. "Don't forget extra T-shirts for the adults," advises Minneapolis mom Julia Litton, recalling a flight to Florida with then 14-month-old Patrick, who threw up all over her.