We recently started traveling with the new Hideaway Duffel made by No Reception Club. This maximum sized carry-on bag makes organization while traveling so easy and really impressed us with its functionality. We truly think the Hideaway Duffel is a game changer traveling, especially with littles. We have taken the bag on three trips thus far (including 2 road trips and 4 flights) and do not plan to take any future trips without it. Read on for more on why we love this bag and are recommending it to anyone (kids or no kids) as the best maximum sized carry-on bag.
Next Level Organization
The Hideaway Duffel really makes organization a breeze. This bag has a built-in packing organizer (The Cubby) that allows you to keep things separated and easily visible. This packing organizer creates a portable closet within the bag and make it easy to see everything you have packed, unlike using packing cubes.
We have a new 3 month old and a 2 year old who both have a lot of little clothes we have to pack each trip. This bag has kept all of our kids’ items organized throughout our trips and has acted as a portable closet for them. We never have had to truly unpack the Hideaway Duffel while traveling as we are easily able to see all of their clothes without unpacking them. It is refreshing not having to rifle through piles of clothes or packing cubes to get to anything.
Here is an example of how we packed (pictured above) our Hideaway Duffel for a 4 night road trip (where we would not have access to laundry):
4 pairs of infant pants/onesies
10 infant sleepers
5 infant swaddles
2 muslin blankets
2 infant hats
1 infant bunting
6 burp cloths
4 toddler pajama sets
4 toddler shirts/pants
1 toddler fleece pullover
1 toddler mid jacket
1 busy board
4 board books
18 pairs of infant and toddler socks
1 silicone bib
1 pair toddler shoes
Toiletries, Elvie pump/charger and 20 infant diapers in the outside pockets (not pictured above)
Dirty and Clean Clothes Easily Kept Separate
Further, this built-in packing organizer can be collapsed down at the end of your trip . You then can place all your dirty clothes in an included laundry bag and keep them separate from any clean clothes in an odor resistant laundry compartment. The odor resistant compartment is a collapsible section at the base of the bag that is designed to take up zero space when empty and expands as you fill it with dirty clothing. No more needing to intersperse dirty clothes with clean ones!
Easy Access Pockets
Some other organizational features in the Hideaway Duffel that need to be mentioned are the easy access front pockets. There are two of these pockets, one that is insulated and one that is not. These easy access pockets are great for things you need quick access to mid flight which comes in super handy with the littles. We have stored extra milk in the insulated one and books/extra diapers in the non insulated one. Also, if you own the sidekick fanny pack diaper bag (as we do and love), it fits here perfectly. We also think these pockets would be great for adult needs such as a book or cold snack you may want mid flight.
Makes Going Through Security Easier
Beyond unparalleled organization, the side pocket on the Hideaway Duffel where the Dopp Kit (toiletries bag by No Reception Club that can be hung up) fits perfectly makes going through airport security so much easier. And let me tell you, as parents traveling with a new baby and a toddler, we need all the help we can get while going through airport security. We put all of our liquids in this bag (not just toiletries), which makes it easy to just take the Dopp kit out from this easy access side pocket to go through security. Getting our liquids out for security has never been so seamless.
Not only does the Hideaway Duffel make going through airport security easier but it is also comfortable to wear. We have used several other maximum sized carry-on bags previously and have found all of them to be rather uncomfortable. After using so many uncomfortable maximum sized carry-on bags, we thought it must not be possible to create a comfortable one. Thankfully, Gemma and Daniel somehow cracked the code with the Hideaway Duffel. We love maximum sized carry on bags and use them as often as possible to avoid checking a bag/reduce the number of bags we have to check but previously have always felt punished for doing so with the uncomfortable wear of the competitor bags. Our backs no longer have to suffer with using a maximum sized carry-on backpack thanks to the Hideaway Duffel. Further, the bag has a luggage pass through we have found very useful to use to place it on a carry-on roller when we are baby wearing.
No Reception Club Delivers Again
The functionality and comfort of the Hideaway Duffel has us singing its praises. We already loved the Getaway Diaper Bag and think the Hideaway Duffel matches it in making travel with littles so much more organized and subsequently easier. To read more about why we love the Getaway Diaper Bag, see our The Best Travel Diaper Bag post. Way to go Gemma and Daniel on creating the perfect maximum sized carry-on bag.
We hope this guide helps you decide if the Hideaway Duffel is right for you. We’d love to hear your feedback and questions. Please leave us a comment!
After flying more than 30 times with our 20 month old, we have learned A LOT about flying with a baby & now a toddler. Although traveling with a baby or toddler is never easy, it is completely doable. On our most recent flight, a man sitting in the row next to us was so impressed with how well our daughter did on our 6 hour flight that he told us we “need to teach a class on flying with a baby.” We may not teach a class but here are our 5 top baby & toddler flying tips.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!
#1 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tip: Attitude is Everything
When flying with a baby and toddler, attitude really is everything. You need to have realistic expectations. If you expect your baby or toddler to sleep the entire flight and not fuss or cry at all, that is unrealistic. Be prepared that things may not go exactly as you want. And that is okay! Sure, it may be ideal if you try to time your baby’s nap to align with when you are flying but that might not realistically happen. Be flexible, follow your baby’s lead and go with the flow. If they sleep the whole time and there is no fussing/crying, great, but do not have that be your expectation. With a toddler, be prepared you may have to entertain/engage with them the entire flight (depending on time of day) and that is okay too! If you are realistic about how the flight may or may not go, your experience is going to be better. Do not set yourself up for disappointment with unrealistic expectations.
#2 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tip: Brings lots of Snacks
This tip is more pertinent once your baby is consistently eating solid foods but once they are, bring snacks and lots of them! Growing babies and toddlers get hungry often and do not exude a lot of patience when hungry. Snacks are a quick way to turn a sour mood right-side up. We use these Skip Hop Puppy Snack Cups for things that may go stale more quickly or need a more secure cover (ex. peeled clementines, apple slices, popcorn, etc.) . We also have at least 6 of these Munchkin Snack Cups we use for other more simple snacks that get quickly eaten (ex. Cheerios, Goldfish, etc.). We are sure to have a variety of choices and snacks (at least 4 different snack containers) for the flight. For longer flights (such as flying anywhere in Europe), we bring at least 6 containers and refills for the containers.
Similarly, make sure you are ready to nurse or bottle-feed younger babies on demand. Flying is not the time to stick to a strict feeding/nursing schedule.
#3 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tip: You do NOT need Fancy Toys
A question we get quite often is, what toys do you use when flying? The answer is none. We bring our daughters stuffed Elmo (comforts her/she sleeps with) and several different books but we do not bring any toys. She honestly is more ore interested in playing with the things around her on the airplane including (but not limited to) the safety information sheets, tray for food, gift bag from flight attendant, provided pillows, etc. She also recently had a lot of fun pushing her Elmo around in the free-to-use airport strollers in the Lisbon airport during a layover. Honestly, babies are entertained pretty easily and we find snack/book space in our diaper bag more valuable than toy space.
#4: Save Best Distractions for when you REALLY need them
For us, this distraction is screen time. Our daughter rarely gets screen time at home so it is a real treat when she gets any. We only use screen time on flights with her if nothing else (snacks or other distractions) is working when she is being fussy. For you, this might be a specific type of snack or toy. Whatever it is, be sure to save that special distraction for when you really need it and do not just use it when your baby or toddler is perfectly content.
#5: If they don’t sleep or cry, it will be okay
Pairing in with a realistic attitude, babies sometimes fight sleep and sometimes they cry. That is okay! Focus on caring for your child and remember that there are likely other parents on the flight who know how it can be to travel with a baby or toddler. You getting worked up about your baby crying or not sleeping is certainly not going to make it better. Remember, it will be okay. Your baby will eventually sleep and eventually stop crying. Remember, babies/toddlers cry or whine at times regardless of flying. It is best to ignore those cranky people that like to give mean or annoyed looks. Keep in mind they are getting mad at a baby so it would seem they just have a negative attitude towards life. Also, babies and toddlers are resilient. Our daughter actually does MUCH better with time changes than we do. She tends to see when the sun is out in a new time zone and is like “okay, let’s be awake.” If only mom and dad adjusted that easily!
If looking to create a dark space for your baby on-the-go, check out the CoziGo. This portable blackout curtain creates a dark space for your little one to sleep in his/her car seat or stroller easier on-the-go. We found this works best for babies 15 months or less.
Bonus Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tip: YOU CAN DO IT
Many naysayers (who likely have not traveled with their baby or traveled very little) will say you can’t do it. Do not listen to them. You absolutely can fly with your baby and toddler. It may not go perfectly and that is totally okay. You will learn more with each trip and each flight will go a little smoother. Our 20 month old honestly travels better than many adults. Babies and toddlers are adaptable and will do great when you have realistic expectations for them. You can do it!
If you are looking to travel with your baby/toddler AND sleep, the SlumberPod is a must. This portable blackout pod makes traveling with a baby more restful and less stressful. We recently started using the SlumberPod, and it has been a game changer for room sharing while traveling. After over a dozen trips with our daughter in less than a year, we know the SlumberPod is a travel essential for room sharing situations and/or instances where you are without blackout curtains. Continue reading on for all the reasons we have deemed the SlumberPod a baby travel sleep essential.
Use code ALWAYSHAVEATRIPPLANNED$20 for $20 off your SlumberPod order today
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!
SlumberPod is a Baby/Toddler Travel Essential
If you are planning on traveling with your baby and doing any room sharing, or staying somewhere without blackout curtains, the SlumberPod is vital for you having a good experience. The SlumberPod truly solves the problem of trying to get a good night’s sleep while room-sharing with your baby or toddler. The SlumberPod allows you to room share with your baby while they sleep in their crib or pack-n-play undisturbed. After many times when we were room sharing (and not using the SlumberPod) and accidentally woke our baby up (who proceeded to the be awake the rest of the night), we will never room share again without using the SlumberPod. It has been a true lifesaver in any room sharing situation.
Travel AND Sleep
We really wish we would have found and started using the SlumberPod sooner. It is especially useful for frequent trips back to Sam’s childhood home where we room share and there are no blackout curtains. Sleep has always been a struggle in environments like this but now we don’t have to worry about not being able to sleep thanks to the SlumberPod.
Features we love about the SlumberPod
The SlumberPod is a high-quality product designed with stellar attention to detail. The mother/daughter duo that came up with this product really designed it right!
Features we love about the SlumberPod include:
Dark yet breathable fabric
Fan pouch to help create air flow in more warm environments
Bottomless structure that fit over standard sized pack-n-plays and cribs
Ventilation panels and air vents
Baby monitor pouch
Zippered window to access baby
Portable & compact
All of these features make it easy to travel with and use the SlumberPod. It is also ideal to use at home if your baby’s napping area is not dark or you want to be able to access the room without waking them.
We love this product so much that we reached out to SlumberPod to become a SlumberPod partner and get our readers a discount. Use code ALWAYSHAVEATRIPPLANNED$20 for $20 off your order today! SlumberPod is a portable & affordable solution for getting a good night’s sleep while room sharing. The SlumberPod is truly a lifesaver in any room sharing situation. Make travel and sleep both possible, buy your own SlumberPod today!
Iceland, also known as the “The Land of Fire and Ice”, is really a magical and memorable country to visit, especially with your baby along for the fun. From glaciers to waterfalls to volcanoes to coastline to geothermal baths, the list of natural wonders for you and your baby to adore goes on and on. With Iceland being one of the most scenic and safest countries in the world, it’s the perfect place to travel with your baby. Our Iceland with a baby itinerary will cover seeing all the natural wonders listed above in 9 days while driving the Ring Road/ entire island (over 1400 miles in total) with your baby in tow. We visited Iceland when our daughter was 10 months old and had a really lovely trip with her.
You will not find a better Iceland with a baby itinerary out there. We spent years researching and have picked out the best stops along/off the Ring Road to make for the best trip for you and your baby in Iceland. And when we say years, we mean years. This trip was originally supposed to occur in May 2020 pre-baby (we all know how 2020 went…). Instead, our Iceland trip took place in June 2022 with our 10-month-old daughter. This gave us extra time to fine tune our trip and to also make it baby friendly.
We also have paced this ‘Iceland with a Baby Itinerary’ out based on how we were able to complete traveling around Iceland with our baby in real time. We had a loose plan of what we wanted to do before we went on our trip and then we planned this trip out based on how things played out real time each day. Everything takes more time with a baby, and this real time method helped us better gauge how much we could realistically do in one day. Here is our 9-Day visiting Iceland with a Baby Itinerary.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!
Overview of Iceland with a Baby Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive & Golden Circle
Þórufoss , Thingvellir National Park, Efstidalur, Strokkur Geysir, Gullfoss, Faxi Waterfall and Kerid Crater
Arnarstapi to Hellnar Trail, Rauöfeldargjá Canyon, Búðakirkja church, Reykjavik
Day 9: Reykjavik & Fly Home
Day 1 Iceland with a Baby: Arrive & Golden Circle
Fly into Reykjavik
We arrived on our flight to Iceland with our baby around 10:30 AM local time (departed from Chicago the evening prior). We’d recommend arriving earlier than this if possible. By the time we got our luggage picked up, went through customs and got our campervan, it was 1:30 PM. By the time we got groceries, it was 3 PM local time. If we were to redo this trip, we would have booked a flight that landed earlier in the day to get more of a jump start on our day.
Tip: Consider staying on your home time if visiting during June or July
Due to the midnight sun (it never actually got dark) occurring in Iceland during our June trip, we never switched our time schedules. Instead, we stayed on US Central Time the entire trip. So even though the time would be 12 AM or 1 AM local time, it would only be 7 PM or 8 PM on our clocks (5 hour time difference).
This decision was helpful not only for our baby but also us. We never had to deal with time changes and had quite a smooth transition into and back out of our trip (although it is never easy to come back to everyday life from a trip…). Also, exploring late at night was great for being the only people at many attractions. Turns out, most people do not do this. So, when we would be at normally very busy attractions at 12 AM local time, we usually were the only ones there. Score!
Tip: Buy groceries in Reykjavik before starting your trip
Grocery store options are very limited once you leave Reykjavik. Stock up on some essentials before you head off on your journey
We recommend stopping at Kronan to pick up some groceries. We found this grocery store chain to have the best prices and variety throughout our trip. On the north side of the Island (where we did not encounter any Kronans), we would recommend stopping at Netto.
There is also a Costco in Reykjavik that we stopped at in addition to Kronan to buy some drinks in bulk.
Tip: If you have extra room in your luggage, bring as much nonperishable food as you can.
Food is EXPENSIVE in Iceland. The expense of food is logical given that Iceland is an island but coming from the midwest where cost of food is very affordable, we were in a bit of sticker shock. Bring what you can to cut back on cost.
Drive and Visit Golden Circle Attractions
Þórufoss (1 hour 5 minutes from Airport)
Porufoss is a slight detour off the regular Golden Circle route, but it is definitely worth the time to stop as you will likely be the ONLY people there! This waterfall is so peaceful. It is less impressive than some other waterfalls you will see on this trip, yet it is likely one of the only ones you will have to yourself, especially on the Golden Circle. Our baby loved watching and listening to the waterfall here.
Finding Porufoss: After about 15km on Route 36, turn left onto Route 48. Drive for about 5km and then you will see a small sign on the right for Þórufoss.
Note: If a site has FOSS at the end of it, it’s a waterfall. FOSS=waterfall.
Thingvellir National Park (16 minutes from Porufoss)
The next stop on your Iceland road trip with a baby is Thingvellir National Park. This National Park is of historic importance as this is where the Icelandic Parliament met between 930-1798. Thingvellir National Park also is home to the rift between the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates. These tectonic plates move 1mm-18mm/year! Between the tectonic plates is some of the clearest and cleanest water in the world.
Note: You can snorkel between the tectonic plates here. We initially had a tour booked to snorkel the Silfra Fissure with Tröll Expeditions in May 2020. We did not rebook this for our June 2022 trip as we had our baby in tow and also felt we would prefer to do more hiking here than snorkeling.
Parking is 750 Kronos (pay in bathroom)
In Thingvellir National Park, be sure to hike to Oxarafoss. The falls here cascades over the rift between the tectonic plates that is a visual reminder that you are standing on the border of these tectonic plates. This 2.6 mile loop hike goes by fast. This hike goes through Thingvellir National Park, past several other attractions in the park, including Pingvellir church, making the hike seem shorter.
2.6 mile loop hike with 744 feet of elevation gain
Efstidalur (40 minutes from Thingvellir National Park)
The next stop on your Iceland trip with a baby itinerary is Efstidalur, a family run farm turned into an ice cream parlor and restaurant. Here you can enjoy farm-to-table dining while overlooking the mountains or the farm cows. During dinner, our baby liked watching the cows eat through the large windows as well as playing with the silverware. Oh the simple joys of a baby.
Warning: It’s a bit pricey. Dinner and ice cream for the 2 of us (baby did not get her own meal) cost about $75 USD. This is pretty expensive in comparison to US prices but actually quite on par for Iceland standards, especially for farm-to-table dining.
Finding Efstidalur: 801 Bláskógabyggð. On Route 37, after the split from 365, drive about 12km (you will pass Route 366 on the right). You will see a sign for the farm on the left side of the road.
The next stop on your Iceland trip with a baby is the Strokkur Geysir, a thermal area that erupts every 6-10 minutes. Our baby loved watching the Geysir bubble up and erupt. She thought it was funny and would giggle when it started to bubble.
Tip: Go late at night for little to no people. We went right before sunset at 11:30 PM local time in June and only saw two other people. Otherwise, this spot is very popular and busy during the day.
Gullfoss (10 minutes from Strokkur Geysir)
Next stop on your Iceland road trip with your baby is Gulfoss, one of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in Iceland. Gulfoss flows down in a three step staircase-like pattern before plunging into the river below in two dramatic stages. It is a short walk from the parking lot down to the waterfall here but if you walk on all the trails around the waterfall, it is about a mile.
Tip: Go early in the morning or late at night to have it to yourself. Otherwise, like Strokkur, it is really busy.
Faxi is a waterfall hidden gem that most people drive right by. Here you walk from the parking lot down to the waterfall in a couple short minutes. This stop is not a must do but a quick 20 minute stop that we recommend taking if you have time. We saw some very friendly Icelandic horses just before we pulled into this parking lot.
Finding Faxi Waterfall: Located on road 35 between Strokkur Geysir and the town of Reykholt (there is a small sign on the left when you are driving South pointing towards the falls).
750 Kronos to Park
Kerid Crater (45 minutes)
Up next on your Iceland with a baby itinerary is Kerid Crater, a volcanic crater with crystal blue water. The green around the rim contrasting the red soil and blue water is truly stunning. You can walk around the top of the rim and/or bottom rim. Do both! The views are equally beautiful at the top and bottom rim but different
400 Kronos per person for trail use (during attendant hours), children under 12 free
In Selfoss, there is a Kronan grocery store. Be sure to stock up on fresh groceries again tomorrow morning as supply options only get more sparse the further you get away from Reykjavik.
Day 1 Driving Map- 3.5 Hours of Driving
Day 2 Iceland with a Baby:South Iceland
Seljalandsfoss (1 hour from Selfoss)
The next stop on your Iceland with a baby trip is Seljalandsfoss, almost 200 feet tall. It is one of Iceland’s most unique waterfalls as you are actually able to walk behind it!
WARNING: Don’t ruin your camera here. If you walk up to/behind the waterfall, it will get wet.
Tip: Waterproof Everything!
Be sure the whole family, especially the baby, has waterproof gear. We almost did not bring a Baby Rain Suit for our baby and that would have been a huge mistake. We would have not been able to walk behind the waterfall. This would have been a real shame because she loved walking behind it and being misted by the waterfall. She couldn’t stop giggling!
TIP: Don’t forget to look at the little waterfall next door: Gljúfrabúi
Gljúfrabúi is the secret waterfall, hidden in a cave less than a 10 minute walk to the left (when walking from the parking lot) from Seljalandsfoss. Many people don’t even realize it was there because they are so mesmerized by Seljalandsfoss and do not walk further down the trail. It isa little smaller than Seljalandsfoss with a 130 foot drop, yet arguably as inspiring as Seljalandsfoss.
Note: You have to wade through a shallow stream into this cave. Be sure to have waterproof boots, like the ones we recommended above, to do this. The stream is shallow and we had no problem safely doing this with our baby strapped to us in our hiking boots.
After you leave Seljavallalaug, a short drive will take you to Skógafoss, another epic 200 foot waterfall. Don’t make the mistake of only viewing the falls from the bottom. Be sure to head up the stairs and check out the area above the falls. There are 526 steep stairs to make the climb to the top overlook and the trail that continues on.
If you keep walking along the river, you’ll also encounter some other smaller waterfalls before the main drop. These falls are also quite beautiful and perfect for tourist-free photos. Our baby seemed to like these smaller waterfalls better than the main Skogafoss here. She must like scenic spots better with less people too!
There is about 1.5 miles of round trip walking to/around here to see different waterfalls/views . We walked to the bottom of Skogafoss, climbed the stairs to the top overlook of Skogafoss and then to the next waterfall after this. The trail from the top of the falls actually goes 26 miles so you can make as short or as long as you want
Note: Supposedly, per our research, the lighting at this waterfall is better in the afternoon and you may see a rainbow with the sunlight. It was raining when we visited in the afternoon so we really cannot speak to this being true or not.
Kvernufoss (1 minute from Skogar Museum)
A short 15 minute walk from the parking lot takes you to Kvernufoss, also known as the “Hidden Waterfall.” It is a quick walk with unworldly scenery to this waterfall. This was Natalie’s favorite waterfall hike up to this point in the trip. It is a great bang for buck hike. Also, we only saw two other people at this waterfall which was a tranquil contrast after visiting Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss (as both were quite crowded).
Note: This trail is located very close to the Skogar Museum. You could park at the museum and walk over to the trail located just to the east. Find the fence you need to climb over (ladder goes over the barbed wire fence) and then take the path to the waterfall. You will not be disappointed with the views.
In the summertime, many Atlantic puffins can be found nesting on the cliff faces of Dyrhólaey
This spot is not far outside of Vik and you can see Reynisfjara Beach from here
Note: The lighthouse is only open 9 AM- 7 PM local time
This spot was actually closed when we arrived. It is only accessible 9 AM- 7 PM local Icelandic time. We arrived at around 9 PM local time and unfortunately were unable to visit. We do not feel we missed out, but this is likely the best opportunity to see Puffins on this trip itinerary. So if you have never seen Puffins (we have seen them in Kenai Fjords National Park Quick Guide) or really want to see them in Iceland, be sure to arrive before 7PM or after 9 AM local time.
Reynisfjara Beach (22 minutes)
The next stop on your Iceland with a baby trip is Reynisfjara Beach. This is a short walk out to the black sand beach with the iconic massive hexagonal basalt columns. When we visited Reynisfjara Beach, it was super windy. Our baby girl found it quite amusing!
Caution: Beware of “sneaky waves” on the beach. Do not go anywhere where the sand is smooth (or has had water obviously wash up on it). People often get close to the water, turn their backs and then get swept away by the large waves that sneak up on them. Numerous people have drowned. Don’t be one of them.
Vik (11 minutes)
Up next on your Iceland road trip with your baby is Vik, a remote seafront village in south Iceland. Our favorite spot in this village was the pretty church on the hill surrounded by picturesque purple flowers
Fun fact: These purple flowers, alpine lupine, are actually an invasive weed (yet so pretty!)
This village has several restaurants, a gas station and a grocery store. Vik was actually much smaller than we expected. We ate at the Stronan Pub in Vik that had some nice distant views of Reynisfjara Beach. The food we had here (pasta and lamb chops) was also quite good. And, most importantly, this place is open until midnight! We actually tried to eat at two other restaurants but they closed at 9 PM local time and since we stayed on our home time, we needed a place open later.
*Look for all the different scenery as you drive further on the Ring Road*
Laufskálavarða (30 minutes)
This is a small lava rock area with many rock cairns that remained after a large farm was destroyed by the eruption of the Katla Volcano. The tradition here was to stack stone cairns as a sign of good luck while crossing the area. This is an interesting quick stop right off the road.
Eldhraun Lava Field (16 minutes)
Mossy lava field that looks like something out of the Teletubby show from the 90s. The Apollo 11 crew came here to train for their impending moonwalk. Route 1 runs directly through Eldhraun so you cannot miss it. It is a quick stop/drive through.
Stay in Laki or Skaftárhreppur (camp or accommodations). Alternatively, stay in Vik and drive about an hour more the next day
Day 2 Driving Map- 3.5 hours of driving
Day 3 Iceland with a Baby:South/East Iceland
Fjaðrárgljúfur (10 minutes)
Absolutely stunning 1 mile long, 300 foot deep beautiful slot canyon. The third platform has the best views of the canyon and there is a waterfall at this spot too. And there will be less people at this platform as most tourists only make it to the first viewing platform.
Fun Fact: Justin Beiber’s “I’ll Show You” music video features this spot
Vatnajökull National Park is the next stop on your tour of the ring road with a baby on board. You could spend days in this massive national park. We saw the highlights of this park by hiking to Svartifoss and the Svinafellsjokull Glacier.
Parking costs 750 Kronos/vehicle
Iconic Svartifoss waterfall
Svartifoss is known for the hexagonal basalt columns that surround its cascading falls
Fun fact: The Basalt Columns here inspired Hallgrimskirkja Church design in downtown Reykjavik
This waterfall is further from the road than most other waterfalls in Iceland but well worth the extra effort. There are three traill options to see Svartifoss. We recommend the mid-option (what we did). Here are the options to see it:
Same as the shorter option but on this trail you take a different route back to the trailhead to make a loop.
Do this one!
On this loop hike, on the way back from Svartifoss, we did not see any other hikers. This part of the trail was so peaceful in comparison to the first half of the trail (the part that most people do as an out and back, option #1). For not much added effort, you’ll likely have this part of the trail to yourself, get better views of the waterfalls leading up to Svartifoss and see the snow capped mountains in the distance better.
Loops out to the east rather than the west (mid-option does this) and takes you past a couple other waterfalls
The Svinafellsjokull Glacier is a really pretty spot where you can touch parts of ice that have broken off from the main glacier. Baby G loved touching (and tasting) pieces of ice glacier. We also only saw a few other people on the trail when we visited mid-afternoon, making it a very peaceful short hike.
Fun fact: This glacier was used in filming of Interstellar, Batman Begins and Game of Thrones
Caution: Sometimes this glacier is closed due to landslides
Next, stop for a meal at the Adventure Hotel in the small quaint village of Hof. This is the nicest restaurant and the best food we ate in Iceland up to this point.
Hof is a very small quaint and peaceful village on the southeast part of the island. Hof, and this area in general, has very limited eating, lodging and camping options. The next place with lodging, camping and dining options is Hofn which is about 60 km away.
Hangandifoss/Múlagljúfur Canyon (36 minutes)
This hike with several waterfalls, most notably Hangandifoss, truly offers out-of-this-world views. At the summit of this hike, you overlook the stunning Múlagljúfur canyon with the flowing Mulaa river and Hangandifoss waterfall within it. You also can see the snow-covered volcano Oraefajokull in the distance. Pictures and words do not do this view justice. Baby G was a smiley little peanut for this hike. She was very curious about all the different views throughout the hike. We also only saw 3 other people throughout this hike, making it very serene.
Caution: Loose gravel/slippery in a lot of spots
Natalie actually tripped and fell forward with G strapped to the front of her while on this trail. G was fine, Natalie’s leg and arm took a beating but nothing requiring medical care thankfully. We would still hike this trail again but just be very cautious hiking on the gravel path as it can be slippery in spots. We would advise not hiking this with a toddler who is mainly walking themselves though.
3.6 miles out & back, 1,204 feet of elevation gain
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lake + Iceberg Lagoon/Diamond Beach (12 minutes from Canyon)
The Jökulsárlón lagoon is filled with massive ice chunks that have fallen from the Jökulsárlón glacier . This lagoon is over 800 feet deep-making it the deepest lake in all of Iceland.
There are several pull-offs from which you can see the lagoon. Feel free to park at one or several of them and soak in the different views. We recommend parking at the parking lot just past (east of) the bridge for the best views.
You might even be lucky enough to see a seal here—we saw about 10!
Don’t forget to spend some time near the ocean at Diamond Beach.This beach got its name because of the crystal clear ice chunks that you’ll find on the starkly contrasting jet black beach. We were here at sunset and the views were stunning.
Tip: Go here early in the morning or late at night to avoid the crowds
Stay overnight in Hofn or at Vestrahorn Mountain
Drive about 1 hour to the Hofn or Vestrahorn Mountain area. We saw many sheep on this drive, many on the road where the speed limit is 90 kilometers per hour. See our Iceland general tips for further details about sheep in Iceland.
Day 3 Driving Map- 3.5 hours of driving
Day 4 Iceland with a Baby:East Iceland
Hofn (1 hour from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lake)
Icelandic fishing town in the southeastern part of Iceland. Near Hornafjörður fjord and with views of Vatnajökull.
Fun fact: Vatnajökull is the largest and most voluminous ice cap in Iceland
Honestly, there is not much to see in Hofn but there is a grocery store. Be sure to stock up on food again here as there is not anywhere to buy supplies for almost 3 hours to the north. Unfortunately, the grocery store in Hofn was closed the day we visited (for an unknown reason) so we had to stop in the next main town, Eglisstadir, about 3 hours to the north. We got a hotdog and sandwich from the gas station here and they were surprisingly good.
Vestrahorn Mountain (21 minutes from Hofn)
The next stop on your Iceland with a baby itinerary is Vestrahorn Mountain located on the Stokksnes peninsula. Located here is a black sand beach next to the tall spring mountains. The area was a bit fog-covered when we visited, yet the contrast of the mountains with the black sand beach was still quite stunning. It was very windy here and Baby G got a kick out of that.
You can also walk around a small Viking village here. It is neat to see a primitive Viking settlement. However, this was a neat extra and not a must-see.
The beach at Stokksnes is private and there is a small entrance fee, 900 Kronos, to drive down to the beach
Drive route 95
Next on your Iceland road trip with your baby, drive Route 95. This gravel road has so many waterfalls along it (you literally will see a waterfall on either side of you driving at all times) and there are also very few cars/people on it. Taking this route is not out of the way either and it actually gets you to the next waterfall (Hengifoss) hike on this itinerary in less time than driving Route 1. Other travelers we encountered saw reindeer on this road, but we were not so fortunate.
Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss Hike (3 hours from Vestrahorn Mountain)
The Hengifoss is the third highest waterfall in Iceland at almost 400 feet tall. It is quite impressive and with the red streaking in the rocks around the waterfall, it looks quite different from the other waterfalls you have seen at this point.
This was actually our favorite hike in Iceland at this point in the trip. It was not overly strenuous or technical so you could get into a nice flow state. Also, there were so many waterfalls and other scenery to see on the way to Hengifoss that the hike went by really fast. We further only saw about a dozen other people on the trail which was a nice contrast to some of the waterfall hikes on the south part of the island. Most importantly, our daughter was in a great mood for the hike. She babbled most of the time and then fell asleep in our carrier. Happy baby = happy parents!
This restaurant had a large variety of food options for a reasonable price and the staff was friendly. Also, there was a cute high chair for baby G. And it was open when we were driving through town. If you want to eat at a restaurant today, Egilsstadir is really the only town you will be able to do that.
Seydisfjordur (1 hour from Hengifoss and Litlanesfoss Hike)
Up next on your Iceland with a baby trip is visiting the town of Seydisfjordur. This town felt like something out of a fairytale. The town has a quaint blue church with a rainbow road leading up to it and really picturesque fjord/mountain views. We had a lovely time walking around this town with baby G. Most tourists don’t make it to this town as it is a bit out of the way and this allows for a more local experience.
Further, driving to this town is half the experience. To get here, you drive straight through the mountains. The scenery driving was much different than any other part of our trip. There was much more snow cover on the mountains than anywhere else on our trip up to this point. Similar to other parts of our trip, we saw many pretty waterfalls and sheep on our drive to this town.
Stay in Seydisfjordur or Egilsstaðir
Day 4 Driving Map- 4.5 hours of driving
Day 5 Iceland with a Baby:East Iceland
Hike Fardagafoss (in Egilsstadir)
Getting to this waterfall is a peaceful, relatively short, 30 minute hike. It is certainly not a must do but a local hike located very close to where we stayed night 4 in Egilsstadir.
Fun Facts: An old folktale claims that a female troll used to occupy the cave behind the waterfall. Also, the notorious outlaw, Fjalla-Eyvindur, sought shelter in the cave behind Fardagafoss in the 18th century, but was driven out by locals.
Stock up on supplies in Egilsstadir
There are very limited options for supplies/groceries on the east and north side of the island so be sure to get gas and food here as you will not see another gas station or grocery store again until you reach the Myvatn area (Reykjahlíð).
Rjukandafoss (40 minutes from Egilsstadir )
This very short walk leads to a pretty 3-part waterfall located almost right off the road (route 1).
The next stop on your Iceland with a baby itinerary is this unique canyon. Stuðlagil Canyon is filled with tall basalt columns and unique streaks of color. You can either hike out to this part of the canyon (east side) or view it from a viewing platform (west side).
We went to the west side viewing platform as well as hiked out to the east side of the canyon. The hiking views on the east side of the canyon are much better than from the viewing platform. While hiking, you can see both sides of the canyon and even climb down into the large basalt columns. Sam did this and got some cool vantage points. We would rate this hike as easy from a technical standpoint as it is a level gravel path and flat in most parts. Also, you can really get into flow state with this hike.
5.7 Miles Out & Back, 561 feet of elevation gain from P2 parking lot.
You can potentially park 1.5 miles closer at P1. However, you need to have 4 x 4 drive as this road is ridden with potholes. We only had 2 wheel drive on our campervan and did the longer hike.
How to find Stuðlagil Canyon:
When heading to Northern Iceland from Egilsstaðir, you need to take a turn to Road 923. Then you drive about 19 kilometers to the farm Grund where you will find a parking lot and a path to the riverbank (5 minute walk). This takes you to the viewing platform on the east side of the river and is where Google Maps will take you to if you type in “Stuðlagil Canyon.” The viewing platform is reached by climbing down (and then up) about 200 stairs and is a very short walk from the parking lot. There is a stand here with food and drinks for sale as well as restrooms you can use for a small fee.
To access the hiking trail, you need to drive back 5 minutes to P2. There will be signs on how to access the hike at the viewing platform food stand too.
Dettifoss and Selfoss (2 hours from Stuðlagil Canyon)
The next stop on your iceland road trip with your baby is Dettifoss. This waterfall is said to be the second most powerful waterfall in all of Europe. It is located in the desolate Vatnajökull National Park. There is another waterfall here, Selfoss, that is only a few hundred meters downstream from Dettifoss. You can access Selfoss via a rocky footpath (follow the sticks marking the trail to navigate). Be sure to wear sturdy hiking boots as this rocky path is quite uneven and took us longer to hike than expected because of its uneven nature.
How to access: There are actually two different roads that lead to Dettifoss, but make sure that you enter from highway 864 (not 852) for the best view on the east side
Note: The road to the east side is pothole ridden and it will take about an hour to get to the waterfall. However, on the east side, you can walk along the edge of the gorge to get better views of Dettifoss and Selfoss. If you do not want to deal with the gravel road, you can enter from the west side on a paved road. However, you will likely get very wet and because of how the mist sprays, likely have a difficult time viewing the waterfall itself.
2.3 miles out and back, 498 feet of elevation gain
Next, stop at the Hverir Mud Pots. Here, you may think you have left Iceland and landed on a different planet. We have never been to Mars but this is what we imagine it looks like. While the scenery is stunning, the smell from the sulfur here is truly terrible. It smells like rotten eggs and neither of us could stand the smell too long.
Grjótagjá (7 minutes from Hverir Mud Pots)
This is a quick stop to look in the cave that became famous from Game of Thrones Cave as it is where Jon Snow and Ygrette get it on. It is a neat spot and is unlike anything we had seen on our trip so far. The constantly changing scenery in Iceland is astounding.
Stay in Myvatn/ Reykjahlíð area (20 minutes from Grjótagjá )
Day 5 Driving Map- 4.5 hours of driving
Day 6 Iceland with a Baby:North Iceland
Hike around the Dimmuborgir area in Myvatn
On the first stop today of your Iceland road trip with a baby, you’ll hike through unique volcanic rock caves and lava rock formations in the Dimmuborgir area. There are several short trail options here. We hiked the red trail which ended up being about 1 mile total. Baby G mastered using our water bite valve,and it was nothing short of adorable.
Caution: Beware of the midges if you are visiting in the warmer months. These small bugs don’t bite but sure do bother you in swarms. Many people were wearing head nets to keep them away. We did not have head nets so we were just constantly swatting at them. Myvatn literally translates to “lake of midges” in Icelandic so this area really in well known for these annoying bugs.
Swim at the Myvatn Nature Baths
Next, stop at the Myvatn Nature Baths for a bit of spa time. This location is an outdoor lagoon with milky blue water that is naturally heated by hot springs. Our baby loved swimming and playing around the milky warm water. We also found this spot to be very relaxing and with some really stunning views. Unlike the Blue Lagoon (outside of Reykjavik) that does not allow children less than 2 years old, all ages (with an adult) are welcomed here. Kids 0-2 are free to swim too. This lagoon is also less crowded than blue lagoon with equally beautiful baths and (arguably better) views.
Tip: The earlier you get here, the less people there are. There is no time limit on how long people can be here so it tends to be busier later in the day as more people accumulate.
Tip: Get groceries and gas before leaving the Myvatn area
Husvak (46 minutes from Myvatn)
Up next on your Iceland trip with a baby is the charming little village of Husvak. This village is well known for its incredible whale watching and picturesque harbor. The most famous landmark of the town is the quaint wooden church, Húsavíkurkirkja, in the center. We could not get enough of the Harbor views while here. We did not book a whale watching tour but if that is something you want to do, do it here!
Eat at Gamli Bakur whilein Húsavík! The dining room decor and harbor views are on point. The food was some of the best we ate in Iceland as well. We loved our seafood pasta, fish soup and lamb steak. The lamb steak was the best lamb we had in Iceland and the fish soup was the best fish soup we had in Iceland. The food and vibes were a real win here.
Godafoss (40 minutes from Husvak)
Next stop is Iceland’s most powerful waterfall, Godafoss. Godafoss is actually not just one waterfall but about five waterfalls together. Godafoss translates to ‘Waterfall of the Gods’. Legend has it, it got its name from when pagan Gods were thrown into it after Iceland became a Christian country.
The hike here is an easy walk along the cliffs to the falls. Be careful though as it is *literally* right along the cliffs. You can also hike down to the base of this waterfall on a short rocky path for some even more up close views. The hiking trails total about 1.5 miles if you hike them all on both the east and west side of the falls.
Drive to Akueryki and stay in Akureyri (30 minutes from Godafoss)
Day 7 Iceland with a Baby:North/West Iceland
Explore Akueryki (30 minutes from Godafoss)
Next stop on your Iceland with a baby trip is Akueryki, the second largest city in Iceland. Here, park & visit the free Lystigardurinn Botanical Gardens in the city center. The paths at these gardens make for a leisurely walk around the different flora of the area. There are lots of pretty flowers and one of the most northerly botanical gardens in the world.
From the Botanical Gardens, you can walk to the iconic Akureyrarkirkja church. We recommend staying parked at the Botanical Gardens as parking is more difficult once you get further into the city center.After visiting Akureyrarkirkja, walk down to the main street of the city center and stop at the cute shops. Additionally there is a small park, and our daughter loved playing in the miniature viking ship and going on the slide with Natalie (her first time on a slide!)
Drive to Snaefellsnes Peninsula (5 hours from Akureyri)
Next up is a 5 hour drive from Akureyri to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Make sure to make several stops along the way to break up this long drive.
Stop at Kolugljufur Canyon
This rural canyon has a tiered gorge located about 20 mins southeast of Hvammstangi. Also, it is only a short (less than 5 km) detour from the ring road. The best part is that you will likely be the only one here as it is just far enough off the beaten path that most tourists do not make it here. To get to the canyon, you drive through ordinary farmland and then suddenly, BAM, this massive canyon arises. We spent about 30 minutes hiking around. You could also have a picnic in this peaceful spot as there is a picnic table near where you park.
Fun fact: Legend has it that the female Kola troll dug this canyon and her treasure is hidden in it.
Get a meal at Sjavarborg Restaurant in Hvammstangi
Sjavarborg restaurant in Hvammstangi has large windows that overlook this fishing town’s bay. In this bay, whales are often seen breaching. We did not see any during our dinner but if you are lucky enough, you may see one during your meal. Our daughter liked looking out the large windows regardless of whether the whales were there. We had the fish of the day (cod) and a grilled sweet potato topped with chickpeas, coleslaw and peanut sauce. Both were delicious! The decor in this restaurant we’d describe as modern meets industrial harbor front.
Start to explore Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Stop at the Iconic Kirkjufellsfoss and Kirkjufell (5 hours from Akureyri)
Next up is the iconic Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall and Kirkjufell mountain. The falls themselves aren’t that impressive but the uniquely shaped Kirkjufell mountain in combination with the falls makes for a very pretty scene.
Tip: To get the iconic photo that everyone loves, you need to walk from the car park up towards the waterfalls. There is a bridge to cross over and walk down.
Parking 750 Kronos per vehicle
Take in the views at vibrantly colored Svortuloft Lighthouse (45 minutes from Kirkjufell)
Next stop on your Iceland with a baby trip is the unique Svortuloft Lighthouse. This lighthouse is so cool because it is bright orange and really contrasts the black lava rock along the coastline. Seasonally, during the summer, there are a lot of different birds in the rocks on the coastline too. We were the only people here at 11 pm local time when we visited. We had a nice dinner in our campervan overlooking this spot with our daughter. She loved sitting in her compact camp chair.
Caution: The road leading out to this unique spot is very rough yet still drivable with 2-wheel drive.
Stay in Arnarstapi or Hellnar (40 minutes from Svortuloft Lighthouse)
Day 8 Iceland with a Baby: West Iceland Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Hike the Arnarstapi to Hellnar Trail
The first activity of your eighth day in Iceland with your baby is hiking the Arnarstapi to Hellnar trail. This is an easy walk along the bird-filled (seasonally in the summer) cliffs lining the coastline between the small towns of Arnarstapi and Hellnar.
Before making your return journey from Hellnar, stop at Fjoruhusid Cafe. This cute cafe with indoor and outdoor seating is located along the water. Stop here for some tasty local Icelandic food and stunning ocean views.
This short (less than 0.5 miles) trail leads to some stunning cliffs that lead into a canyon where water flows through. Be sure to enter the canyon to see the impressive views from lower down as well.
Fun Fact: Legend has it a half man/half troll named Rauöfeldargjá lives in this canyon.
Stop at the iconic Búðakirkja church (25 minutes from Rauöfeldargjá Canyon)
This famous, and very frequently photographed, black church on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula stands out amongst the green flora surrounding it. The church is very picturesque but also very busy. We would advise visiting this spot in the early morning or late at night to avoid the crowds
Drive towards Reykjavik (2 hours and 20 minutes) and stay in/outside of Reykjavik
Day 9 Iceland with a Baby: Reykjavik
Explore Reykjavik on your last day in Iceland
This church located in the Reykjavik city center is named after a 17th century hymn writer and took 40 years to construct. The organ pipes here mimic the basalt formations, like at Svartifoss, found throughout the country.
ISK 900 to go to top for city views
Go to a Museum in Reykjavik
We did not have time but go consider visiting one of the museums below:
Iceland Phallological Museum (AKA Penis museum), ISK 1700
National Iceland Museum (Viking artifacts), ISK 2000
Get Lost Walking Around the City Center
There are some fun, interactive paintings on the street. Natalie had a fun time hopscotching the 106 spot hopscotch. Who decided it should be 106 rather than 100 spots is a great question!
We walked through the neighborhood around the city center and saw some unique architecture while getting a glimpse into local life. While doing this, we stopped at a local park. Our baby girl crawled around and played with a local baby. She loved it and we enjoyed our conversations with the other baby’s parents.
Where to Eat in Reykjavik
Braud & Co
Bakery known for cinnamon rolls and buttery croissants. So delicious, soft and worth every penny .
This lively cafe has only two items on the menu–a daily changing vegetarian and meat soup. The soup here comes in a scrumptious sourdough bread bowl. The wait staff was very friendly and they had a fun, unique highchair/rocking chair for our baby to play in. She loved it and we got a kick out of it too.
ISK 2400 for soup in bread bowl
Drive to Airport and Fly Home
Note: Slow this itinerary down or speed it up as you please. We found this itinerary to be very manageable in a campervan with our curious, and very wiggly, 10-month-old. If you do not have a baby (or pokey adult) in tow, you may be able to do it in 8 days. If you want more downtime and/or plan on staying in hotels rather than doing a campervan, we recommend taking 10+ days to do this itinerary. Also, if you are traveling without a baby and want to go to Sky Lagoon or the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik (do not allow babies under 2 years old), we recommend 10 days as well.
General Iceland Tips
IMPORTANT: You need a PIN number to buy gas in Iceland even if you are using a credit card
You likely will need to call to get a PIN number for your credit card in order to use it to get gas in Iceland. We had to call to get a PIN number for our credit card prior to our trip and it took about 2 weeks to get it so do this ASAP (right now would be a good time). Be sure to store the PIN number somewhere you will have access to it on the trip. We never have used a PIN number with our credit cards before so we are glad we found out about this prior to our trip.
Also, get gas as often as possible. Gas stations close early and do not stay open 24 hours a day (unlike what we are accustomed to in the US).
Campervan Offers More Flexibility and Allows for a Consistent Home Base
We LOVED having a campervan to explore Iceland with our baby. It allowed us so much flexibility. It was great to have a consistent home base and not have to unpack/repack each day, especially with a baby. We would have not been able to see as much as we did with our baby if we had done hotels instead. Also, a campervan was more economical than rental car + hotels.
We rented our Campervan from Kuku Campers. We would highly recommend this quirky campervan company. Friends of ours have rented from Camp Easy and they also had a positive experience. We rented a 5 person campervan for the 3 of us and felt that was the appropriate size. We appreciated having a little extra room.
Tip: Play around with the reservation campervan system and see when a multi-day discount kicks in to save some $. For the time we were visiting, a multi-day discount applied to our campervan after 9 days. With this discount, our campervan actually cost less for 9 days than it would have for 7 days. Score!
Bring Waterproof EVERYTHING!
Seriously though, from waterfall spray to the unpredictable weather, you will want waterproof gear for the whole family. So glad we had a Baby Rain Suit for G. It kept her dry and happy exploring with us.
Do not speed, high fines, cameras will catch you and you may get a ticket months after you return
Do not stop on the road unless clearly marked. It’s dangerous and you can get a fine.
There are more sheep than people in Iceland. Do not hit them. Easier said than done as they like to stand in the middle of roads where the speed limit is 90 kilometers per hour. It’s about a $500 fine if you do hit one. The Police and owner must be contacted too.
Food to Eat in Iceland
Kleina (fried pastry, not our favorite)
Snudur (Cinnamon Bun, most delicious cinnamon buns at Braud & Co in Reykjavik)
Skyr (Flavored Yogurt, pretty sweet and thin in comparison to the Greek yogurt we have become accustomed to eating)
Geyser (Rye Bread) & Soup (best fish soup in Husavik at Gamli Bakur, delicious bread bowl soup atSvarta Kaffid in Reykjavik)
Lamb Hot Dogs (Can get almost anywhere, inexpensive, all taste pretty much the same (delicious) per Sam)
Most campsites cost about 2000 Kronos per person/night
Do not need to make reservations prior to visiting unless visiting the first week/weekend of August (banking holiday in Iceland)
If you pull up to a campsite after staff has left for the day, just pull into an empty spot and pay in the morning
Traveling with a baby can seem overwhelming. From trying to feed your baby on the go to getting you baby to sleep in a new environment to trying to time activities around naps, traveling with a baby may seem just too complicated. However, don’t let the fears of traveling with a baby stop you. In our experience, exploring the world with our new curious sidekick has been one of the best parts of parenthood. Although traveling with our baby has never made traveling easier, it certainly always makes it more memorable. In our opinion, the extra planning and effort of traveling with your baby is completely worth it. After taking over a dozen flights and trips with our daughter, here are our top 10 baby travel tips.
Disclaimer: Every baby is different. Below is what has worked for us with our daughter who is 11 months old at the time of writing this.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!
Travel Baby Tip #1: Be Flexible
This is our top baby travel tip. Flexibility is key to successfully traveling with a baby. If there was ever a time to go with the flow in life, this is it. We always are flexible with the timing of everything we do traveling with our baby. We always work around her schedule. If she needs to nap, we pivot whatever we are doing to allow her to do that. If she needs to eat, we adjust whatever we are doing so she can do that. Since having our baby, we have intentionally chosen trips that allow us that flexibility.
Other than our flights, the times we need to be places are not set in stone and we remain very adaptable. We come up with a tentative itinerary for what we want to do but then adjust it based on her needs. We do not book any tours when traveling with our baby and rather research areas to act as our own tour guide. This allows us to explore each place at our own pace.
For example, we recently did a campervan road trip around Iceland when our baby was 10 months old. Having a campervan allowed us so much flexibility and time independence. We were able to be our own tour guides and create our own schedule. It further was really nice not to have to unpack and repack our luggage everyday, especially with all the extra things you have with a baby. For more information on our Iceland trip with our baby, please see Iceland with a Baby Itinerary.
Travel Baby Tip #2: Realistic Attitude, Lower Expectations & Under Schedule
When traveling with a baby, bring a realistic attitude. As one of our friends once said, his “super power” is having low expectations. Whatever your expectations are of your trip, lower them and then lower them even more. Everything takes longer and tends to not go exactly the way you expect with a baby. If you have high expectations going into a trip, you likely will be disappointed.
One expectation and reality you need to face is that there is no way you are going to get as much done as you previously did without your baby. Don’t set yourself up for failure thinking that you can do it all. Things that used to take us 10 minutes when it was just the two of us now take 30+ minutes.
A great example of this is getting on the hiking trail. We used to just hop out of the car, throw our gear on and hike. Oh the simple days! Now, we need to feed our daughter, change her diaper/clothes, get her in the carrier and then get ourselves ready before heading out on the trail. It may not sound like that much but the reality is it always takes much longer than we think it will. And we are perfectly okay with that! However, we have learned to schedule plenty of flex-time throughout our days to accommodate for the extra time things take with the baby.
Less Is More
We’d recommend planning half (or less) of what you typically do without your baby. If the day is going well and you get more done than expected, awesome, you can do more. However, allow yourself that flexibility. If you set the expectation to do too many things, you’ll be very disappointed when that doesn’t happen.
For example, when we went to Iceland with our Baby (see Iceland with a Baby Itinerary), we made a tentative plan of things we wanted to do and then took each day as it came. We actually under-scheduled so much that at one point, we were over a day ahead of where we thought we would be and this gave us a real sense of accomplishment. However, had we over-planned and been ‘behind’, we would have likely been stressed and frustrated. Instead we were dancing for joy that we were traveling with her very efficiently from our perspective.
Budget More Time For Everything
Similarly, anytime we go for a hike, we budget the entire outing to take twice as long as it would take just the two of us. In reality, it typically does not actually take that long. However, we are much happier when we finish earlier than expected rather than much later than expected. It’s all about perspective. It doesn’t make the hike take any less time or any less effort, but a shift in perspective is really a game changer.
Travel Baby Tip #3: Practice Napping On-The-Go At Home
When you are at home, still have baby ‘practice’ contact naps and napping on the go. It is going to be very hard for your baby to adjust to napping on the go in a new environment if your baby only ever sleeps in one place at home. Since our daughter was about four months, she typically takes all of her naps at home in her crib. However, we still strive to do a couple contact naps, stroller naps and car seat naps every week. This makes it easier for her to nap on the go when we are not at home.
For example, when we were in Mexico when she was 8-months-old, she would nap in her stroller while we explored. This allowed us a ton of flexibility as she was able to rest on the go and we did not need to return to our Airbnb everytime she needed to take a nap (which is good since she takes a lot of naps). If your baby only knows how to sleep in a crib or pack-n-play, you are going to be quite limited in when you can go out and do things. Also, if we need to do any driving while on a trip, we typically try to do it when she needs to take a nap as she tends to fall asleep while driving in the car. This tactic can allow you to get quite far on your journey with a sleeping, content baby.
Travel Baby Tip #4: Practice Sleeping In The Pack-n-Play at Home
Similar to practicing on-the-go naps, practice sleeping in the pack-n-play or whatever baby’s sleeping arrangements will be on your trip. Typically, our daughter sleeps in her crib at home, but we attempt at least a nap a week in the pack-n-play to try to keep her adjusted to it. This makes the pack-n-play not completely foreign to her when we try to get her to sleep in it while traveling in a new environment. If your baby is somewhat familiar with the spot they are sleeping in while traveling, the environment being different might not affect their sleep schedule as much as it would otherwise.
Tip: If room sharing (especially in a hotel), get a SlumberPod, a compact portable pop-up blackout cover for your pack n play. SlumberPod is truly a must-have if room sharing while traveling. It is a portable & affordable solution for family room-sharing and getting a good night’s sleep. SlumberPod allows you to room share with your baby while they sleep in their crib or pack n play undisturbed. Use code ALWAYSHAVEATRIPPLANNED$20 for $20 off your order today!
Travel Baby Tip #5: If Your Baby Is Having Trouble Sleeping, Try Not To Sweat It
Also, if you can tell that your baby needs to take a nap or to go to sleep but is resisting it, try not to sweat it. Your baby will sleep eventually. In the moment, it is really easy to get really frustrated and think maybe you should have not taken your trip. In reality, your baby could just have as much trouble sleeping at home. With constant growth (physically and developmentally), babies have some better days, and some worse days, in regards to sleep. It is good for your baby to experience new activities and places. Raising a baby who is flexible will set him/her up for success in the future. Remind yourself of that in moments of frustration.
Travel Baby Tip #6: Use Your Stroller Everywhere Possible
Having our stroller with us everywhere we can while traveling has been a game changer. As mentioned above, our daughter knows how to nap on the go in our carseat/stroller combo travel system, and it makes us a lot more flexible. We call her stroller/carseat combo our “portable nap machine.” We do not have to worry about where/when she is going to take a nap if we have our stroller with us.
CoziGo is the portable stroller/carseat/bassinet blackout cover we use. If we are in a warmer environment, this is the fan portable stroller fan we use to help keep her cool under the canopy. The darkness this cover provides, combined with the movement of pushing our stroller/carseat combo, is the perfect environment for getting our daughter to sleep. Every baby is different but sleeping in a covered stroller has worked well for us. If your baby sleeps better babywearing on the go, you may just want to exclusively do that. Our daughter will sleep in our Ergobaby carrier, but she pretty quickly will wake up if we stop moving or have to bend over (since she was over 3 months old).
Travel Baby Tip #7: Learn to Feed Your Baby Anywhere
Our next baby travel tip is to learn to feed your baby anywhere. If you are nursing, figure out how you can make yourself comfortable nursing your baby anywhere. If good nursing tops make you more comfortable, buy those. If pumping and then bottle feeding your baby in public makes you feel more comfortable, do that. If you are formula feeding, figure out how you can have access to water (or bring it) everywhere you go while traveling. These are some of the nursing tops that Natalie used earlier postpartum. Natalie has gotten very comfortable nursing our daughter virtually anywhere while traveling. We feel very strongly that a mother should be able to nurse her baby anywhere she is comfortable. You are responsible for taking care of your baby, not other people’s thoughts in regards to how you are doing that.
Travel Baby Tip #8: Start Small For Your First Trip
For your first time traveling with your baby, start with a short trip not too far from home. This will help you gain some confidence traveling with your baby and help you figure out what you really need. For example, we went on our first trip with our baby to Pictured Rocks/Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which is less than 6 hours from our house, before going on our first big trip to Hawaii . You may want to start even closer to home than that though.
This road-trip helped us test out traveling with our daughter and helped us figure out the things we really needed to pack when exploring with her. We very quickly realized there were a lot of items we did not bring with us on this first trip that we would have liked to have had. We made a list of all these items so that we were more prepared for our next, longer, trip.
Travel Baby Tip #9: Label Mishaps As Plot Twists
One of our most important baby travel tips is having a positive attitude. A positive attitude really goes a long way when traveling with a baby. Labeling mishaps as plot twists help make the unpredictability of a baby part of your adventure. Baby won’t sleep in your hotel? Plot twist. Baby not tolerating the baby carrier on a long hike? Plot twist. Baby has a blow-out on the plane during take-off when you cannot get up to change it? Plot twist. In the moment, these plot twists can be quite stressful. However, with the right attitude, you will get through them and maybe even look back on them fondly. Some of our most comical memories are mishaps that we viewed as plot twists.
Travel Baby Tip #10: Invest In Baby Travel Items
We stick to a budget and borrow many baby items (we lend them out too). All the below items we have found to be worth the small investment and very helpful to have while traveling. We are only recommending the items we have repeatedly used and loved.
Sleeping is the MOST important aspect of successful baby travel. The SlumberPod & CoziGo are must buys when traveling with a baby:
SlumberPod: SlumberPod is a portable & affordable solution for family room-sharing and getting a good night’s sleep. The SlumberPod allows you to room share with your baby while they sleep in their crib or pack n play undisturbed. A true lifesaver in any room sharing situation. Use code ALWAYSHAVEATRIPPLANNED$20 for a discount on your order today!
CoziGo: We use this portable blackout curtain to create a dark space for our daughter in her carseat or stroller. This helps lull her right to sleep in her carseat, especially if we are driving. This also works on a convertible carseat which is huge since you no longer have the handle to use to drape a blanket over the carseat to create darkness. Total game changer. Can also use it as a sunshade on walks. Use the link here for a discount!
CoziGo: We love this portable blackout curtain to create a dark space for our daughter in her carseat or stroller. This helps lull her right to sleep in her carseat or stroller on-the-go. This also works on a convertible carseat which is huge since you no longer have the handle to use to drape a blanket over. Total game changer. Use the link here for a discount!
Ergobaby Carrier: You will see us using this literally everywhere. It is so comfortable for both us and our baby. We use it on every hike we go on until baby is about 12 months.
Tushbaby: This hip carrier makes carrying your baby/toddler around easier and allows you to also, easily put your baby/toddler down. We have also found the Tushbaby helpful for nursing on the go. See Natalie’s full Tushbaby review here. Use ALWAYSHAVEATRIPPLANNED for 15% off your own.
Baby Rain Suit: This rain suit has worked great for us when the baby is cooperating but the weather is not.
Swim Zip Sun Hat: We love this sun hat! Our smaller sized one was a hand-me-down from some friends and we just bought it in a bigger size too. We use it traveling and everyday on walks.
Contrary to popular belief, you really can continue to travel, adventure and explore with your baby. Travel does not have to end when you welcome a baby into your life. Although it requires more planning, patience and time, in our experience, it is completely worth all of it. Traveling certainly looks different than it did before we had our daughter but, in our opinion, it is even more rewarding with more memorable, and unexpected, moments. We have made so many priceless memories with our daughter while traveling that will last a lifetime. We hope these baby travel tips give you confidence that you can travel with your baby too.
Anything you’d add to our baby travel guide? We hope to inspire you to adventure with your baby! Please reach out to us if you find this post helpful and inspiring. Hearing from our readers motivates us to continue to put out more content for you.