Traveling with young children is easy—if you know how
Rhys Fox Aarons is only 9 months old, but the New York-born baby has already travelled to Los Angeles, Vienna, Paris, Provence, Miami, and Brazil, with trips to New Orleans, Croatia, and Monte Negro on the horizon. His parents, real estate developer and technology investor Zachary Aarons and boutique-owner Camilla Gale have always been travel-obsessed. Recently they have learned that traveling with young children can be extremely rewarding. And though infant Rhys’ travels won’t necessarily translate to memories, and his parents have accepted that their trips are not honeymoons—“you’ll be sharing a bedroom with a baby,” says Gale—traveling as early as possible has many advantages. Among them, Gale hopes to “instill that love of exploration,” which has been so important to her and her husband.
The challenges of traveling with baby range from the logistical—Camilla has invested in a much bigger carry-on—to the emotional: traveling means more time spent out in public, and possibly looking less-than-pulled-together in transit. “There is a fear of not coming across as the perfect, competent mother,” Camilla says, which might dissuade new moms from traveling right away. Rhys first started eating solid food while in Brazil, and his first papaya, a particularly high-fiber fruit, did not sit well with little Rhys. But it was on that trip that he also developed a fascination with stairs, allowing his parents to slow down and appreciate the scenery, while he climbed them—over and over. “He’s so adaptable. That’s fun to see,” said Camilla, remembering Rhys’ first time swimming in the ocean: “Watching him realize it wasn’t a pool and that the water didn’t end…seeing him react to that was amazing,” she said. It’s the kind of memory that makes some extra planning worthwhile. Below, she shared some solutions for the unavoidable complications of traveling with children. —Artie Niederhoffer
The perfect trip
“Traveling with an infant is different—and easier—than traveling with toddlers,” says Gale. Rhys sleeps more hours, and until recently, he could be toted around without a bulky stroller. When it comes to choosing a destination, they’ve found that urban travel is much easier than rural. “[In cities] everything you need is at your finger tips.” In most any major city, pharmacies and doctors are only a cab ride away. Destination-wise, Camilla has particularly noticed that “Central and South America seem incredibly open and welcoming to babies.” Rhys was flooded with positive attention from Brazilians on his recent trip, to the point that, “If I were a neurotic mom, it might have even been problematic,” she adds. Luckily the many requests to hug and kiss her baby, and the interaction with locals it encouraged were, to them, some of the best parts of the trip.
What to bring
Gale tries to buy whatever possible on location, another advantage to urban travel. Still, one of her adjustments to traveling with kids has been letting go of the carry-everything-on lifestyle. With Rhys’ supplies, she’s gotten used to checking bags and carrying a bigger one onboard. “I use the Everlane Weekender because it’s huge and less expensive than similar models,” and Smythson Travel Wallet, “to keep everything in order.” For Rhys, she's sure to bring the following: a Mustela Hydra stick; Aveeno baby wash; Cheerios; sippy cup; travel size triple paste; Babyganics sunscreen; Patagonia upf 50 bucket hat rasher; Baby Einstein take-along tunes; Sophie, the teething giraffe; mini board books; Inglesina table chair; City mini stroller; Kelty backpack; "Supersoft and lovey, SleepSack;" and "If it’s necessary to bring a crib, we have the Bjorn travel lite 2."
On the plane
On one flight, the family used miles to upgrade only Camilla and Rhys to business class, so that she could spread out with him. Lucky for them, Rhys is a sound sleeper. But if a breakdown does occur, there’s not much you can do. “Invest in some baby lullaby apps,” she says. “They worked wonders for us on the plane when we needed to calm Rhys quickly.” As he gets bigger, “I hope he’s reading very early,” so he can entertain himself on the many flights to come.
At the hotel
Gale has gotten into the habit of looking ahead to make sure each hotel can provide a crib. For an upcoming trip to New Orleans, the family plans to rent from AirBnB. “The down-side is you need to bring a crib, but the upside is you don’t ruin anyone’s night if the baby cries at 3 am, and there is a ton of room to spread out.”