Infant Travel: When Your Baby is Your Backpack

infant travel

infant travel

Infant travel? Backpacking with a kid? Travel with children? If any of these questions have popped up in your mind, we are here to say, you CAN travel with your infant. And, still have a good time! No, you aren’t dreaming. If you want to know how, keep reading.  The truth is, travelling with your family mostly depends on your mindset. If you think you can do it, you will.

We wish we could travel with kids! How do we start?

You’ve come to the right place! Stop wishing and start planning. To begin with, if this is your first time planning a trip with an infant, some questions you may want to ask yourself are:

  • Where do you want to go?
  • What type of vacation are you looking for? All inclusive or a hostel?
  • When do you want to go? Summer? Winter?

These are just a few to get you started. To begin with, jot down the travel related things that interest your family. In due time, you will be well on your way to planning your family trip.

infant travel

Travel doesn’t stop when you have children, It only gets better

Let’s rewind a bit shall we, to life sans infant. For years we looked like the walking stereotypes of a typical “backpacker”. You know, the kind of vagabonds you see carrying nothing but a backpack, wearing hiking zip pants, and using floss in twenty different ways (i.e. as a clothes line)? That was us! Since we traveled lightly, we only had the bare necessities as our backpack was “our home.” And, it worked well for us. Of course, nothing much has changed now except our infant ended up replacing one of our backpacks. Our lives are more fulfilled and meaningful because we continue to travel as a family.

Infant travel: Packing like a Pro to Carry-on only

We’ve learned that when your third companion is roughly the weight and size of a backpack, it is best to do the following:

Travel light. Bring the bare necessities. Pack a few pairs of clothes, preferably those that you can hand wash. Dress in layers. If you can’t bring everything you want due to size or space, just make do with what you have. Same goes for packing for your infant. To read about some travel hacks click here. For a free copy of our ultralight infant packing list click here.

Ditch the toys. At the time, we didn’t need to bring any toys because water bottles, napkins, and plastic spoons were enough to capture our son’s attention and keep him entertained.  In addition, it’s amazing what a smile, cuddle, or reading from a dessert menu can do to keep things fresh and interesting. Infants love that, or at least ours did.

Pack healthy snacks and drinks.  Whenever our son was hungry, thirsty, tired, bored or just needed comfort, he didn’t have to go far for a sip. During our trip to Barbados, I was breastfeeding which certainly helped. Moreover, this was a life-saver for us and it was helpful on-the-go. Equally important, is a bottle of water or powdered milk especially if you find yourselves in the middle of nowhere with no amenities in sight.

Turn on the AC. First of all, this is for the accommodation that you choose, if you happen to go during the hot season. Because most of our family trips were to the tropics, we found that fans did not cool the room enough for our infant. For instance, when a baby doesn’t sleep, it adversely affects everyone. On the positive side, air conditioning was the best choice for us as it offered a two-in-one service; a cooling system and a noise machine.

Push, carry or both. Additionally, we suggest to try out several products before your trip to see what works for your family. For easy baby carrying, our favourite is a light colour organic 100% cotton breathable carrier with a privacy flap; worn easily on the hips, and in 3 ways (front, back or sideways). As an alternative, an umbrella stroller (with a shade) is handy if you mostly travel in an urban environment or on paved roads. By the same token, an umbrella stroller serves for a good resting place for better naps and gives parents a break from carrying.

infant travelinfant travelinfant travel

Backpacking with a baby is a great adventure in itself

People have asked us “What is it like to backpack with an infant?” Truth is, it has been such a rewarding experience. Also, it has its adventures and challenges, but nothing beats it. No sunset, air plane ride, or papaya slice is the same, because it’s more meaningful with our son. Yes, there are times when things may take 20 mins longer to get ready, or we might have to do an impromptu diaper change on a rock, but the key is to have a positive attitude (and a sense of humour helps too)!

Got any tips for backpacking with kids? Feel free to share in the comments section below.

infant travel

Author: Darlynne

Darlynne founded Live Love Backpack to inspire others to make a positive difference in the world through traveling, volunteering, and self-awareness. Darlynne has traveled to over 76 countries. Family adventures include backpacking off the beaten path, hiking in Ontario and creating happy memories.

19 Replies to “Infant Travel: When Your Baby is Your Backpack”

  1. I wish I knew this back in the day….

    1. I hear you, Wes. We are learning something new each time we backpack with our son. If you have any other tips about travelling with kids, feel free to share 🙂

      1. For long hikes, bring a kid carrier that has a flap that protects from sun and rain. We learned the wrong way.

        1. For sure! Both our kid carriers have protective coverings that shield from the elements while offering privacy at the same time. Thanks Wes.

  2. Love the pics of the backpacking baby! He’ll visit 120 countries by the time he’s 18!

    1. Thanks Matcha! We have no doubt he will break both of our travel records 😛

      1. Lol.

  3. I don’t think I’m that adventurous to backpack with my baby. But the pictures of you and the backpack baby pique my interest. Where did you go backpacking?

    1. Hi Sophie, you never know until you try it. Most of the pictures in this blog post are from backpacking in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Thanks for your interest.

  4. Brian Cohen says: Reply

    This looks great! I love all your adventures with the baby. It’s inspirational. Which Spanish speaking countries do you suggest to backpack with a baby?

    1. Thanks for the positive words Brian! We’ve only done a handful of Spanish speaking countries with our toddler but we enjoyed Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica for all the nature activities, great outdoors/hikes, and amazing animals at the sanctuaries.

  5. Me encanta me encanta me encanta. Quite intriguing I must say!

    1. Muchas gracias Vegi. Thank you for reading! Come back anytime 🙂

  6. Hi mom of 2 kids under 5 here. Thanks for the tips. I’ve often dreamt of backpacking with my children to Thailand for the summer but don’t know where to start. I would like to start planning now for next year. I’m excited and anxious at the same time about the idea of backpacking. Where do I start?

  7. Adventurous family is amazing! keep going and backpack this world!

    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement Lea!

  8. Lots of positive inspiration for travelling with kids since it is not easy. More parents should not let having kids deter them from doing what they love. This includes travelling. Many thanks for the reminder.

    1. It may not always be easy, but it’s worth it, Esme. 🙂

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