Tips on Traveling with an Infant

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disclaimer: I was provided the Dockatot Grand and Travel Bag in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

Wondering how to travel with a baby? It doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems. I would encourage any family wanting to travel to definitely do so, and to start young. We took Leo on our first family (car) trip up north at 3 weeks, first international trip to Mexico at 8 weeks, and to Nashville at 6 months.

Many of our friends and coworkers couldn’t believe we weren’t going to curb our travel once we became parents, but it is truly a passion of ours and we never want to stop exploring or going on adventures together. We want to show Leo the world!

Here’s a few tips and pieces of information for anyone traveling with an infant.

1. Getting a Passport
Infant/Child passports are good for 5 years. Birth certificates are made available to the State within 3 weeks of birth. Both parents will need to be present when applying for a passport, and it must be done in person. You can check online using your zip code to see what office is closest to you. Normal processing time is 4-6 weeks. We expedited ours for an additional $60, and it arrived in about 10 days.
*Try to print a picture beforehand. The size is 2×3, which is NOT the same as “wallet size.” Learned that one the hard way…*

2.Planning Flight Travel
An infant up to 2 years of age can be considered a “lap child/child in arms” and you do not need to purchase an additional ticket for them. After purchasing an (international) ticket for yourself, contact your travel agent or the airline and let them know about your child and they will add them to the flight. For international flights, you will need to pay the international fee and taxes for the baby, even if they are considered a lap child. (For Mexico, this was about $18 each way.) For domestic travel, the check-in counter can add them to your flight ticket and it will print with your boarding pass. *Be sure to bring the baby’s passport for international travel and either passport or birth certificate for domestic travel.*

When you check-in for your flight, ask the airline if the flight is full. If it is not, you will be able to bring your carseat on the flight with you (placed rear-facing, in a window seat.) Make sure you have the FAA sticker that approves it for flight. Some flight attendants may ask to verify.

3. Navigating the Airport
Bring your stroller and car seat for FREE! Both these items, as well as your pump, and diaper bag all qualify as “courtesy items” and will not be charged as a carry-on or checked item. If you are traveling with breast milk, this is considered “liquid medication” and does not have to be stored in 3oz sizes-it can be more. Pack in a cooler with ice and go through security-they’ll likely scan it with a laser to make sure its just milk.

When we’re traveling with Leo, we keep him in his stroller until we get to the gate. We also bring our Ergo360 for transporting him-this is handy walking through the airport if he wants to be held, or if the flight is full and we aren’t able to bring our carseat on.
When you get to the gate agent, ask for the tags that say “gate check” Put your stroller (and carseat if the flight is full) in your gate check bags, and put the gate check tag on each bag. This way, the ground crew will bring your stroller and carseat back up to the ramp as you deplane.

My biggest tip in-flght would be to feed your baby at take-off and landing. This will help their sensitive ears adjust to the rapidly changing pressure in the cabin. Other than that, kids will be kids and you can only plan and pray so much that it will go well. You could try introducing a new toy, packing snacks, or trying to plan your flight during nap time. We’ve been very fortunate that Leo has been a happy, sleepy, curious traveler so far.

Don’t leave home without….
Dockatot
For those that follow my blog or instagram, you know how much I LOVE our Dockatot! This is the #1 thing I recommend to all expecting parents. We bring it with us everywhere. Its great for tummy time, play time (look how cute the new play bar is!), sleepy time, and all the times in between. Who wouldn’t want to travel with their own bed? Its comfy and familiar. The geniuses at Dockatot just came out with a travel bag that makes it so easy. The travel bag is available in both the Deluxe Size (perfect as a carry-on) or the Grand Size (needs to be checked.) I pack all of Leo’s diapers, clothes, and necessities for the week in the bag as well.
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Have any questions on the Dockatot, what to pack, or traveling with a baby? I’d love to help! email: emeraldandoakblog@gmail.com

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City Guide: Nashville

nashWelcome to the south, y’all!

We headed to Nashville for a quick getaway over Memorial Day Weekend. We’ve had Nashville on our minds for a number of reasons and decided it was time to check out the neighborhoods and experience downtown already. We were not disappointed by this southern city! I’m a city girl and Cody is a southern country boy, and Nashville is the perfect mix of both.

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There’s live music everywhere, from Broadway Honky Tonks to the Grand Old Opry, even stages on street corners and bands playing in the airport terminal as you deplane.

We loved the food! From the sweet tea given as you enter Reese Witherspoon’s boutique, Draper James, to the incredible burger scene at Burgerup and The Pharmacy, amazing brunch at Pinewood Social and Flipside, and of course, hot chicken and classic meat and three barbecue.

The city is surprisingly familiar feeling, and I found it easy to get my directional bearings right away. It feels both accessible and approachable. We loved exploring the neighborhoods of East Nashville and especially 12South, and spent a lot of time downtown by Broadway and The Gulch.

If you’re seeing Nasvhille in 3 days, here’s what we’d recommend:
Nashville Eats:
The Pharmacy (East Nashville) Amazing burgers, German beers, and one hell of a courtyard to sit in. Too busy? Walk across the street to Mas Tacos.
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Pinewood Social (Downtown, walkable to Broadway and the Pedestrian Bridge.) This is a warehouse converted into your ultimate hangout-brunch, bowling, bocce ball, TVs, Soaking pools, chairs for laying out, and even an outdoor Airstream bar for ordering poolside.
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Hattie B’s hot chicken, hot line…order ahead or go early.
Flipside (12South) Don’t even order brunch. Just order the $25 Bloody Mary. You won’t be disappointed. or hungry.
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bartaco (12South) Tacos in a fun indoor/outdoor nautical feeling setting. This place draws a crowd and has some killer food and drinks.
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Biscuit Love (Gulch) order at the counter style brunch, easy and fast and equally delicious.
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Jeni’s (12South) a must stop for the best ice cream you’ll ever have.
Five Daughters Bakery (12 South)
Jack’s BBQ (Broadway) If you’ve had too much to drink at the honky tonks on broadway, slip into Jack’s for some quick eats and get back to it.
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Explore Nashville:
Murals. These instagram-worthy murals are all over the city! The quintessential “I believe in Nashville” mural is located in the 12South neighborhood and the Wings are in The Gulch.
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Broadway. Broadway packs honky tonk after honky tonk in this six block area, and is known as the bachelorette mecca. They start to fill up at 10 am and most are open until 4 am.
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Pedestrian Bridge. The bridge is located downtown, just a few blocks from Broadway and Printer’s Alley, and is also a really easy walk from Pinewood Social. This bridge goes over the river and connects to the Tennessee Titans stadium. Great for taking pictures, getting fresh air, or having a picnic in the park afterward.
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Grand Ol Opry. This is a destination country fans surely don’t want to miss. We took the backstage tour and learned more about the birth of country music, how the Opry came to be, how it was rebuilt, and even toured the dressing rooms and got up on stage with the mic.
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Opryland Hotel. Connected to the Opry, and within walking distance to a huge shopping complex and everything kids may ever want to do, the hotel is massive and fun to explore.
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12South Neighborhood. Cute boutiques & awesome restaurants!
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If we had a week to spend in Nashville, we would have added in a few hikes and explored Franklin. We’re already excited to get back and experience more!

Have you been to Nashville? What are your must see’s and do’s?

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