The subtitle for the second edition of Travels with Baby, which was published last month, is “The ultimate guide for planning travel with your baby, toddler, and preschooler.” I’d have to say, “the ultimate” may not be hyperbole. That is, this tome weighs in at 416 pages (100 more pages than the original 2007 edition) and it is chock full of hundreds upon hundreds of tips for traveling with little ones by plane, train, car and ship — literally, those are each hearty chapters in this book.
Now, to get a disclaimer out of the way: I’ve known author Shelly Rivoli by name since 2008 when I started writing online about family travel. As a book author, she had really cemented her baby/toddler niche at the time. Since then, many other family travel websites have popped up over the years, but I continue to respect and admire Shelly for her thorough firsthand knowledge of the “travel with young children” space. After all, she’s a mom of three children — now 10, 8 and 5 — and she absolutely walks the walk: She and her husband took their first transpacific flight with a 7-month-old infant nearly a decade ago, and they haven’t let up since!
So, I guess my point is that even if I didn’t know Shelly all these years, I’d still recommend her valuable guide simply because it is so comprehensive — especially for new parents who want to start traveling with their infants ASAP. That is, Shelly lays out everything you need to know about traveling with a baby. The book offers detailed packing lists, depending on what type of trip you’re taking (beach, urban, camping); tips for transporting children (with stroller, sling and other carrier recommendations); and advice for handling changes in routine (whether it’s sleeping, eating or, later, potty training).
Indeed, this books covers travel with children as young as a couple months, but also address issues unique to 3- and 4-year-olds, such as games and activities to keep preschoolers busy on the plane and during an airport layover, as well as ways young children can help plan a trip so they “own” the vacation as much as adults do.
In particular, I like Shelly’s entire chapter on staying healthy while traveling; this has certainly been a concern of mine over the years, and while you can’t prevent every bug bite, jellyfish sting, upset stomach or sprained ankle, you can be prepared for illnesses and calamities by taking certain precautions and packing a solid first-aid kit.
I also appreciate the author’s tips on traveling with different types of temperaments. For example, you might plan a very different daily itinerary for a very active, energetic child versus one who prefers reading and quiet play. There is also different advice for a child who is always eager to try new things and one who might be more reluctant to hop on a zipline for the first time.
Again, this guide is big. It’s not meant to be read in one sitting, but rather, I picture parents of young children picking and choosing (and highlighting!) different chapters as different needs arise. The layout clean and simple, and I like the many bullet-point lists that make it particularly easy to move through the book, scan pages and find the advice you’re looking for.
As I’ve suggested with many other family-travel books over the years, I’d recommend Travels with Baby as an ideal Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or baby shower gift. Purchase it on Amazon in print paperback for $18; eBook coming soon!
I received a copy of Travels with Baby for purposes of editorial review.