I LOVE New York, it’s one place in the world I feel like I could go again and again and never tire of it. I highly doubt I’ll ever tire of it. Of course, there’s definitely an assumption that having a baby means travel is off the cards for a while but I love to travel so whilst before she was born I wasn’t sure how it would work. Once I got a bit more into the flow of family life I wanted to travel as much as we felt would work for us. We started with a couple of shorter haul breaks in Europe but then the possibility of visiting New York with a baby came up and I couldn’t say no.
Worst case scenario, it’s meltdowns galore and something we never do again. But happy to report the trip was a total success and as such I wanted to share a few of the things I wanted to share in case you’re planning a long haul flight or generally visiting New York with a baby.
Don’t try to pack light – Ok, so weight limits etc obviously apply. But when it comes to travel with a baby I have definitely learnt that packing light is pretty much out the window. Take those things you know you need to make life easier plus those ‘just in case’ things. I have a little pouch of those things that you hope you wont need but helps to make sure you know you have them. For this I packed – Calpol, Bonjela, nappy rash cream and one of those forehead temperature thermometer things.
Take your essential kit – For me the two things I wouldn’t travel without are her Sleepyhead and our BabyZen YoYo pram. The Sleepyhead has meant her sleeping place has been consistent and we haven’t had any issues settling her into bed wherever she goes so really helps make her feel at home wherever we are. I love it so much that I think we’re going to get the larger one so she doesn’t have to stop using it as she’s very close to growing out of it. Then the BabyZen YoYo pram – honestly, incredible for travel & city life. Packs down SO small and light and so easy to manoeuvre. Ideal for city breaks or any flight. of the six flights we’ve taken with Ella, we’ve never had any issues in taking it on board which has meant having a pram right until we board and as soon as we get off the plane. VERY handy with a sleepy baby and lots of carry on luggage. I also recently bought the new BabyZen YoYo bag which was SO handy for both the journey and around the city. A bag that sits on a little fifth wheel on the back of the pram. Meant I could carry just a small cross body bag and all the baby stuff we needed when out and about was carried as part of the pram.
You could try the baby-carrier option and use the subway, but we chose to walk where we wanted to go. To get to and from the airport I would really recommend Legends Limousine – they have an app so easy to book and set up to pay on card. Plus you can book with a car seat so no need to take your own and add another load of luggage in the mix. For a 7 seater with loads of space for two adults, baby and all the insane amount of luggage that comes with that… cost around $100 each way (varies on traffic & tolls).
Once your child is over one more taxi options are easier (Uber & Lyft can be booked with booster child seat options). But generally, we love walking around and this suited us just fine.
The biggest challenge we found was baby changing. A surprising lack of changing spaces in any coffee stop or restaurant made that a bit of a logistical issue at times. We love eating in New York diners but the toilets in these are usually just around enough to fit one small-medium sized human. At a push. None of the smaller diners we went to had anything even close to baby change friendly. But at the same time, neither did places like Starbucks. So that was a bit tricky. My tip for dealing with it? Carry a portable change mat and some milton wipes. Worst comes to worst you can use a floor or other less than desirable surface and keep it as clean as possible for your baby.
I found a number of places and attractions actually made an effort to make things smoother for us. From the airline we flew with allowing us to board a little early to the staff at Top of the Rock bringing us to the front of a security crew. Of course some places couldn’t give two hoots you’re with a baby and that’s just part of it.
Baby friendly activities are more straight forward than it seems. When babies are tiny they tend to be happy as long as they have new things to look at. We did book tickets to go to The Color Factory which I would highly recommend regardless of your kids age – SO much fun!
Also, how you get to and from New York will be a big part of the process. We opted to book with Norwegian Airlines and fly in their premium class cabin. If you have read my blog previously then you may be aware I went on a press trip with Norwegian to Florida back in Spring 2017 (you can read more: what it’s like to fly Norwegian) So knowing the set up and how it provides more space but cost wise is more affordable than other premium economy airline options. So we chose to book to fly with Norwegian Premium and selected the front row seats so we had access to the bassinet which other than in periods of turbulence worked a treat. The extra space and luggage allowance was all well worth it. Of course things like upgrades/airline choices are very much a personal thing and down to your own choice, preference and budget.
Hotel wise, we just opted for one that came up as a good option for travelling with a baby. We stayed at The James Nomad which we booked via Expedia and it was good, a great locations being very central. Rooms are fairly large by New York hotel room standards. We also made sure we had both a travel cot and bathtub. They were also really accommodating when we asked for a kettle in the room too.
All in all, if you want to travel anywhere – especially New York with a baby then I say go for it. This past week was so good, I’ve loved all the trips we’ve taken with Eleanor so far and really happy that we haven’t held ourselves back from travelling now we have a baby in the mix. It just takes a little more planning and a bit more flexibility on how you do things.