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Travel Blogger Lesley Murphy Teaches us How to Crush Family Travel, Even With a Newborn

Meet Lesley Murphy — travel blogger, TV star and mom to one year old Nora. As a BRCA previvor, she shares her appreciation for life every day on her social channels— inspiring other new parents to do the same.

Just when you think you have it all figured out, your baby grows older and everything you thought you knew goes out the window! Life is short, take the trip.”

Lesley Murphy

Envious of how Lesley made it through an 8-hour flight to Hawaii with a newborn, we sat quietly to soak in her low-stress travel tips— including what seat to choose and what to pack. Lesley’s tips have calmed our nerves and gotten us excited for fun travel days ahead. She reminds brand new parents— anxious about getting back in the swing of traveling to new places— “Travel has taught me some of the most valuable lessons in life – some you can’t get inside a classroom.” Lesley, you don’t need to sell us. We’re already packing!

How did you develop your passion for travel?

I’ve been very fortunate to travel from a young age. We went on family vacations growing up to the beach and the mountains and beyond. We lived in a beautiful bubble of Arkansas, and my parents instilled movement in me since the beginning. I want to do that for Nora and show her that opening herself up to new environments and cultures and people will only expand her mind and her heart. 

I read something a long time ago that said, “If we didn’t allow the grass to grow under our feet so much, the world might be a better place. It’s a great way to avoid misunderstandings, suffering, even war. Instead of having a preconceived notion about someone or something, go see it for yourself.”

Does travel end when you have kids?

My goal has always been to inspire travel and get people out of their comfort zone. Whether that’s Nora or someone else on Instagram, I’ve done my job. I get so excited when a mom-to-be or a new parent messages me and says that I give them so much hope for their future self. Many people think that travel ends when you have a child— and that absolutely doesn’t have to be the case!! You can still get out, board a plane and do the things you’ve always done! It might be at a slower pace and it might look a bit different, but life doesn’t stop with kids. It just changes, and in many cases, for the better.

I love seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes. I’ve seen it through my own for 35 years. It’s time for a new version! And dare I say…the sequel is even better!

Traveling with a baby vs a toddler— let’s discuss:

A while back I heard someone say, “Traveling with a baby is not a vacation. It’s really just a relocation of parenting.” Truer words have never been spoken! The first time we traveled with Nora, a lot of friends told us to go somewhere close to home. Somewhere easy. Maybe a short car ride. Then try a domestic flight. Then perhaps international. Well, we ended up going on an 8-hour flight straight to Hawaii the day she turned 3 months old. The definition of ‘Go big or go home,’ right? 

It was a lot of fun, and I’m so glad we did it instead of allowing fear to hold us back. Those same friends of mine also mentioned how much easier it is to travel with a newborn than a toddler, and now that Nora is 15 months old, I would definitely agree with that! If you have the itch to travel and have a itty bitty baby on your hands, I say go for it! They’ll most likely snooze a majority of the day and won’t wiggle-worm their way through a flight…yet.

How do you handle a sleeping baby while traveling?

As the day goes on, I look for sleepy cues and play with naps. For example, we went to Hawaii a couple of weeks ago. When we landed, it was close to Nora’s bedtime at home, but it was only noon in Hawaii. When we got to the hotel, I put her down for a nap. I’m sure her body clock thought it was nighttime, so I woke her after 2 hours. She played for another few and by the time it was 6pm in Hawaii, I could tell it was time to put her down for the night. It takes adults awhile to adjust to a new time zone so just give your baby (and yourself) grace.

Do you get anxious before traveling with a baby?

When traveling with a baby, I’ve learned that preparation is key. One of my best friends kept telling me that the worst part about family travel for her is the anxiety she gets BEFORE the trip. So the preparation, any purchasing, the packing, etc. I get it because it really is a mental game of gymnastics. You want to make sure baby has everything they need while away, but the reality is that most places will have what you need at your destination including but not limited to diapers, wipes, etc. 

How much baby formula do you pack for a trip?

When we went to Hawaii for Nora’s first trip, we had NO clue how much Bobbie formula to bring, and I grossly underestimated. My sister ended up having to go into our pantry in Arkansas and ship a few cans to us the next day. 

Pro tip: When traveling, take more baby formula than you think you’ll ever need.

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What baby supplies do you recommend for travel?

Aside from the obvious baby essentials— formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and clothes, I learned a long time ago that bulky items just take up too much space. Leave the bouncers and play centers at home. When you travel, baby will be stimulated by being out and about! Don’t forget that if you have access to a washer/dryer, you will need a lot less clothes, burp clothes and swaddles than you think. If you have access to stores, don’t take up suitcase space with diapers. Get them where you are going. A good carrier like LÍLLÉbaby Baby carrier and stroller like the Summer Travel Stroller are great for hikes + walks.

Lesley’s 5 pro-tips for traveling with a newborn:

1. Bring a stroller as a carry-on. We adored our Doona Car Seat and Stroller all-in-one – a must for travel! Since our daughter has outgrown it, we recommend the Summer Portable Stroller that folds up enough to fit in the overhead bin or under the seat. When your baby can’t yet or doesn’t want to walk in the airport, this is a game changer. 

2. Book a direct flight! Layovers only extend your travel day. Rip off that bandaid.

3. Let your infant sit on your lap. From 0-12 months old, it was easier for us to have Nora in our lap. As she’s grown, I think she gets increasingly uncomfortable as a lap infant and needs her own space. I do LOVE a good deal so I try to take advantage of the 2-for-the-price-of-1 seat right now while she’s under 2!

4. Book a window seat! It provides entertainment from gazing out to allowing placement of spinners, stickers, tape and other gadgets!

5. Hold off on bottles until take-off and landing. It definitely helps babies’ ears adjust! After a bottle, my daughter would usually fall asleep so even if she finished the bottle during the taxi, she’d be asleep for take-off. Nora did not take a pacifier ever, but I know these are helpful for many babies!

How do you handle passengers who give you and your fussy baby “the look”?

Honestly, “the look” is few and far between! I’ve encountered some incredibly friendly and accommodating people on our flights. Otherwise, I just ignore them. They probably haven’t been around kids too much. Plus, if people wanted some peace and quiet, they should probably just fly private.

Now being a mother myself, I will never look at a crying baby on an airplane the same way ever again. I’ll be the first to jump in and help if I can!

What do you say to parents who think it isn’t worth it to travel with kids?

I won’t sugar coat it. Being a mom is hard. Traveling with kids is hard. But don’t let the crying, the extra packing, the mental challenge or the physical challenge deter you.

Seeing the world with your baby and through your baby’s eyes is worth that extra effort EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. 

As I type, I am rebooking an entire trip that got thrown off yesterday due to weather. We waited for 5 hours at the airport, and the plane never took off. We have to start again today, but with a positive attitude (and a little bit of help from a partner), all is possible and all will be worth it once at the final destination. Remember: Our babies can absolutely read our energy. Have fun, go with the flow, and know that everything will be okay!

We appreciate you Lesley for sharing your brilliant tips for adventuring with babies. Thank you!

Stay tuned every month to get the scoop on modern parenthood from the Bobbie community. And remember, you’re doing amazing. 


The content on this site is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Discuss any health or feeding concerns with your infant's pediatrician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay it based on the content on this page.
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