11 Tips For Traveling With A Baby Or Toddler
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been bit by the travel bug! I find it so sad when I hear people who enjoy traveling say that they will wait until the kids are grown to travel more. Although traveling with little ones has it’s challenges, it is such a great opportunity to bond with and create lasting memories with your children and your partner. And honestly, I think the earlier you start traveling with children, the easier they are because what can be a stressful situation for them quickly becomes familiar.
We took our first flight with Boston, our son, when he was 6 weeks old because my husband was offered a free trip from his work. My hubby was a little unsure about flying with him just yet, but I told him we’d make the best of it and it would be a great trial run to see what traveling with a baby was really like.
Turns out, we had a blast! Boston slept the whole flight there and the entire flight home. He was still not sleeping through the night so nothing changed once we got to our destination. And I figure, if your kid isn’t sleeping, your kid is teething, your kid is all over the place, you will have to deal with that whether you’re at home or on vacation. So you might as well go on vacation…am I right?! Doesn’t this make a much better nap time view than another pile of laundry or dishes?
Since that trip, we have taken Boston on several other trips, including Disney World, a Caribbean cruise, and a trip with built in babysitters (Thanks Mom & Dad!!) to Seaside, Florida. Each trip has been so much fun for us. I always tell people that traveling with kids is totally different but it is still such a worthwhile experience. If you go into it with an open mind and no expectations, you will have a great time.
Now that I have *hopefully* convinced you to take a trip with your little one, here are a few tips for that nerve wracking first flight.
Pick a flight during a typically good sleeping time or happy time. Boston sleeps so much better in the mornings or near his bedtime. Flights where I know he will be sleepy are easier because the noise on the plane, along with a full belly, makes him pretty sleepy. But if you worry your little one won’t sleep in an unfamiliar place, pick a flight time where he/she is usually the most content.
Wear them out before you get on the plane – and I mean wear them out! Have a play date, play tag, or go swimming. This wasn’t as important when he was little but now that he is a wiggle worm, letting him run around the airport helps release some of that energy. (Now if only I could siphon some of that off for myself!)
Nurse, feed, or pacify baby during takeoff and landing. (Our teething necklaces are a great tool for this and they provide some convenient entertainment too.) The suction and chewing will help their ears acclimate to the adjusting air pressure. Boston nursed/slept nonstop on most of the flights when I was still breastfeeding which was totally fine with me. And also, according to my pediatrician, the younger they are, the less of a problem they have with the pressure. Now that he is a toddler, we stocked up on some suckers to relieve the pressure. And since he doesn’t get those very often, it kept him occupied for a while too.
Pick the side of the airplane with 3 seats and select the aisle and window. That way you have a chance no one will pick that middle seat and you will have an entire row. If someone does end up in the middle seat I am sure they would gladly trade you a window or an aisle so you can sit together. It’s always worth a try.
If you’re a germaphobe like me, pack sanitizing wipes and wipe down the area around your seats really well so that baby’s hands won’t get too germy.
Make sure to have gas drops, pain reliever, and an extra set of clothes in your carry on just in case. You may even want to pack a spare for you incase you end up wearing baby spew. You just never know.
Even though you want to be prepared, I always suggest carrying along the least amount of bags that you can. I usually try and fit everything I need into the diaper bag and leave the purse at home. I also recommend that you pony up the extra cash if you can and check your other larger luggage. You’ll already feel like a packed mule so the less bags you have to lug through the airport, the better.
Use a baby carrier to make walking through the airport so much easier. You can wear the baby right through security which is so nice especially if you get really lucky and your baby falls asleep.
Check with your airline but I think most of them allow you to bring the carseat, stroller, and a carry on item for baby at no charge – even if they are riding as a lap child. I always wear Boston in the Ergo and push the umbrella stroller with the carseat on top of it right to the gate and have them gate check it for us.
Download some of your child’s favorite shows on your phone. Did you know there is a setting on iPhones that locks the buttons so your little one can’t accidentally get out of the applications? (General >> Accessibility >> Guided Access) This has been a life saver for us since Boston is always pushing buttons.
And the most important tip I can offer….
Go with the flow. There are so many things that you can’t control. Going into it with out expectations and the mindset that things will be different always helps to take the pressure off of me. And if things don’t go well, have some vino on standby.