Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Have kids, will fly. 5 travel tips for traveling with a baby.

Here are the 5 things that maybe you wouldn't think of before traveling long distances with a baby.  They are mostly for airplane travel, but some may come in handy for shorter on the ground trips.  Most of these I learned the hard way.  I'm hoping to save you some extra trials and tribulations of traveling with a baby.  Like there aren't enough already.

1.  Let the airlines know that you would like the baby bassinet with your seat.  This is a bassinet connected in front of your seat where the baby can sleep and your hands are free.  The only downside to this is that you are in the very front seats (of coach, that is) and you don't have storage under the seats in front of you (since there are no seats).  That can be a pain, but worth it if you know your babe will snooze.

2.  Don't wear overalls and wear slip-on shoes.  Okay, I know I'm dating myself.  Again.  Who wears overalls anymore?  (What a shame, right?  They were so comfy).  What I'm saying, though, is check your attire or any extra metal buttons or zippers.  Metal detectors don't like metal buttons.  You'll get the pat down every time.   Juggling a baby and your carry-ons during your 3rd pat down, now that's fun.  If you haven't figured out yet to wear slip-on shoes while traveling in an airplane, here's the time to simplify your security checkpoint life.  If you are traveling overseas, you can have two of these checkpoints at every layover, when you enter the new airport and when you enter the plane.  Oh, and now in Atlanta, when you arrive from overseas, you have to go through security before you can LEAVE the airport.  I've gone through security on one single trip up to seven times.  (I challenge you:  who can beat that?)

3.  While on the clothes note, try to wear clothes that won't show wetness (spandex? ooo, the 80's rock).  I'll never forget wearing tan cotton pants with my nursing son on a trip, thinking that they wouldn't show dirt (dirt?  the kid can't even roll over yet) and would be comfy.  First layover, the kid barfs all over my lap.  Okay, it's inevitable that you'll be wearing milk stains for a year or so, I could live with that.  But I had to walk through the airport and down the aisle of the airplane with what appeared to be an "accident" caused by post-pregnancy incontinence.  Lovely.

4.  Bring masking tape and Post-its.  If you have older babies who like to play.  Bring these items along with you.  You cannot imagine the myriad of things you can do with this stuff:  make sticky balls, tape highways, post-it peek-a-boos, tape faces on the back of chairs.  These things won't hurt the cushions at all and your baby will be entertained for quite a while.  It really is amazing.

5.  Buy a Sit 'n Stroll.  When my son was born, I was over-the-top anti-baby gear.  I tend to get that way.  I was traveling by myself with my 3 month old from Mexico to the US and then a month later to Guatemala.  There was no way I was lugging around a car seat, a stroller, and the over-stuffed baby bag, plus 3 stuffed 70 lbs suitcases and a pack 'n play.  And a cat.  Oh, and let's not forget the baby.  When I was pregnant I flew a few times (imagine that!) and was thumbing through the Sky Mall Magazine.  I always get a good chuckle out of the canopy dog beds and water flowing drinking fountains for cats.  This time, though,  I saw the solution to my too much baby gear problem, the Sit 'n Stroll.  It's a car seat that transforms into a stroller in seconds AND it's a FAA certified flight seat.  We used that thing for 6 years, for 2 kids, through 4 countries and hundreds of airports.  It's now available in online stores (and maybe real stores too).  Don't forget to ask for the seatbelt extension when you board the plane.

P.S. I also want to mention a really cool website from which I swear I did not steal my article title.   This site has it all when traveling by plane, train, and automobile with little ones.   http://havebabywilltravel.com/

Bon Voyage!  Srecan Put!  Buen Viaje!

Spouses, got traveling with baby tips?  Please, please share in the comments below!


  1. Oh, Steph! This is awesome. I don't even have a baby, but I'm thinking about requesting a bassinet anyway on my next flight just so I can sit in those seats up front. I need the leg room. You don't think that the flight attendants will notice that it's not a real baby, do you? Great post. Yay! You're a blogger! I'm going to put your blog on my blogroll!

    1. I wish they made bassinets big enough for us. Yes, I know. That's called 1st class.

      Thank you for your kudos! And thank you for putting me on your blogroll (how do you do that? by the way?). Boy, am I a newbie! Love to you!

  2. Thanks for sharing! My biggest tool with my toddler is bringing tons of his favorite snacks and revealing them bit by bit. Also, when he was a baby plastic water bottles kept him occupied for quite awhile. Best wishes to you and your family Steph!

  3. Thank you so much, Katlyn. Yes, eating is a wonderful activity that takes up time! Taking up time is what you want to do when you fly with a toddler. I've done the water bottle trick too. Amazing. Why do we buy toys? Don't overlook the vomit bag in the seat pocket in front of you. It can make a wonderful puppet or basketball hoop. Oh, the joys of parenthood! Thanks for sharing! All the best to you!


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