My sister always gets stressed about flying with her kids. I get it – it’s tough lugging multiple suitcases, car seats, toys, books, snacks and more. I learned some tips to make a flight with your baby or child less turbulent and more smooth sailing.
1) Visit the TSA website. Give a quick glance to the TSA website that gives tips on air travel with children – this way you know all the rules. http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/index.shtm
2) Contact your airline ahead of time. Find out the airline’s policies on checking strollers and car seats, and how much extra baby-related baggage you are allowed to bring. For example, some airlines let you bring big diaper bags, but they don’t count it as part of your carry-ons.
3) Slip-Ons. Slip-on shoes are great for travel – you don’t feel the pressure as a mom to tie your shoes while your baby is crying or you’re trying to collect all of your multiple family bags. This was a savior tip for my sister! Plus a new reason to buy cute shoes!
4) Combine. Try to pack anything that can have dual-purposes such as a car seat that turns into a stroller
5) A sling or carrier is great for going through security. You always have to put the stroller through the x-ray conveyor belt, and sometimes it helps to have a sling to put your baby through security to have two hands free. This can make travel much easier – especially when you are trying to collect your bags and put your shoes back on.
6) Take your stroller all the way down the jetway. Make sure it has an airline tag and leave it just outside the door of the plane. When you disembark, the airline will have it waiting in the jetway on the other side.
7) Reconsider boarding early. Typically, airlines allow you to board the plane early if you’re traveling with small children. However, in my opinion, it typically takes at least 30+ minutes for the rest of the plane to board and that just means extra time for your child to be contained in a plane and get antsy. It is your choice, but I would rather be in an open area inside the airport and try to carry light so that you don’t have to worry about room for your carry-on baggage.
8) Window, window! I love the aisle, but with a baby on your lap or playing with a child, it can be best to sit next to the window for squirmy legs that might stick out into the aisle and get bumped by the drink cart. Plus the passenger next to you doesn’t have to worry about crawling over you and your child to go to the bathroom.
9) Bottle or food for take-off and landing. We have all experienced the changes in pressure on an airplane and man, it hurts as a baby or child, especially your ears. It is a good idea to nurse or bottle-feed your baby during the ascent and descent. This forces them to swallow and helps keep the ears open – this really works!
10) Bring activities. All kids love to pull on the seat in front of them, kick it incessantly out of boredom or play with the seat tray (ha, ha! You know what I am talking about). Bring books and toys to keep a babies’ attention. If you are an iPad lover like me, download books and children’s game to entertain.
11) Plan ahead. Traveling with kids can be stressful, but make a list and check it twice and it will help relieve any stress. If you need to, make a packing list and tape it on the front door or your bathroom mirror so that you remember everything.