The actual logistics part of traveling is the thing I scoured the web for all the tips and tricks I could find! Since we are bringing a lot of bigger items for the first time ever: stroller, car seat, luggage, diaper bag, carry-on bags, etc. That was one thing I wanted to make as easy as possible. We ended up buying a large suitcase that was checked, to lighten the load we toted through security & the airport in general. I know. It can be scary to check all of your stuff instead of carrying on. This just seemed like the smartest, easiest plan for us and I’ve never had an issue with checked luggage… knock on wood! So, go! Here are my top tips for traveling with a baby.
- Getting through the airport – If your baby is still small enough and you have a compatible stroller, I’d highly recommend bringing baby’s car seat on the stroller. With the City Select, all I need is a pair of adapters and the car seat clicks right on. Win. Having a stroller through the airport is seriously the best way to go. It doubles as a luggage cart when/if baby is not in it, so that is a huge convenience.
- The security line – Once we were in the line for security, I took Hudson out of the stroller (they won’t let you push a baby in the stroller through security) and put him in the Ergo 360. Also, try not to let your baby fall asleep in the stroller because if your baby is anything like mine he will wake up and probably not go back to sleep with all the excitement going on. Plus, who wants to wake up a precious sleeping baby? So avoid that at all costs. If you’re wearing baby through security and have a stroller with you, they’ll take you through and wipe your hands & stroller to test it for explosive materials. I had a great experience here, everyone was so helpful and patient.
- At the gate – I brought a blanket along and laid it out on the ground so Hudson could get his last moments of being “free”. I let him crawl around to get as many wiggles out as possible. I don’t know if it really helped or not, but I like to think he appreciated it before being confined to our row for 6 hours.
- Buying baby a seat – I was totally conflicted on this one. In theory, it is great not to have to pay for a seat and have baby sit on your lap. On the other hand, realistically, how will that go? Well, we went back & forth a bunch and finally decided to take the risk. He’d be on our laps for the duration of the flight. In the mean time, I did a bunch of research online finding out that if the plane is not full most airlines will accommodate you and give you one of the extra seats on the plane. We talked to the agent and voila; we were lucky enough that Hudson had his own seat on the way there and back! In the end, he NEEDED his own seat. He is so on the go at all times and could not, would not fall asleep on my chest and needed to be in the comfort of his car seat where we could shut out most of the plane busyness. Had we not gotten lucky with the extra seat a 6-hour, no nap plane ride would have been miserable for us and everyone around us. One thing I do wonder though is, how would he do on a red eye. Is it worth the risk to take a red eye and have him not sleep, disrupting everyone else? On the other hand, what if he slept the whole way. Talk about a stress-free flight. What do you do when traveling with your littles?
- On the plane – As I have mentioned a million and one times, my son is on. the. go. So I knew this was going to be the biggest challenge of the trip. On the way there, of course, he started teething so that didn’t help; however, all things considered, he did fairly well. Unfortunately, the overstimulation didn’t allow him to fall asleep very easily, as I already mentioned. As a result, he only took one nap during both flights. It wasn’t much, but better than nothing. We brought his favorite noise free toys, a few episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (oh toooooooodlessss), lots of his favorite foods & snacks, and lots of bouncing! We made friends with the other people and kids around us, so Hudson was pretty happy flirting with all the girls and making new friends!
- Keep a positive attitude – My final, most important piece of advice. It is so easy to get overwhelmed worrying. Traveling can be stressful and add on a 9 month old to that, mama mode kicks in and you just want everything to go smoothly. Just keep reminding yourself that the plane ride is temporary and you’ll be back on the ground soon, hopefully in some beautiful location for a fun family vacation!
I knew that this was going to wind up being a long one, so if you made it through to the end I applaud you! I hope this gives you something different from all the other lists like this + helps you to take on your next family plane ride with confidence! Flying with a baby, can be intimidating but also worth it as soon as you’re back on the ground! Thank you so much for reading and HAPPY FRIDAY!