Traveling as a family can be an amazing experience, especially the first time, but bringing a baby on a flight is a tricky thing. It can also be daunting for new parents - there's so much more to consider than when flying on your own, and an incredible amount of extra stuff to bring on board.
There are a lot of things that must be kept in mind when it comes to traveling on planes with babies - and it's just not as simple as bringing all the things you would for a child or another adult. Don't fret, though - we've got all the important things you need to know!
10 Research The Airline
Not all airlines are created equal, and that's especially true when it comes to kids - so do your research to make sure that you aren't just getting the best price and flight time, but an airline with a great reputation for being kid-friendly.
Some airlines will offer 'family' discounts for parents with multiple kids, some are able to guarantee that you will be sitting all together (which is less important with kids young enough to travel on your lap), and some have better amenities for kids and babies.
9 Consider The Child’s Daily Routine
Babies are pretty big fans of predictable daily routines - keeping this in mind when traveling will help make sure that they don't get cranky from missing naptimes.
One of the best tips new parents can follow when they are planning their child’s first flight is to pick a time that works for both the parents and the baby. If the new baby usually naps in the morning, it would probably be a good idea to take a flight that will take place during that time, to increase the chances of baby sleeping through it. Avoid planning to be actually getting from the house to the gate during naptime, too.
8 Ship Some Items Instead Of Packing
Traveling with babies and young children often requires parents to carry around a lot of really big and bulky things, which is hard to do, especially in an airport or an airplane. Most airlines have policies on strollers and extra baggage for babies, and there are also 'travel sized' versions of many items that are a lifesaver for frequent flyers, but you can also ship some items ahead for long trips.
This obviously only works if you will be there long enough to make the cost worthwhile, and if you know your plans well in advance. Check if hotels are prepared for you having something sent to them, and send the stuff you won't need on the plane.
7 Bring A Lot Of Items In The Carry On Bag
Traveling light is a good thing to do. But to be honest, that’s not always possible, especially when there is a baby involved. There are a few items that moms and dads should never be short on, like diapers, formula (for anyone not breastfeeding), and baby wipes.
Sometimes, you can buy these at the airport, but it's a good idea not to count on it being possible - and it's always a good idea to have extra. Even if you plan exactly how much of each item you need to save space, what happens if a flight is delayed, or even canceled? It's better not to risk it for the really important stuff.
6 Choose The Family Line
One of the most stressful things about flying is dealing with airport security. It can be frustrating for anyone, but adding a baby and all the extra stuff that includes just makes it ten times worst. Taking off shoes, taking out electronics, making sure everything is in the right bins, in the right place, and with the right papers, all while handling little ones is a bit challenging for parents.
Fortunately, there are TSA family lines, that can often get you through the lines faster, as well as removing the stress of feeling like you are holding others up - everyone in the line is in the same boat. But these things can be a little bit hard to find, so parents should ask where the nearest one is if they cannot find it.
5 Bring A Variety Of Toys
Babies are very curious little people, and that is wonderful. However, that also means that they tend to have really short attention spans, and they get bored very easily.
So, one thing moms can do in order to be prepared for their first flight with their baby is to pack a lot of toys. They shouldn’t overdo it, but at the same time, packing only one or two toys for the baby to play with during the flight is not a good idea, since that will likely be very boring for them.
4 Don’t Worry Too Much
Between relatives and friends, there are a lot of people who are usually there to help new parents when they need it the most. But the truth is, being the parent of a new baby is stressful, no matter what.
Preparing for the new experience of a first flight, especially worrying about everything that you might forget, or things that might go wrong, can definitely be extra stressful, but take a deep breath! Airports, airline staff, and other passengers are usually accommodating and helpful, and before you know it, traveling with baby will feel like second nature. Plan, prepare... and then relax. It will be ok!
3 Buy The Baby A Seat
Money doesn’t grow on trees, so there are plenty of people out there who choose to have their child sit in their lap during flights. This can only be done when the child is between two weeks old and twenty-four months old, and it's always a good idea to double check regulations with an airline before planning on doing this.
But it’s always a great idea for moms and dads to buy their babies a separate seat, if possible. It makes life significantly easier - for baby and for parents! Even if it just becomes somewhere to put all that stuff you brought, or to put baby down for a nap while you eat the in-flight meal.
2 Car Seats Are A Great Idea
If you do decide to buy a seat for baby, make sure that you bring a carseat so that they can actually use it! Car seats need to be FAA-approved, and that is where things can get a little bit tricky. Once you have double checked that your car seat will work, don't forget the documentation that proves that the car seat is FAA-approved. Then settle baby in for a nice, relaxing flight.
1 Small Strollers Are Best
Having a huge stroller with all the coolest features is nice, but that’s not the best kind for parents to have when they are in a crowded spot like an airport - save it for when you are staying in your home town. Instead, parents should opt for a smaller, more compact stroller that can be easily folded up once they have boarded the plane. There are a huge number of travel strollers made just for this reason, and they are definitely worth looking into to save space and hassle at the airport.