Table of Contents
There’s nothing easy about planning a trip along with your child, especially if the child in question is only an infant. But there are certain tricks and tips for traveling with a baby that can make your journey more comfortable. Whether you are traveling with a baby on a plane or a car, it is only natural to be anxious about the well-being and comfort of your child.
Traveling with babies can seem daunting but with proper planning and preparation, there’s nothing that can stop you from having an amazing experience. Given below are a few travel tips for flying with a baby.
36 Best Tips For Traveling With A Baby On An Airplane
1) Take Direct Flights Whenever Possible
It is important to take your time and think long and hard about the flight you are going to book while traveling with a baby or toddler. Even though your first instinct might be to go for the cheaper flights, it is advisable to consider flight duration, layovers as well as luggage fees while flying with a baby. Since a long flight with multiple layovers may not be the wisest choice for your baby’s first flying experience, take a direct flight if possible.
2) Book Your Seats Early
It is advisable to book your preferred seats well in advance while traveling with baby on plane. An aisle seat can be useful when it comes to getting up to walk or change the infant. Moreover, sitting at the front will ensure a more comfortable flight for you and your baby since the rear seats are bumpier and may cause your child distress.
3) Check If Your Baby Is Old Enough To Travel
Before making a flight reservation, go through airline policies and enquire if there are any age restrictions regarding travel for infants. Airlines have a minimum age requirement for babies, ranging from two days old to two weeks, and in most cases, you might need to provide proof of your baby’s age. Newborns may need a doctor’s note affirming that they are fit for flying.
4) Arrange The Travel Documents Well In Advance
While flying with a baby, make sure you check the entry and exit requirements of your travel destination and prepare the travel documentation for your baby well in advance. In case you are planning for international travel, a passport is a requisite. A child’s passport is valid for five years. Most airports require some sort of ID even if you are traveling locally and therefore, it is a good idea to make sure you have your child’s birth certificate at your disposal.
5) Check The Weather At Your Travel Destination
While traveling with a baby, it is always good to have an inkling about the weather conditions at your intended travel destination. This will not only help you pack the right kind of clothes for yourself and your baby but also help you plan indoor and outdoor activities for your kid well in advance.
6) Seek Travel Advice From Other Parents
While making travel plans, make sure you talk with people who are accustomed to flying with their children. Along with offering invaluable advice, they might also be able to clear your doubts and tell you about the most challenging factors while traveling with an infant. Knowing what to expect can help calm your nerves, especially if you are traveling with a young child for the first time. Several online groups can be especially helpful to parents who are traveling with young children with special needs or kids with chronic illnesses.
7) Choose A Family-Friendly Airline
Some airlines are known to be more family-friendly than others and are generally preferred by parents who travel with their small children regularly. Before you book the tickets, talk to other parents who are frequent travelers and browse through multiple online travel forums so that you can make an informed choice regarding the best airline for your family.
8) Choose Flights That Match The Baby's Schedule
Flight timings don’t matter so much in the case of newborns who will probably doze off as soon as they are fed. In the case of babies who have a fixed sleep schedule, choose a flight that aligns with your child’s usual bedtime. This tip does not work in every circumstance since there are times when the baby is agitated and simply doesn’t fall asleep. Also, there are expenses to consider. If the airline that matches your child’s sleep schedule is simply too expensive, you might have to choose another and hope that your baby doesn’t get too cranky.
9) Request A Bassinet
While traveling with a baby on the plane, it is a bonus if you manage to get a bassinet since you can put your baby in there and relax your arms for a little while. Since you cannot reserve or book them, the trick is to reach ahead of time, especially since bassinets are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis at the gate. Moreover, you should do thorough research regarding the layout of the plane you are flying and try to book the seats closest to the bassinet.
10) Reach The Airport Early
Reaching the airport early is one of the most important travel tips while flying with a baby, especially during your child’s first flight. Make sure you reach the airport well in advance so that you have enough time to check-in, get through gate checking, and board the flight. Even if you are fully prepared, there might be unexpected mishaps or delays that you can resolve without stress if you reach ahead of time.
11) Make Use Of The Airport Lounge
Before boarding the flight, it is advisable to use the airport lounge to feed your baby and change diapers. Although several lounges charge hefty admission fees, some accommodate babies and small children free of charge. Try to find a quiet corner in the lounge and let your child move around a bit since this will help burn off some energy and the child might settle down during the flight.
12) Locate And Use Family Restrooms
While flying with a baby, it is of utmost importance to locate the family restrooms near you, especially in case of layovers, since they are private and offer excellent changing facilities. You can change your baby’s diaper in peace without the crowd and chaos that is usually present in public airport restrooms.
13) Take Advantage Of Pre-Boarding
Most flights offer boarding priority to people with babies or young children. Make sure you grab this opportunity and board the plane before it starts getting crowded. This will allow you ample time to settle the baby and manage your luggage without things getting chaotic or noisy.
14) Stay Calm And Relaxed
This is perhaps the most important factor that will decide how your experience turns out to be. During your journey, several things could go wrong. The flight might be delayed, your baby might get agitated or the gate agent might be gruff and impatient. These are unforeseen circumstances that must be dealt with with patience and understanding. Try not to allow frustration or anxiety to get the better of you. Stay relaxed, no matter what happens, and embrace even the most unexpected turn of events.
15) Be Prepared For Last Minute Repacking
Most airplanes have baggage limitations and you will have to pay extra in case you have excess weight. Be prepared for last-minute repacking in the airport itself. Since many parents tend to overpack during the first trip, this is a common scenario.
16) Buy A Separate Seat For Your Child
While flying with a baby, if your trip is longer than a few hours and the price is well within your budget, it would be a great idea to get a separate seat for your child. Flying long routes while trying to hold on to a squirmy lap infant can be tiring. In case your child is only a few months old and the journey is relatively short, carrying your infant on your lap should not be much of a problem.
17) Protect The Baby's Ears While Flying
While on a flight, your baby might experience ear pain because of the changing cabin pressure. To help equalize the pressure in your baby’s ear, it is advisable to feed your baby or offer him or her something to suck on during takeoff and landing. In case your baby is getting agitated, try to distract him or her for a little while.
18) Pack Wisely
Make sure you don’t take excess stuff while flying with a baby or toddler. It is exhausting to keep hauling your luggage here and there, especially if you intend to move around a lot. If you are traveling solo, you simply cannot manage your young child as well as checked-in bags, carry-on bags, and a stroller or a car seat all at once.
19) Travel Insurance
Make sure you always fly with travel insurance, just in case either you or your baby require medical attention during the journey. Young children are accident-prone and may have a fever, bug bites, or allergies while on vacation. It is under these circumstances that travel insurance comes in handy.
20) Choose Comfort Over Style
While it might be a tempting prospect to doll up your baby, it is advisable not to choose flashy, uncomfortable clothing while traveling. Dress the baby in thin layers which can be easily added or removed according to the temperature.
21) Wear Your Baby If Possible
Wearing your baby while traveling on a plane has several advantages. Not only is it much easier than hauling around a stroller, but it also enables you to move around quickly, navigate stairs and manage your luggage much more easily. This is most helpful when you are traveling solo.
22) Take A Good Stroller
In case you are someone who prefers to do a lot of sightseeing on foot, it is advisable to get a good stroller, especially since you might get tired carrying around your child. Make sure that the stroller you choose is compact, lightweight, and easy to manage.
23) Don't Take Too Many Toys
If your baby is older, you can carry a favorite toy to keep him/her occupied. It isn’t advisable to take more than a couple of toys. They only add to the luggage and may be of no use if your child sleeps during most of the trip. Since babies are fascinated by almost anything, offer them handkerchiefs or water bottles to play with in case they are tired of their toys.
24) Consult Your Doctor Before You Travel
It is advisable to consult a doctor before flying with a baby or toddler. A doctor can tell you about the risks involved as well as the best way to take care of your child in case of any illness. Children can be very sensitive to changing climate conditions. Excess sunlight or cold may be a source of discomfort and it is a good idea to consult your doctor about using lotions, creams, or any kind of medication.
25) Breastfeed If Possible
While traveling with babies, breastfeeding is a great option since you can cut down on baby food, especially if your child is only a few months old. If you intend to feed your infant with breast milk, make sure you dress comfortably in layers.
26) Request An Empty Seat
In case you are flying with a baby and have not booked a seat for your baby, enquire if there are any empty seats available and ask if you can be seated next to them. If you are lucky, you might be able to get a free seat for your baby. This is especially helpful if your baby or toddler is over a year old and gets restless while flying.
27) Cut Down On Baby Gear
While most new parents flying with babies tend to pack a lot of diapers, formula, and baby clothes, it isn’t necessary. Make sure you are well packed for the flight but don’t overdo it. You can stock up on diapers and other essentials that can be bought once you reach your travel destination.
28) Move Around Less
In case you are hoping for a quiet, relaxing vacation with your baby, then perhaps it is a good idea to move around less. Instead of moving around constantly, stay at a place where you can easily return to at night after exploring during the day. It is important to adhere to your baby’s sleep schedule because in case the toddler does not get enough sleep, you might have to deal with a sleepy, cranky infant soon.
29) Pack An Extra Pair Of Clothes
While flying with a baby, it is important to take an extra pair of clothes for yourself and the baby in case of flight delays, diaper leaks, or any other emergency. Make sure you also take separate bags to carry dirty clothes and burped hankies.
30) Take A Car Seat Or Baby Carrier
If you intend to bring along the car seat you usually use, make sure that it is FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) approved and check your airline’s seating guidelines. Most airlines allow you to check in car seats without counting them as an extra bag.
31) Don't Obsess Over Hygiene
While traveling with babies, It is easy to maintain the hygiene of infants who are only a few months old and haven’t started walking. On the other hand, children who’ve started crawling tend to move around a lot. Keep an eye on them but try not to be paranoid about their hygiene. In case a tub is available, bathe them. Otherwise wiping them down should suffice.
32) Keep Your Child Occupied
It is relatively easy to manage babies who are only a few months old but the older kids need to be entertained if they show no signs of falling asleep. Snacks and bottles will keep them occupied, as will toys or anything they can play with.
33) Plan Your Mode Of Transport
It is important to finalize your transport options before you reach your intended travel destination. Whether you’re planning to rent a car, take the train, or use public transport, make sure you’ve planned it well in advance.
34) Pack Sufficient Baby Food
Babies get hungrier while flying. If your baby has started taking solids, make sure you pack enough food for the first twenty-four hours (more if it is a long flight with multiple layovers). Take some healthy snacks and baby food because even though most airlines provide infant food, your child may not like it. Don’t forget to pack bibs and spoons.
35) Rent Baby Equipment For Travel
In case you intend to travel alone and don’t feel like hauling around a lot of baggage, you could use the option of renting out baby equipment from your travel destination. This might add to your expenses but the amount of baby gear that you have to carry becomes considerably lesser.
36) Pack Medicines
Small children tend to get sick while traveling. Make sure you take pain relievers, ear drops, a thermometer, a pacifier, and a first-aid kit while getting onto the plane. Young babies are easily affected by climate change, long hours of traveling, and changes in routine.
Flying with young kids is rarely easy and comes with its own set of challenges but once you get the hang of it, you will grow to love traveling around the world with your little ones. Make sure you prepare lists, consider backups, and stay ready for any kind of mishap while flying with a baby.