The first time I traveled with a baby, David was 10 months old. We flew with my Father in Law from Kansas to Florida. We visited Sea World, strolled through the Kennedy Space Center and enjoyed a visit through the Titanic museum. If we had time, I wanted to see Disney World and go to a Florida beach resort.
Just recently, I flew with Lucy from Kansas to North Carolina. This, was on my own. We both attended a blog conference and the entire trip was almost stress free.
Traveling with an infant does not need to be stressful. I am going to share with you six tips I learned from traveling with babies.
1. Pack light – It is worth it to pack everything you will need for your trip in a large suit case so you only need to carry a small diaper bag on the plane. I know it costs like $25 to check luggage – and that bothers me too. But if you are traveling alone with a baby, it is so much easier to just go straight to your seat and put that small bag under the seat in front of you than to try and put the carry on luggage in the overhead bin when you have your hands full with baby. Take only what you need for your flight on the plane, it helps.
2. Allow room for delays – When you are planning your flight times, think about delays. If you book a flight for 10pm, it might not actually leave until 1am. That happened to me, and while Lucy was happy enough until 11:30, by 12:30 she was trying to sleep but not able to really conk out.
3. Leave enough time in between connecting flights – This is especially true for extremely large airports like Chicago and Atlanta. If you are traveling with a baby, having at least a 2 hour layover is a good idea – that is, unless you packed your jogging stroller! I found that one hour was barely enough time to really jog myself from one concourse to the other with Lucy strapped to me and a car seat to carry.
4. Relax! – Babies can pick up your emotions. If you are happy and relaxed they will be more likely to be happy but if you are freaking out about traveling with a baby chances are you are setting yourself up for failure. Take it easy, have fun! Let your baby surprise you with how well he/she is able to fly.
5. Use a baby carrier – This is a personal preference of mine, but airports are such loud and noisy places that it might be bordering on over stimulating to some babies. Being held close to mom is reassuring and comforting. The carrier also helps free your hands for luggage. The best baby carriers are ones designed for babies to face the adult. Outward facing carriers might allow the child to get overstimulated.
6. Get to know your airports – If you have to fly out of Chicago or Atlanta, prepare for delays and give yourself enough time to get from one plane to the other. Research which airports have the most delays and which ones are the most difficult to navigate. Once you are prepared with that knowledge, traveling will have less surprises for you.
What are you travel tips? I have not flown with a toddler or preschooler yet, so I do not have tips for that. I’d love to hear your tips for flying as a family, your Summer tech travel tips and your favorite ways to travel – plane? Bus? road trip? Please share!