Flying. It can be daunting when you’re on your own, but throw a child in the mix, and it can be pure chaos. But, it doesn’t have to be. With the holidays fast approaching, here are a few tips I have learned and some I’ve found through trial and error that can make your life easier when flying and traveling in general.
Any child under two does NOT need a boarding pass/ticket unless they are over two years old.
Two and under fly for free! You just have to bring a copy of their birth certificate to verify their date of birth. You will also need to call ahead after making your reservation and add them to yours. But here’s the kicker: if you’re planning to bring their car seat on the plane and let them ride in it on the plane, then you will have to purchase a ticket for the car seat
CHECK YOUR BAG!
Most airlines let your bags fly free or at the very least only charge you $25 for bags weighing less than 50 lbs. If your airline makes you pay, it’s worth it! Trust me. There’s no amount of coffee, liquor or chocolates in the world to give a mama coming through the airport with a baby, a stroller/car seat, a dog who is scared out of his mind, AND a giant suitcase. Check it and move on.
I pride myself on being an expert packer—my daddy taught me this art, and my sweet Aunt Kim experienced my packing skills when we went on a mission trip to Honduras…for the record, you don’t need hair rollers in Honduras. So pick some staples that you can mix and match over several days. Also, pick accessories you can wear more than once. Same goes with shoes. AND if it’s cold, wear your heaviest clothes and shoes on the plane.
ROLL YOUR CLOTHES!
I learned a long time ago that rolling your clothes will not only help eliminate the need for an iron, but will save room…for more stuff.
Pack all of your clothes in one suitcase, if possible.
The times I’ve flown with our daughter, it’s usually been just the two of us, so I put all of our stuff in one suitcase. Also, buy THESE packing cubes. You can thank me later. I have two sets; one for me, and one for her.
If your baby is little (our girl was 2 months old when I flew with her for the first time), wear them!
Your hands will be free, and they are much easier to wear at this age in my opinion. We had a Baby Bjorn and I loved it. It was easy, and I could shove it down in her diaper bag if I needed to.
While we are on diaper bags…GET A BACKPACK diaper bag.
If I’d of had to lug a cross-body or shoulder one through the airport, I’m pretty sure I would’ve choked myself with it because it would be tangled and I would’ve panicked and started sweating. We have this one and we love it!
If your baby is still in the bottle stage, YOU CAN TAKE THEM ON THE PLANE!
The 3 oz rule does not apply here. I would usually mix up a bottle ahead of time and put it in the diaper bag. They will test it, unless you specifically ask them not to. They will also go through all your snacks so I try to keep them all in one place and just pull it out when it’s time. We have this little bag and it has a gel pouch you can freeze. It also fits nicely in the diaper bag.
Snacks for you, snacks for baby…snacks for everyone! Make sure you bring something you know your child will like, or something they normally eat. Gerber puffs were and still are our BFF. Being on an airplane for the first time isn’t the best place for baby to try something new. Having to change a diaper in an airplane bathroom is no fun for anyone involved—new snacks or not…don’t ask how I know.
Bring a small pack in the diaper bag or spray hand sanitizer all over the seat and seat backs of the plane. Because if your child is like mine, she will lick the airplane seat like it’s an ice cream cone.
Get a lightweight one that’s easy to fold and not expensive. I have used one the last two times we’ve flown and IT IS A LIFESAVER! She’s entertained and waving to everyone in the airport, and you can pop that sucker closed once you’re at the gate and let them gate check it for you. It will be waiting for you when you get off the plane. I say an inexpensive one because they throw them around under the plane so it’s best not to bring your nice expensive stroller unless you have a travel/protective bag for it.
If possible, sit in a window seat.
It might be hard if you have to get up for any reason, but it gives your child something to look at, and be entertained for a little while. It stinks, but you’re not allowed to sit in the emergency exit row with a child. I think there should be a section just for parents with plenty of leg room and maybe even a free glass of wine…raise your hand if I’m speaking to you!
Bring some toys, or books or games that they like from home, or buy a new book or small toy that they haven’t seen before.
If possible, when taking off and landing, give a bottle, snack or paci—the swallowing and sucking will help with ear popping.
Finally, try and pick a time to fly when your child is supposed to take a nap or should be asleep.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but give them the opportunity to take a little nap.
Traveling should be fun for all involved. Sometimes it can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. I hope this list helps in some way. But just remember, give yourself some grace, stay calm and try not to worry too much. As long as you make it to your destination all in one piece it definitely counts as a win!