Holiday travel is crazy in and of itself. Add a baby to the mix, and it can become even more complicated. You need to not only ensure that you pack everything you’ll need for baby while you’re away, but also everything you’ll need to get through the flight or drive, particularly if it’s a long one. But even for short flights, anything can happen.
Here are some helpful tips for making holiday travel with a baby easy.
Bring your car seat and stroller
Using a stroller can make navigating a busy airport that much easier versus using a baby carrier. Rather than bring your main one, though, it’s worthwhile to invest in a small, lightweight umbrella stroller, like the Guzzie + Guss Sandpiper, that can be used for travel, and can be gate-checked if traveling by plane for free. Plus, it can be used as somewhere to safely place your baby down when you get to your destination if it’s a friend or family member’s home who doesn’t have kids, or a hotel room. If you bring a larger stroller, the airline may count that toward your checked luggage allowance.
On the other hand, most, if not all, airlines, allow you to check a car or booster seat for free, not counting it toward your checked luggage allowance. Make sure to write your name and address on it, in the event of it getting misplaced. Alternatively, if you plan to rent a car, you can always pay a small additional fee to get a car seat rental with the vehicle, which can also make things easier if you already have too much stuff to bring and want to ease the initial load. Or, consider purchasing a car seat at your destination, then bringing it back home as an extra one for grandma and grandpa’s car, for example.
For the flight
Infants under two can travel for free sitting in a parent’s lap. If your child is coming up to the age of two and is relatively big, you might want to consider buying him a seat instead, particularly if it’s a long flight. This way, he can sit on your lap when the seatbelt sign isn’t on, but sit comfortably in his own seat when it is, and for landing and take-off. For younger babies, naturally, you’ll want to keep them safely in arms at all times. Some airlines provide a bassinet rental (upon availability) if your child is not yet able to sit upright, so you can consider that option as well.
What you can bring
Parents traveling with infants are permitted an extra carry-on item in addition to their personal article, so you can pack that important diaper bag. If you’re traveling by plane, buy carry-on-sized containers to store things like diaper rash cream and formula. If you’re venturing on a road trip, consider something like the Prince Lionheart Vehicle Travel Organizer for easy access to needed items, and insulated drink holders. You can indeed bring formula, breast milk, juice, and baby food in small containers on a plane, but keep in mind that the flight attendants may not be able to keep it refrigerated for you, so bring an ice pack or pack it inside a small cooler, like the JJ Cole Collections Bottle Cooler, to ensure safekeeping.
Unfortunately, while you can change a baby’s diaper on a flight, not every plane has dedicated diaper changing tables, so bring along a thick and easily wipeable change pad, or something like a change clutch (and lots and lots of wipes!), extra clothing (bring a few extra items in the diaper bag in addition to what you pack in checked luggage), and dirty diaper baggies to make the changing process as quick and easy as possible in tight quarters.
Don’t forget to bring along some engaging, but quiet, toys for your little one to play with. For infants, consider colourful toys that double as teethers, like the VTech Lil’ Critters Sing & Smile Teether. Also consider loading your smartphone or tablet up with fun and educational games, apps, or movies that can be accessed without an Internet connection. While it’s not advisable to stick an infant in front of an electronic device for hours at a time, if there’s one time it’s acceptable, it’s following a gruelling trip through the airport and a four-hour flight on the way to your holiday destination!
Don’t forget the passport!
If you are traveling outside of the country, your baby, no matter his age, will require a passport. It’s also a good idea to bring along the birth certificate and parental consent letter should the child only be traveling with one parent.
Check out plenty more travel-friendly gear for baby at Best Buy Online.