Top 12 Tips For Traveling With a Baby
If you think traveling with a baby sounds like a daunting task, you’re not alone. Many new parents get nervous about taking their newborns on their first trips.
Luckily, traveling with a baby isn’t as challenging as it seems. You just need to take a few extra steps to ensure things go smoothly.
While you’re probably already aware that you should bring a change of clothes and stock up on snacks, we’ve compiled a list of 12 lesser-known baby travel tips, inspired by our amazing customers. Ready for take off? Let’s get started with these travel tips.
#1 Book Your Flight Strategically
Being in a time crunch can compound your travel stress, especially when you have a baby in tow. As a result, you may want to:
- Choose a flight that allows for a roomy layover (aim for at least two hours)
- Book a direct flight to avoid a layover altogether
- Arrive at the airport earlier than you normally would
By padding your air travel time, you can save yourself the stress of rushing around terminals with all of your baby gear.
Another helpful tip is to choose a flight that coincides with your baby’s bedtime. This way, you can increase the chances that your little angel sleeps through the flight, rather than causing a fuss.
#2 Bring a Copy of Your Baby's Birth Certificate
Babies under two years old get to fly for free. If your baby is only a few months old, you may assume that the airport personnel will let them on, no questions asked. However, this isn’t always the case.
Some airlines require you to verify your baby’s age with a copy of their birth certificate. If you’re flying internationally, you’ll also need to provide your baby’s passport. Preparing these documents ahead of time can save you a lot of stress the day of.
Just take it from one of our customers, @meg_pruitt, who wrote in: “I was kicked off my first flight flying with an infant just prior to takeoff because the flight attendant asked for a birth certificate to prove my 4-month-old (!!!) was under 2 and could be a lap child.”
#3 Wear Your Baby
Some parents may prefer pushing their baby in a stroller at the airport, but using a baby carrier comes with many perks. For one, wearing your baby will keep your hands free, making it easier to:
- Present your boarding pass
- Place your bags on the security conveyor belt
- Take your shoes on and off
- Dig through your hand luggage
- Carry your much-needed coffee
Leaving the stroller at home also saves you the hassle of getting it through security.
Most importantly, your little one will be a lot happier staying snuggled up to you throughout the travel day.
#4 Utilize Your Pre-Boarding Privileges
Families with young children usually get to board the plane early. Taking advantage of this privilege can make your life a lot easier.
If you're traveling alone with your baby, pre-boarding can give you a chance to stow your belongings in the overhead compartment and get situated before the aisles become crowded.
If another adult is traveling with you, you may want to let them board the plane ahead of time and arrange everything while you and your baby relax in the terminal a little longer.
#5 Don't Leave Milk or Formula in the Overhead Compartment
Another benefit of boarding early is that you can ensure you have everything you need at your seat with you, rather than forgetting it in the overhead compartment. The most important item to have on hand? A beverage for your baby.
During take-off and landing, sipping on a bottle can help prevent your baby’s ears from popping as the pressure changes in the cabin. If your baby isn’t in the mood for a bottle, you can give them a pacifier instead.
This tip was brought to us by @jessie_mas: “I was traveling with my 3-month-old for the first time. The flight attendant asked me to put my bag in the overhead compartment prior to takeoff. Of course, right before takeoff my daughter started screaming for her milk and I realized it was in the bin. The flight attendant absolutely wouldn't let me get out of my seat to grab the milk. Poor thing screamed until we were finally in the air and I was able to grab it!”
#6 Pack For the Unexpected
While you may want to pack light, it’s important to prepare for the unexpected. Make sure your baby’s diaper bag is stocked with the following essentials:
Doubling up on diapers and snacks can save the day if your flight gets delayed or canceled.
Our customer, @rach.chicka.cha.cha, also recommends bringing some extra deodorant: “When you travel with a tiny baby... you're just sweaty all the time!”
Strawless Sippy Cups For the Win
If you plan to bring a sippy cup on the plane, make sure it doesn’t have a straw. Otherwise, cabin pressure fluctuations could cause an unexpected surprise…
“Our seatmate finally fell asleep despite the craziness and my son's sippy cup, which apparently got pressurized, started shooting water through the straw. Cold cold water. My son likes ice water. And where was it aimed? Her face!” — @alice_leon
#7 Baby Under One? Bring TWO Changes of Clothes
From blown-out diapers to sticky spit-up, traveling with a baby can get messy. Just ask our customer, @shantersch: “Last month I traveled from Minneapolis back to San Francisco with my 7-week-old daughter....alone. She had two blow-outs on our 4-hour flight.”
To keep your tiny travel companion fresh and clean on a long flight, it’s a good idea to bring two extra changes of clothes.
If you want to shop for cute travel attire for your baby, check out our collections. Our soft and durable baby clothes can help your little one jet-set in style.
Don’t Forget Your Own Outfit Change
You probably don’t want to sit in soiled clothes all day either. Do your future self a favor and pack yourself some extra clothes, too.
“Once we landed, we find out that the airline had a blackout and canceled all flights. I was stuck with 3 littles, no more formula, a poo stain on my pants, and had to wait in line for 3 hours (while holding baby) to reschedule our flight for the next day.” — @missbrittany_ann
Ask for Coffee Grinds in the Case of an Accident
If your last pair of clothes get soiled, you can curb the stench quickly with some coffee grinds.
We got this helpful tip from our customer, @lswelch: “Let's just say my 4-month-old got sick all over myself, my brother and my husband on a cross-country flight. Husband was being wiped down by a flight attendant with coffee grinds. Apparently, coffee grinds get the smell out!? Who knew?!”
#8 Ask For a Window or Aisle Seat
When you’re confined to a small space with your baby, your choice of seating can make all of the difference:
- Window seats – A window seat is wonderful if you want a little more privacy while you nurse during the flight.
- Aisle seats – Aisle seats allow you to take frequent trips to the bathroom without disrupting anyone.
If your flight isn’t fully booked, you can also ask to be seated next to an empty seat. Many airlines will be more than happy to accommodate this request.
This way, you can avoid getting into the predicament that our customer, @briannamariewilson, found herself in: “I got stuck sitting between two very large, muscular men. I was touching both of them for the entire three hour flight, despite trying to make myself as small as possible. My son was squished and hot and when it came time to feed him, I had to scoot forward in my chair and turn sideways to nurse, trying to keep my soon from kicking them; neither of the men surrounding us even budged as I clearly struggled to feed my child. We were both so uncomfortable and crying!”
#9 Buy Your Baby a Seat
Rather than leaving your seating arrangements to chance, you can always purchase an extra seat for your baby. Of course, this will add to your travel costs, but the extra space may be worth the investment.
A separate seat will provide you with more room to:
- Let your baby stretch out and explore
- Spread out your baby supplies or belongings
- Set up a car seat for your baby to sleep in
Some airlines even offer complimentary bassinets for babies if you call ahead and request one before your flight, saving you the trouble of lugging your own car seat onto the plane.
#10 Road tripping? Pack the Paper Towels
If you’re traveling by car, you have the luxury to bring a few more items than you would onto a plane. Stocking your trunk with some extra paper towels can come in handy if you encounter some unexpected messes along the way (which is highly likely with a little one in the back seat).
Here’s @lchva’s story: “We just went on a 6-hour road trip with our newborn to visit my parents. She was so good for the first three hours. We stopped to change her poopy diaper, and as soon as I removed the diaper, she started pooping and peeing simultaneously all over the car. We could only laugh. And then start wiping her off with fast food napkins!”
#11 Pacify Nearby Passengers With a Gift
Most parents' worst nightmare is receiving dirty looks from nearby passengers when their baby refuses to stop crying. While baby crying is normal and nothing to be ashamed about, you can sweeten up your neighbors by giving them a small gift at the start of your flight. Consider offering a little fabric pouch filled with:
- A thank you note
This small gesture can help soften their mood if your sweet baby transforms into an unconsolable crankypants mid-flight.
#12 Bring Your Sense of Humor—You’re Going to Need It
Even with these baby tips, traveling with a baby can be tough. When challenging moments arise, just take a deep breath and remind yourself that this travel day is temporary. Soon, you’ll be at your destination making memories with your little one.
Having a sense of humor can go a long way, too. Our customer, @im_mrs_smith, shares this lighthearted sentiment: “How do you truck your kid down the aisle soaked and dripping in poo...like ‘hey people, might want to deploy those oxygen masks stat!’”
When Can a Baby Travel Safely?
There are many steps you can take to streamline your travel experience with a baby. So, how soon can you put these travel with baby tips to the test?
Airlines’ passenger age policies vary. However, most pediatricians recommend putting off travel until your baby has built up his or her immune system. This means it’s a good idea to wait to travel until your baby is at least a couple of months old.
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TripSavvy. Airline Ticketing Policies for Traveling With a Baby. https://www.tripsavvy.com/airline-ticketing-policies-for-babies-54528
Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. When is it safe to travel with a newborn baby by plane, car or train? https://www.bhtp.com/blog/when-safe-to-travel-with-newborn