I am currently trying to figure out where our next travel adventure is going to be and with all this talk about travel, there was no doubt that these two questions would slide into my DM’s: “How do you travel with an infant? I’m nervous about flying with my baby for the first time, do you have any advice?” The most requested blog post of all time is probably tips for flying with children. While, I always respond to my messages, I thought it would be much easier to actually do a blog post so you can use as a reference! As always, if you have any specific questions this blog post doesn’t cover, I love hearing from you so send me a message!
Any time I talk about traveling or are on a vacation, my DM’s are flooded with these sorts of things. Let me tell you, Mama, you are not ALONE. I get nervous every time we fly or travel with Charlie! Every time we go somewhere, she seems to be at a different stage in her life. This, naturally, brings up different challenges each trip. With perseverance and a few tricks up my sleeve, we seem to make it through and have a good time! Now, if someone could cure my fear of flying that would be grrrrrreeeeeeeat.
Tips For Traveling with an Infant
- 1. Be Organized– I CANNOT say this enough. BE ORGANIZED. Maybe you are someone who thrives on chaos- that is not me. Things go way smoother if you are organized and know where things are- baby or no baby, this is key to getting through the airport efficiently. I use this stroller pouch so I can have easy access to my passport, ID, and documents. I put these in the pouch as we are unloading the car so they are ready to go for the ticket counter and security.
- *NOTE: If you are traveling with a lap baby you MUST go to the ticket counter to show birth certificate and get a lap seat ticket. They will not let you through security without one.
- *Pro Tip- You will be required to put the stroller through the scanner. As you are handing your ID’s to security have the first parent go ahead and start breaking down the stroller so you can move quickly.
- *Pro Tip- Do yourself a favor and get TSA pre check. It’s a HUGE time saver. You don’t have to remove your shoes and all the extra things. WORTH IT.
- 2.Have a Separate Baby Bag –
- I decided right off that it was best to have a separate Baby Bag, if you will. This will hold all of the things we need for Charlie at the airport, during the flight, and transporting to our location. It also allows easy access if we are in need of a toy or snacks. I purchased this backpack and I’ve found it super easy to travel with.
3. Must Have Flight Items-
You’ll definitely want to have things like food, snacks, and a water cup for the flight. You never know if there will be a delay and you will want those things. Pack extra diapers, wipes, and a ziploc bag in case there are any accidents, spills, (and let’s be honest- blowouts). I always pack an extra footie or outfit in case any of the previous statements occur. Don’t forget entertainment items such as toys, coloring books, or Ipads (NOTE: Keep in mind not all airplanes have wifi that is working so don’t rely just on the Ipad) I always like to bring a small blanket as well to sit on the floor or the seat. If you child has a favorite comfort item, bring it (ie: binki, blanket, stuff animal.)
I also would suggest a water cup and plenty of snacks! If we are on the go, we like to use these pouches for something nutritious and these little snack bars. It’s always an easy option to buy the snack size bags of things like teddy grahams, gold fish, etc.
4. Buy New (inexpensive) Toys for Flight Entertainment–
My friend, Kasey, suggested the process of rotating toys when I was frantically overwhelmed by the amount of toys Charlie received for her birthday. I’ve found this to be a GENIUS idea because Charlie gets so excited when we rotate her toys because it’s like she forgot about them and here they are! All “new” toys to get excited about.
I actually took this logic and combined it with purchasing some inexpensive toys for the flight to keep Charlie entertained. The key to this was to not let her see any of the new toys ahead of time. While we were on the plane, I would give her one toy she hadn’t played with in a while (or a brand new toy) and it entertained her. Once she was bored, I would pull another one out.
I am by no means suggesting go out and buy a whole toy box full of toys. The first time I did this I spent about $15. It was $15 well spent. Search the dollar section at Target for things like stickers, coloring/activity books, and bouncy balls. I bought a Squishy, and Charlie was obsessed with the texture! For another trip, I also found this animal travel mat (which was a splurge for this project) but since I had some of the other items already, I thought it was ok. I keep the “travel” items put away when we are home so the next time we travel they will be like new to her again!
Sometimes a little walk down the aisle makes for good entertainment! People love babies and Charlie is pretty social so that has definitely helped us through longer flights!
Note: ALL of my items listed above fit into my “Baby Bag” Even though it sounds like a lot- it’s all in one bag with easy access.
Here are some great items to travel with!
I get asked about this subject ALL the time. Don’t worry, I completely understand where you are coming from, Mama. I had the worst anxiety going out in public when I first had Charlie because I was so worried about when and where I would nurse her. (I’m hoping to write a blog post on this one day when I get the courage.)
Milk Snob actually sent me a few of these multi-way covers and they changed my life. I would typically find a somewhat secluded area and put the cover on like a shirt where I was able to comfortably feed Charlie.
Some airports actually have nursing stations- BLESS THEM! Do a little research and see if the airports that you are going to have these stations ahead of time. It’s usually on the airport’s website and and fairly easy to find. These certainly come in handy if you have a longer layover or are a pumping mama!
Another option you can look for are places called Minute Suites. You typically want to book these ahead of time and there is a cost to them (unlike the nursing rooms mentioned above). It’s a sure way to get privacy, if that’s what makes you comfortable! We were flying back from Turks and Caicos last year and I wish I had known about these because we were there super early and it was so loud that Charlie wouldn’t focus on eating, which led her to being fussy with no nap. It was a struggle. Unfortunately, the suites were booked- but NOW I KNOW! It’s also a great way to let your little one stretch their legs and run a little bit but in a contained area.
- Pack-N-Play– Most hotels have cribs you can request for your babies. (Be sure to request ahead of time and not during your arrival.) If you follow me on instagram you know the sleep situation struggle has been REAL for us, so we take Charlie’s Pack-N-Play to try to keep things as similar to home as we can. We have this version and it folds up very easy and comes with its own travel back. We check this in with out regular luggage and most airlines let you check it in for free! (Be sure to check with your airline ahead of time though because I don’t want you to have any surprise costs.)
Stroller- A stroller is an absolute must for us. I actually love taking Charlie’s full size stroller to the airport because it helps us carry all our belongings. It’s very easy to take down, which makes going through security a breeze.
We took this travel stroller to our last Disney vacation and I loved it because of how compact in size it was. Getting on and off the monorail or buses was a breeze. EVERYONE was asking us about this stroller. It’s excellent quality and has a small basket underneath for items. You can even gate check strollers as you are boarding the plane. We also use this cover (although it’s not necessary, I’m just a crazy germ lady.)
Car Seat- A lot of car rental places actually have car seats that you can rent with the cars, which I think is a good option. To save you money, you can bring your own and most airlines let you check it in for free. I would suggest getting a car seat cover for it like these, inexpensive ones.
Noise Machine – Very necessary (even for the adults!) Charlie sleeps with one at home so we always take hers. We have this super small and portable Oasis. You never know what a hotel might be like or how thin the walls are. I know if I don’t have some noise, I don’t sleep well.
Baby Monitor (if needed)- A lot of times we don’t take the baby monitor because if we are staying in a hotel room we are always in the room when Charlie is in there sleeping. I didn’t link a baby monitor because I don’t love the one we have… if you have suggestions on one- send them my way!
7. Strategic Travel Times-
Be strategic on when you are traveling. If you know your baby naps at a certain time, you might want to consider that when booking your flight. You don’t want to be hustling through security with an upset baby because they can’t nap yet, or just taking off and your baby finally falls asleep, but it awakened by all the announcements. When Charlie was very young she would just nap easily on the flight after I nursed her.
Tip: I was concerned about baby’s ears not popping so I always just nurse Charlie on take off or landing. You can give a bottle, sippy cup, or a snack to help as well if they are old enough.
8. Give Yourself Plenty of Time-
Make sure you get to the airport with ample time to get through security and get to your gate. It can all be overwhelming as it is, you don’t want to be rushing through it all. It just causes more stress.
9. Pack Your Bags Ahead of Time-
One thing we ALWAYS do is to have our bags completely packed the night before. This helps make #8 above happen. We make sure everything is packed and by the door so it can be loaded in the car first thing in the morning. I even go as far as picking out our airport outfits and having them all set aside.
Below are a few items I like to pack in the check in luggage just in case we need them that I thought would be worth mentioning.
Bottle Cleaning Set (This was so necessary when I was still pumping- it came in handy and probably the best money spent!
Travel Cosmetic Bags for Baby – I like to keep our bags organized so I know where everything is. I bought these bags for Charlie to keep her bath items in and some of her other essentials. I actually keep them packed even when we get home so all I have to do is grab them and make sure everything is full when we are packing for another trip! These are a little pricey- but they are real leather, good quality, and Charlie will be able to use them for YEARS.