Sunday, December 22, 2013

Traveling with a baby or toddler this holiday season?

Our Thanksgiving trip to Florida was Kennedy’s 8th round trip flight! Kennedy has traveled to Florida (4x), New York, California, the Caribbean and Europe. We have traveled as a family and I have travelled with Kennedy alone.  So I think it’s time that I write a post offering some baby/toddler flying tips!

1.     If the airline you are traveling on has curbside drop off, then use it!

2.     Wear your baby in a baby carrier of your choice through security. This will leave your hands free to take off your shoes and put your carry-on items on the conveyor belt. When you are in another country the local airport security may ask you to remove your baby, but in the United states TSA will not ask you to remove baby from the carrier.  What TSA will do is swab your hands for explosives. The swabbing of your hands takes about two minutes. You put your hands out and they wipe it with small cloth, then they test the cloth.  

3.     For domestic flights you can bring frozen breast milk, non-frozen breast milk, water or formula on the flight. TSA will test the milk and the water.  TSA will put the milk in a machine or do an air test, where they swipe a little piece of paper over an open bottle. In other countries, they may have you taste the milk or water.

4.     While the plane is taking off or landing try to nurse or bottle feed the baby. This will help protect the baby’s ears from changes in the air pressure. If your baby is not hungry sometimes a pacifier will do the trick. If you have a toddler, then a lollipop may also work.

5.     Pack extra clothes and supplies because you never know if your flight will be delayed.

6.     If your baby is old enough to be entertained with toys, then use toy leashes so the toys do not fall to the floor. If you child is old enough to use a laptop or a tablet device, then make sure it has a childproof cover.

7.     My favorite infant stroller to travel with is the snap and go stroller.  It opens and closes very easily and it’s very light.  The snap and go also has a good-sized storage pouch on the bottom for you to store things.  Also if you have a paid seat or you are lucky enough to get a free seat for your baby, it’s an easy way to carry the car seat on to the flight.

8.     We have never brought Kennedy a seat, so we try to travel during off-peak hours, increasing our chances of getting a free seat for Kennedy. We’ve had the best luck with Southwest Airlines.  Southwest has pre-boarding for families with small children and passengers are allowed to choose their own seats.  No one wants to sit near a baby, so other then our travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, we’ve always gotten a free seat for Kennedy on Southwest.  With other airlines, I’ve asked the gate agent if the flight is full. If the flight is not full, then they will usually find a pair of available seats and assign one of them to me and the other one to Kennedy at no extra charge.  (This may change since airlines keep trying to find ways to charge more fees.)

9.     Using gate-check bags are great way for you to protect your stroller and car seat if you check them at the gate.  However, when I was traveling alone with an inexpensive snap and go stroller I didn’t bother with a gate check bag.

10. Always be polite!!!  

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