Traveling is a big part of me and my husband’s life since we have been together. When we were expecting our first child, we wanted to bring her along on the adventure. We didn’t know exactly how that was going to go. I read blogs, watched YouTube travel tips, called the airline for advice & we still made mistakes. We have successfully flown 5 out of 6 flights with our little babe (1 flight was a disaster). We are definitely not experts, but we have learned a few things along the way.
- Book direct. If you can, book a direct flight to your destination. You don’t want to wake your baby up if he/she just fell asleep to make a connecting flight. Our flight to Las Vegas didn’t have a direct flight so we were forced to have a layover. When choosing a layover, make sure you have enough time to get to change a diaper before boarding your next flight. We usually choose an hour layover. You don’t want it to be too long, either.
- Book during nap time. We book our flights in the mornings. She is the best in the morning. We change her, feed her then she naps. On our flight back from Las Vegas, she slept the entire flight and woke up when we landed. It was awesome. We made a mistake when we flew back from Orlando in choosing a direct flight over a morning flight. We flew in the evening, and she absolutely hated it. We were all miserable. She cried the entire 2 1/2 hour flight. With all the stares from the people around us and even some from the flight attendants, it felt like an eternity. A sweet old man sat next to us and he kept telling us, “It’s okay, we’ve all been there.” And they have… we all have.
- Bring a copy of their birth certificate. We usually fly Southwest and they require a copy of our baby’s birth certificate to validate she is under 2. You can check them in either by calling when you book online or at the all service desk.
- Get to the airport early. We get to the airport at least 2 hours before our flight. Traveling with a baby means you have more luggage, require increase inspection in the security line and need some time before boarding to change a potential dirty diaper. Also, we give enough time to let our baby walk around near our gate to let a little energy out before having to buckle down in our laps.
- Security Line. I carry our baby in our Ergo. It makes it easier for me take my shoes off & fold the stroller (depending on the size of your stroller, you either have to run it through the x-ray or if it’s too big they will have to manually search it). Security will also test your hands for any explosives, which is super easy & fast. You’re allowed to bring formula, pumped breast milk or water for powder formula. They will test them to make sure it is what it is suppose to be and there is nothing else on them. Instead of having them open a bottle of formula, which is wasted if not drank within the hour, you or your significant other can elect to be manually searched. Hubs is always the one that gets searched. This may take a bit of time depending on how many people they are searching ahead of you.
- Family boarding. When we get to our gate, we always ask if there are any empty seats on our flight. We got lucky on our flight to Las Vegas. We had the whole row to ourselves and our daughter was able to look out the window, but also, we had easy access to go to the bathroom or just stand to rock her, if needed. Like I said, we usually fly Southwest which does not have assigned seating. They do have family boarding after all “A” seating has been called.
- Bring lots of snacks! I am all about giving them snacks on the plane to keep them quiet. Also, flying can cause dehydration & cause a fussy baby so don’t be stingy with giving milk early or giving water.
- Bring toys. I wouldn’t go crazy bringing a lot of toys, but bring a favorite toy or book. Also, bring a new toy and don’t show him/her until the flight. If all else fails, always bring an iPad. Our little babe is still too young for the iPad, but we brought one just in case (we didn’t end up even using it).
- Window or Aisle? If you’re unable to get the whole row, which seat is best? I tested both out and definitely have a favorite. The pros with the window seat is that the baby can look at the window and be distracted by lifting the shade up and down. But the cons outweigh it. The pros with the aisle definitely top the window seat. It’s easy to go to the bathroom if needed or walk around if she’s fussy. Also, we usually sit towards the back of the plane (not the very back because the seats do not recline). There are people going to the bathroom to distract him/her, engine noise and I feel like the people that sit there know what they are getting into!
- What to pack in your carry-on. I pack more than enough diapers just in case of flight delays and use overnight diapers for increase absorption. Also, extra onesie because you never know if there is going to be a leak or blow-out, you don’t want to be stuck with a naked baby or stinking like poop for the entire flight. On that note, pack yourself an extra shirt, too, because you don’t want to stink like poop, either! 🙂 It’s also okay to bring medication for your baby through security, and I highly recommend always being prepared. You never know when they will be allergic to something or end up getting sick. Other very important things: wipes (I wiped down everything she can possibly touch!), travel changing pad (very small table to change in the Southwest bathrooms- new planes have changing table in all bathrooms, old ones only have them in the front bathroom), milk, toys, snacks for baby and you, ziplock bags to place wet or dirty clothes, paci to help with air pressure ascending & descending (feeding baby also helps). We put all these items in a booksack instead of our diaper bag because it has more space.
- What to dress baby in. How to dress your baby for a flight depends on their age. Eloise’s 1st flight was when she was just 11 weeks old. I dressed her in a footed onesie so I wouldn’t have to worry if her socks fell off & risk her feet getting cold. Now, that she is almost a year old, I dress her in pants, socks, shoes, sweater & a zipped jacket that can be taken off if she gets too hot.
A bonus tip is to pack light. I’m still trying to work on this. In our most recent trip, I cut back to one large luggage for all 3 of us using travel organizers, but we had extra clothes so I think I could’ve cut back to a medium size luggage. We stayed at my sister’s house so we were able to wash clothes & I could’ve cut back if I thought about that. So, if you are able to stay at a HomeAway or Airbandb that has a washer & dryer, plan on washing clothes to save space. Also, pack mix & match outfits to be more versatile. I’m still working on this! LOL.
We are going on our little babe’s 1st international trip in June, if y’all have any advice/tips please comment below. Also, if I missed a good tip, comment below!