Any type of trip with kids, especially babies, requires a lot of planning. Going overseas or just a couple of hours away from home can turn into a nightmare.
This post helps you to plan ahead for a airplane trip with little ones. My experience is traveling with my toddler and infant. What makes me an “expert?” Five round trip flights (NYC-Sao Paulo-twice, NYC-Dublin, NYC-Chicago, NYC-New Orleans, and three one way flights inside Europe). These tips can help mommies with kids of all ages.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, BOOKING YOUR FLIGHTS
It sounds like an easy task, but it can turn into a bad experience on the day of the trip. Ideally, you want to keep your kids on their daily schedule. Therefore, booking flights in advance is very important. Here is why:
Nap or Sleep Time
You can time your baby’s nap or sleep time with the time you will be taking off. It’s always better to have your baby sleeping on the plane.
When going overseas check the difference of time zones. If it’s only a couple of hours, you should definitely try to push your baby to get on the destination time right away.
Choose your seats even if you need to pay a little extra for them.
Some passengers prefer to walk around on a flight, while others prefer to stretch their legs as soon as the lights are off. Choosing your seats in advance will allow you to be prepared for either type of passenger along with your own situations like diaper changes and excessive crying. What does this all mean?? Choose an aisle seat, so you can get up as many times as you need or want. You are also being a much more considerate air traveler and you probably won’t get a Thank You, but you know you did the right thing. Remember that if you and your partner are traveling with two lap infants, you WILL NOT sit together. That is because of the number of oxygen masks available per row. Therefore, booking in advance, allows you to choose to sit near whoever is traveling with you. Choose two aisle seats across from each other if you can.
Check your baggage allowance and purchase a checked bag if you aren’t allowed to one.
I say this because depending on where you go and for how long you won’t be able to travel with only a carry-on plus personal item. I have done that a few times, but it was during the summer, which means less articles of clothing and it was for a short-period of time (one week) from NYC to Chicago. Most airlines allow you to have one personal item per child, when you have lap infant under two. So, besides your carry-on and personal item you can have a diaper bag with everything you will need for your baby. In future posts, I will explain how to organize your diaper bag for this situation. If you like challenges, like we do, traveling with personal items ONLY is also possible. We usually get amazing fares going from NYC to Chicago to visit family, which allow us to take only personal items.
If you have a newborn or your baby is under 1 year old you can try to get a bassinet, especially for long flights (4+ hrs). Some airlines offer this item, but there aren’t that many on the plane. So, make sure to reserve this service right away. BONUS: By booking a bassinet (NO CHARGE), you are seated in the front of economy class in a row with extra leg room. On the day of the trip, have a blanket or something soft to put inside of the bassinet, because they aren’t very comfy and your baby might feel cold.
I hope these tips will help you to plan ahead and have a lot of fun travelling with little ones!
Next post: It’s packing time! Essentials that cannot be left out of your bags.