If traveling by air, I’ve found these top six tips to be most beneficial.
- WEAR THEM – I’m not talking about your 9-year-old. That would be weird. But if you have a baby or toddler, the best way to travel, throughout an airport is to wear them in a baby carrier. I use the ErgoBaby Organic, pictured above. Wearing them close to your body is calming for them and keeps you hands-free to pull a rolling suitcase, or juggle passports, boarding passes or
other children. One of the best parts about wearing your baby through the airport is that you typically do not have to take them off to go through security. Although, TSA will do some additional testing after you go through the metal detector. It’s also much easier than lugging a stroller around for your entire vacation.
- NURSE/BOTTLE FEED ON TAKE OFF AND LANDING – Once again, this is referring to infants or toddlers. Please don’t nurse your 9-year-old. That would be extremely weird! The sucking motion associated with nursing or bottle feeding is not only soothing for a baby, but it helps regulate the pressure in their ears. Adults can open their jaw to relieve the pressure that can build up as a plane makes an elevation change, but a baby cannot. However, if you nurse or give them a bottle or sip cup during the ascent and decent, your baby won’t even notice the pressure change. Happy baby, happy mommy, happy plane-full of passengers.
- BUY A NEW TOY – This has saved me on at least a couple of flights when my baby was on the edge of a boredom meltdown. Prior to each flight, I buy a new toy. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it must be new to them. I do not show her the toy or let her play with it until we are on the plane. That way she always has a new, exciting object to occupy her time for the duration of the flight, and we can breath a sigh of relief (along with all the passengers sitting directly adjacent to us.)
- PACK FOR A CRISIS – Hungry? I’ve got snacks. Bored? I’ve got toys, games and downloaded children’s shows on a fully charged iPad. A diaper blowout clear up to the neck? No problem, I have, not one, but two complete changes or clothes (plus disinfectant wipes and a wet bag to store the dirty clothes). Can’t function without their beloved lovey or stuffed animal? Mom to the rescue. Let me just reach into my carry-on. My carry-on bag is essentially an arsenal kit of attack. The moment I sense a crisis on the verge of occurring, I break out the kit. But this crisis kit is absolutely essential for traveling by air or car with children. Every. Parent. Must. Have. One.
- BOOK FLIGHTS AROUND A CHILD’S SLEEP SCHEDULE – Your fellow passengers will thank you. If your child takes an afternoon nap, and you’re planning a short domestic trip, I’d recommend searching for flights around that time frame. If you are in luck, your child will fall asleep once you are wheels up, and you can enjoy a mid-flight cocktail.
- UPGRADE TO THE BULKHEAD – Who would have thought a few extra inches would make such a big difference? Having the bulkhead allows your child room to stand, stretch, or even sit on the floor in front of you and play. (You may want to do a quick check under the seat and around the area for anything a baby or toddler might try to grab or put in her mouth.)