Holiday Travel with Your Little One: A Joyful Journey!
- Posted on: Dec 17 2023
The holiday season is a magical time, filled with family gatherings, festive celebrations, and often, a bit of travel. If you’re planning to fly with your little one, fear not! With a bit of preparation and a positive mindset, traveling with a baby can be a delightful adventure. Here are some tips to make your holiday journey smooth, safe, and joyful.
- Pack the necessities and purchase certain items once you reach your destination. Packing for a baby doesn’t have to be an exercise in over-preparation. The essentials— a few comfortable outfits, basic toiletries, a travel sound machine (if you use one at home), and diapers and wipes for the first day or two —are probably enough. Chances are, wherever you’re going, you can buy anything you might have forgotten, as well as additional diapers and wipes so that you don’t have to cram it all into your suitcase. However, don’t forget to bring along a favorite toy or a cherished blanket to provide your baby with a sense of familiarity and comfort.
- Bring a change of clothes for you and baby in your carry-on. Accidents happen. Spit up happens. Make sure you have a change (or two) of clothes for yourself and your baby in your carry-on.
- Pack snacks and/or bottles. Whether you are traveling during meal-time for your baby or not, it is important to pack snacks in case your baby gets hungry. Formula, breast-milk and toddler drinks are considered medically necessary liquids and you can bring them through TSA. Make sure you pack them in clear bottles and let the TSA agent know you are traveling with them.
- Time your travel around your baby’s sleep schedule. Babies tend to behave better when there is a sense of predictability. If you can, time your travel around your baby’s schedule.
- Relieve pressure in your baby’s ears during take off and landing. Remember that babies don’t know how to relieve the pressure in their ears. Feeding your baby during takeoff and landing can help relieve that pressure naturally. You can also give them a pacifier to suck on. If your child is a little older you can use a cup with a straw to drink out of or bring something that they can suck on like a ring pop or lollipop.
- Use a baby carrier in the airport. Keeping your baby close to you in a baby carrier can make navigating through busy airports much more manageable. However, it’s a good idea to allow your baby some time out of the carrier before strapping them in for the flight.
- Gate check your stroller. If you choose to bring your stroller through the terminal, make sure to let the attendant know when you are checking your luggage that you would like to gate check your stroller. They will give you a tag to attach to it or they will ask you to get one from the attendant when you arrive at your gate. Most airlines will allow a single stroller to gate check as long as it can fold in half.
- Determine if pre-boarding is right for your family. Many airlines will let families pre-board before a majority of passengers get on the airplane. If 30 extra minutes to get settled is what your family needs, this is a great time to board the plane and get organized. If you feel that your baby would do better boarding towards the end so he/she has more time to stretch and explore, then you may prefer to wait until your regular boarding group is called.
- Bring the correct form of identification if traveling with a lap child. If you are traveling with a lap child, which is a child under two without a ticket, make sure you check with the airlines to see what is needed. Many times you will need to call ahead when you book your own ticket to let the airline know that you will have a lap child with you. Some airlines will let you notify them at the counter when you check your bags. Most airlines will require the child’s birth certificate as proof that he/she is under two. It is important to note that while the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows children under two to sit on a parents lap, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests getting babies their own seat.
- Plan ahead for your arrival at your destination. When it comes to the accommodations at your destination, make sure to check for baby-friendly amenities like baby gates and a safe sleeping space. It’s also a good idea to know where the nearest healthcare facilities are, just in case.
Travel exposes your baby to new experiences, which can be exciting and stimulating for their development. Maintaining a relaxed attitude is key, as babies can sense stress and a flexible schedule will make the trip more pleasant for everyone. Allow extra time to get to the airport, so you don’t have to worry about missing your flight. This journey is not just about reaching a destination; it’s about creating lasting memories. Capture these moments with plenty of pictures, so you can cherish this special time for years to come.
Traveling with your baby during the holidays can be a wonderfully enriching experience for your family. With some thoughtful planning and a spirit of adventure, you’ll navigate this journey like a pro. Happy holidays and happy travels!
Want to read more about traveling with your baby? Head to Travel and Leisure: https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/family-vacations/how-to-travel-with-a-baby