More than 75% of traveling families recently surveyed said simply getting through the airport, enduring a potentially grueling flight with young children, and not having the right gear at their vacation accommodations are the most stressful challenges of family travel.
Every day at BabyQuip we think about how to solve these challenges and lighten the load for traveling families. Here are a few tips for easier travel with babies and toddlers.
When Booking Your Flight
Timing – Consider a time of day that works for your baby. Is she grouchy in the afternoon but bubbly most mornings? Book a morning flight.
Sit up front – It’s a quieter ride and gets you in and out a lot faster.
Grab a window – The window area keeps your baby’s head away from the aisle, which can actually be dangerous. A window seat provides more privacy for nursing, and even offers a fun distraction for little ones who many enjoy playing with the shade.
Consider booking a seat for your children under age 2 – Even though they can fly free as a lap baby, it’s often worth the extra cost to have more space and freedom to stretch out and relax. The FAA also says babies in car seats approved for flights are safer than lap babies during unexpected turbulence.
Dress kids comfortably AND adorably – Your fellow passengers will forgive super cute children for noisiness or other minor misbehaving.
Avoid TSA Meltdowns
Explain the process to kids old enough to understand – Make it casual and positive. “They keep us safe. We put our belongings down and they go through a machine that takes a picture of them.”
You can bring formula, breast milk and juice in greater than 3.4 ounce bottles through screening – Inform the TSA officer you are carrying them and be ready to remove them from your carry-on bag for separate screening. Ice packs are OK too.
Ask to be put in a special line for families – This often moves you to the front of the line.
Encourage toddlers to walk through on their own – If you are holding a toddler when you go through screening and the alarm beeps, you are both subject to additional search.
Smart Carry-On List
Must haves – Diapers, wipes, plastic bags, a change of clothing for everyone (parents too).
Ear gear – Pacifiers for those who use them, or gum for older kids to help equalize pressure. Noise cancelling headphones may be helpful for some children.
Happy neighbor gear – Bring ear plugs to pass out to those sitting close to you. Candy or chocolate is helpful too. These are easy ways to keep the peace when your baby is cranky and extra loud about it.
Bring a tray table cover – Tray tables can be breeding grounds for all sorts of germs you don’t want your little ones exposed to. No one wants a sick baby on vacation. Bring disinfectant wipes or a tray table cover.
Extra baby food, snacks, drinks and formula – Always pack for a major delay.
Books and toys – Bring new toys, or toys from the bottom of the toy box so they seem new. Put them in a special package your child can open or unwrap. Nothing noisy though. Favorite books can be comforting on long flights.
Get Some Sleep
Use a full-size wooden crib – When babies sleep well, everyone is more relaxed. Do your best to replicate your little one’s sleep environment at home. Generally, this means renting a full-size wooden crib.
Bring the sheet your baby last slept on at home – Don’t wash it either, so that even if your baby is in a new environment, their sheet smells and feels like home.
Address jet lag – If you’ll be changing time zones, consider nudging your baby’s sleep schedule closer to your destination’s time zone the week prior to your trip.
Stick to your routine – If bedtime at home is always preceded by a bath and a story, maintain this ritual when on the road. Familiar routines are calming.
While family travel can have its stressful moments, the payoff for these adventures is lifelong memories. Traveling smarter and lighter, sleeping better on the road, and starting off your vacation with an easier airport experience opens you up to magical moments with your family.
Want to ensure a home-like experience during your upcoming family vacation?
BabyQuip delivers exceptionally clean cribs, car seats, strollers, books, toys and a lot more to your hotel or vacation rental.
This post is a guest post from our friends at Babyquip the family travel experts. Here they’re sharing tips for getting to your destination stress-free, especially if you’ll be navigating busy airports and long flights with your little ones. Traveling this holiday season? Save the stress and skip hauling all your gear and baby stuff – just rent from BabyQuip. Looking for a side gig? Make extra income from home by signing up to be a trusted partner with BabyQuip.