10 Tips for Traveling With a Toddler

By: Brady Evans

Benjamin and I just completed our fourth flight – most of which I did with him solo. After doing this for awhile, I’ve come up with 10 tips to help moms deal with airports and such.

The beach at Grandma's!

The beach at Grandma’s!

10. You’ll never see these people again. Don’t stress out!

9. Remember that most of these people were babies themselves and had babies themselves. If your child is cranky give them a meek smile and make no excuses for yourself. Far more people understand your plight than you think.

8. Bring a change of clothes for the baby – and for you! I haven’t needed to use either, but with traveling comes a lot of close contact and a mess for the baby can easily turn into a mess for the both of you.

Benjamin playing in a somewhat empty airport gate area.

Benjamin playing in a somewhat empty airport gate area.

7. If you cloth diaper like I do – give it up and take disposables. Some things just aren’t worth it.

6. Dump out your child’s water cup before going through security. Doh! It is just water and I could have easily refilled it on the other side of security but having this cup means extra levels of screening with my baby and a carry-on.

5. Less is more. Don’t bother bringing reading material or your iPad. Baby isn’t going to be idle enough to let you read and won’t give a darn about your iPad. Ask me how I know.

4. Layovers are helpful. Direct flights are tempting but dealing with a squirmy baby with no breaks on a long flight is TOUGH. I chose flights with short-ish layovers to give myself a chance to change the diaper in the airport, stretch my legs, and give baby a change of scenery.

Pretzels!

Pretzels!

3. Snacks. Never underestimate the power of a pretzel even if you think the baby can’t possibly be hungry.

2. Standards. Lose them. Baby can have white flour for once. A Starbucks sugar-loaded frappucino isn’t so bad if it gives mom a pick-me-up.

Benjamin praying for an uneventful flight.

Benjamin praying for an uneventful flight.

1. Have fun!  Enjoy your getaway, laugh at your goofy kid, and let go.

Bonus tip: It doesn’t seem like a tip to me since it is such a big part of our life, but lose the stroller and wear your baby. You won’t have to take your baby off during security checks, you’ll have your hands free, and baby will be happy!

Traveling With An Infant

By: Brady Evans  

Flying with a babyBenjamin (3.5 months) and I just returned from our first solo trip traveling cross-country by air. Although it is intimidating to think about carrying luggage, parking in long term parking, and going through security solo, we did it!  Here are some tips from our trip.

  1. Plan flights during normal nap times.  I choose a morning flight that coincided with his morning nap for our flight out west.  On our trip back east we took the red-eye and he slept the entire way.  Not a single person could complain about the infant on the plane because no one knew he was there!  Benjamin was also able to sleep during layovers (albeit in unconventional positions).  I preferred the cross-country journey in two flights versus one because it was well worth it to be able to change diapers during layovers rather than in the cramped airplane bathroom.
  1. Nurse or bottle-feed baby on take off and landing.  This forces baby to swallow which helps clear their ears.  No discomfort due to pressure changes!
  1. If possible, have a car seat shipped to your destination. This way, the car seat was installed prior to our arrival and I didn’t have to deal with checking it.  I did, however, check it on our return flight home. Car seats do not count as “checked luggage” and travel without a fee!  I purchased a $38 convertible car seat (Cosco Scenara) from Wal-Mart and had it shipped to our destination (friends we were visiting).  I highly recommend this car seat as a dedicated travel car seat.  It is cheap, so if it gets damaged in transit you aren’t out too much of a loss.  It works from 5 pounds to 35 pounds, rear facing and forward facing so it will last a long time.  Remember, all car seats must comply with government safety standards, so it is just as safe as the $300 car seat sitting in my car in my driveway!  Also, your baby’s diaper bag does not count against your “1 personal item” carry on rule.
  1. Ship diapers to your destination.  We use cloth diapers at home but I wasn’t going to burden my friends with washing diapers while we were visiting.  So along with the car seat, I shipped a package of diapers.  This was a great idea, but not without complications. We had never used the brand I decided to ship and baby Ben had a slight reaction to the scent or dye.  Be sure you do a test drive with your diaper of choice if possible.
  1. Wear your baby!  I already wrote about how helpful I find baby wearing, and it was essential for the airport when it came down to eating, standing in lines, and keeping the baby happy.  I was able to wear Benjamin through security and in Atlanta they put me through an expedited security line because I had the baby.  That was great!  While traveling solo I found it convenient to be able to wear Benjamin on my back when I was pulling luggage off the baggage carousel, so I traveled with my buckle carrier and a woven wrap in my carry on.  I saw moms pushing strollers throughout the airport and it seemed bulky and cumbersome (pushing the stroller and dragging a wheeled carry on).  Plus, you’ll have to gate check your stroller and I imagine some of them get damaged in transit.

We had a great trip and flying with a non-mobile infant was totally easy.  Good luck on your travels should you choose to travel with your baby as well.