Top Travel Tips

airplane.jpgThe busiest travel holiday of the year is fast approaching, and today Mary and Kate share useful tips on flying with kids and babies (also provided is a useful archive link from me). Feel free to comment in if you have additional ideas to share!

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From Mary:

“I recently flew solo, outnumbered by a preschooler and toddler two to one. Despite periodically being plagued by visions of trips to Costco gone bad while I planned the trip, it actually turned out that the following strategies did wonders to make my airline travel not only bearable, but almost easy:

Utilize the arrival end of the trip to its utmost. I coordinated for my parents to bring their extra car seat to the airport, thus eliminating the need for me to carry both a Britax Marathon and Britax Roundabout through Logan Airport. If you’re not able to utilize existing baby accoutrements at your destination, web sites such as rent items such as pack-n-plays, car seats, and strollers and are fairly affordable options to bringing everything with you.

Travel on off-peak days. I had the luxury of being able to travel on one of the slowest (read: cheapest) days of the week: Wednesday. Not only did traveling off-peak ease the cost, but we also were able to avoid long lines and crowded waiting spaces.

Ask if there are open seats for your “infant in arms.” I firmly believe in the saying that “it can’t hurt to ask.” I never buy an extra seat for my infant and always ask if there are open seats that I can use for my infant in arms. This strategy doesn’t always work out, but during my recent trip, the JetBlue ticket agents went out of their way to help me.

Portable entertainment. Be it toys, food, video games, or DVD players, I recommend bringing some kind of bag of tricks to entertain the kids, because in my experience, a 15-month-old and a 3-year-old get bored in the time it takes the flight attendant to demo the oxygen mask.”

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Following a trip to Europe with her then newborn, Kate provided these travel tips:

Book a built-in bassinet. If the baby is small enough and the flight long enough, the airline will likely offer a built-in bassinet; book your tickets early to try to get one.

Gate check your stroller. Use the 'gate check' feature for your stroller, and make sure that the airline knows that you want to pick it up right when you get off the plane, not at baggage claim. Also, consider a stroller bag to keep your stroller from getting banged up (although the con is that they’re a bit big and awkward).

Strategize security. Develop a system for going through security, as there is so much to handle.

Diaper before takeoff. Do a diaper change before you board the plane, as airplane bathrooms are really small.

Feeding tips. Bring a back-up bottle, in case the baby is too distracted to nurse; otherwise, try to nurse during take-off and landing to avoid ear problems for the baby.

Get your docs in order. If you're traveling overseas, be sure to order a passport for your baby early, as they sometimes can take 6 weeks or more to be processed.

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And finally, for additional tips on air travel, check out my post from earlier this year on Travel Lifesavers.

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