Recently a friend of mine asked me if I had any advice for traveling with babies. Not having any children of my own I had to really sit down and think about it, but I think I’ve seen enough traveling parents doing it all wrong to give you a few insider tips.
Check your suitcase.
We’ve all seen those parents trying to lug six bags, a baby, and a car seat down the aisle, hitting everyone in the shoulders along the way. To avoid looking like the lady in Labyrinth who carries everything she possesses on her back first thing to do is check your larger bags of clothes and things you won’t need. That gives you a few less things to lug around. Also, you won’t get stopped during boarding for having too many items.
Pack light and give your kids some credit.
Bring only what you absolutely need onto the plane. If you have kids old enough to wear a backpack put a few entertainment items in there and help them pack. When I was a kid my parents would make me carry my own bags. All of them. I learned really quickly what I needed and what I didn’t. I have them to thank for my being a pro-packer.
If you have a fussy baby get up and walk around the aisles (if the seatbelt sign is off). Your fellow passengers would rather have you moving around than listen to a screaming child. Just don’t stand in the galleys. The reason for this is, one, should an emergency occur there aren’t enough oxygen masks for you and your baby. There is, however, one additional oxygen mask at every row of seats. Two, there are many moving parts and sharp corners in galleys and should something not be stowed properly, you or your child could be injured.
Most airlines call for passengers with small children to board early. Take advantage of this! It will give you a few additional minutes before the aisles get crowded to get your family together and everyone strapped safely into their seats.
Bring your own supplies
Most airlines don’t carry diapers or wet-wipes. Bring what you need and you won’t have to stress. Likewise, if you or a member of your family has a special dietary restriction or medical condition do not forget to bring their special snacks and medication. Selections on the plane and airport or not usually “special diet friendly” and you never know when a passenger is going to bust out a bag of peanuts or other allergens.
Please use the facilities
Don’t forget to take your kids to the restroom before you board. Either you’re going to get stuck by the lavatories while everyone boards or everyone will hate you when you get up to take your kid to the restroom on taxi and they have to stop the aircraft and delay take off. Also, most aircrafts have changing tables that drop down in the lavatories. Everyone will thank you for not changing your baby on the seat or tray table, which is unlikely to get cleaned before the next flight. Ew.