The busiest travel days are the day before Thanksgiving, Fridays in summer and Christmas through January 1. If you’ll be traveling with a baby this holiday season, here are some suggestions for making it through the busy car, airport and airline routine.
1. Choose Schedule Rather Than Price
Normally we tend to choose our flights according to the lowest price. But traveling with children is more difficult, especially with babies who have a more regimented sleep, feeding and bathing schedule. Look for flights that are shorter and coincide with the times your baby prefers to be on the move.
2. Give Yourself Time
Normally you try to arrive at the airport 1 ½ to 2 hours ahead of time. Add thirty minutes to whatever the airline recommends. You never know if you’ll be in an expedited security line, or whether they will stop and search your diaper bag. Also remember that your baby may need his or her diaper changed, which also adds time. Be on the safe side by getting there early.
3. Be Prepared With Milk
Parents can bring a small amount of liquid formula and breastmilk through security checkpoints. Check the TSA guidelines to be sure your milk conforms to the amounts. Remember that all other liquids such as water must to adhere to the “3-1-1” guidelines. Unfortunately the TSA will probably test the milk. Just be patient, they should have you through the line quickly.
4. Stroller and Car Seat
Most retailers sell stroller and car seat combos that make travel a little easier. Airports also have strollers and seats available. Consider what makes sense for you considering your needs when you arrive at your destination. Will you be at a resort with no plans to drive, or are you going to rent a car?
5. Change the Diaper
A few minutes before boarding, change the baby’s diaper. Starting off fresh will at least help you feel confident and baby feel comfortable when the flight begins. It is always frustrating to need a diaper change during the flight’s ascent, when you are not permitted to leave your seat. Changing the diaper ahead of time at least cuts down on the possibility of an immediate change.
6. Feed During Takeoff and Landing
The cabin pressure changes during takeoff and landing can cause discomfort. That’s why it’s a good time to nurse or feed the baby. The act of feeding tends to soothe the child and may even put them to sleep.
7. Check Your Bags
This is another area where convenience should trump price. Pay the additional money to check your luggage. It is usually just $25.00. Since your carry ons are devoted to baby gear and you’ll also be stowing a stroller, make life easier by checking the rest of your luggage.
8. Sanitizing Wipes
Always have two packs of sanitizing wipes in your purse, diaper bag or carry on. Airplanes are not exactly cleaned thoroughly between flights, so it helps to wipe down surfaces. It’s also helpful to have wipes on hand after changing and feeding the baby.
By following these simple tips, you’ll be travel ready for the entire holiday season.