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Need to Know Before You Go: Tips for Traveling with Kids

Are you one of the lucky ones with a mid-Winter break? Or perhaps you are just fantasizing about Spring Break already and heading to some place a bit warmer? Before you head off for your big adventure with kids in tow, check out these handy tips to get you there smoothly! Also, be sure to check out our three day event starting today with everything you’ll need for the trip.

  • Arrive early to board first. Many airlines allow people traveling with strollers or small children to board first. For example, JetBlue Airways lets travelers with children under age 2 on board first,  while Virgin America, Delta Air Lines and US Airways allow anyone with small children have first place. Check your airline’s website ahead of time to see what their practices are.
  • Research the airline you are flying beforehand to see if your stroller will count as an additional bag. Many of them have you check it at the gate right as you board.
  • Check car seats at the gate rather than with luggage to ensure it arrives in still-working.
  • Put essentials in a small enough carry-on that it won’t ever need to be checked at a gate. We’ve heard horror tales of parents who stashed all their essentials in a carry-on bag only to have it checked to the final destination upon boarding. The same trip found them stranded overnight at a mid-stop airport without even a diaper bag! Be prepared, stay prepared.
  • Pack all liquids and gels, like formula and diaper cream, in a clear, zippered bag. Tuck it into an outside pouch of your carry-on bag so you can plop it easily in the bin next to your purse and shoes when going through security.
  • Pack yummy snacks in compressible containers so you can flatten them neatly once your hungry vacationer has gobbled her way through all three bowls of cereal. 
  • Pack a few new books or toys and pace introducing them to keep your tot engaged.
  • Take along a few $5 gift cards for a coffee shop to hand out to nearby passengers if fussing.

What are some of your best-kept travel tips for flying with little ones?

the newbie: Tips for Traveling Overseas with a Baby

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com

We’re back from a 10-day trip overseas with June! It was intense, but awesome. Here are a few tricks I tested (I’ll leave out the ones that didn’t quite work!):

  1. Flight attendants are your friends. Find the nicest one and share a “What can you do?” smile when the baby cries, because she will! Our lovely attendant (the same one on both flights!) brought us airline-themed toys and games to distract June, and they worked, for at least half an hour.

  2. Let go of the first day. When you change time zones, babies get all kinds of kooky. We let June sleep at will on that first day, then got her back on wake-up and nap schedules on day two. By day three, we were all set!

  3. Be sensitive to her perceptions of this “new place.” We noticed that June was having fun, but there were times when she looked a little freaked out or worried while meeting someone new—she met LOTS of new people on this trip. Her dad and I made a point to spend at least half an hour each day where it was just the three of us hanging out as a family, to help her feel more secure.

  4. Bring familiar items. We brought her pacifier, sheets from her pack-n-play (they smell like her detergent), her white noise machine and her favorite sleep sack. Bedtime felt like home, and that made everyone happy!

We had a really fun trip, and hope for more (though I may go for a shorter flight next time).

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