Top tips to make flying with your little ones a sky-high experience.Traveling with infants and traveling with kids young enough to be in car seats can mean headaches for traveling moms. These 14 tips can make family vacations easier.
1. Many airports these days have separate security lines for families traveling with kids and for frequent flyers. Choose the family line so you can take your time and not stress about impatient people behind you. I've even seen moms helping one another get through the line.
2. You'll need to run everything, including the car seat, stroller, diaper bag and baby's shoes through the X-ray machine then carry the baby through the metal detector.
3. Leave the base for the infant car seat at home. You don't need it-- just put the seat belt over the top on the slots. (This works for cars as well as airplanes.)
4. Bring a stroller and car seat to the gate even if you didn't buy a seat for the baby. When you get to the gate, stop at the counter and ask whether there are any open seats available on the plane. If there are, the gate attendant may move you to a row that has an empty (and free) seat.
5. If the plane is full, you can gate check the car seat and stroller. You will save the checked baggage fee and your stroller and car seat will be available when the plane arrives. Gate check works like this: Ask the gate attendant for a tag for your belongings. Then, when you get to the door of the plane, fold the stroller and leave it there. And airline employee will stow it under the plane. At your arrival, another airline employee will retrieve it and deliver it to you in the walkway so you have it to wheel the baby through the airport. Before leaving a stroller or car seat, take off anything that could get lost, such as toys and cupholders.
6. Ask the gate attendant whether the airline offers "preboarding" to families traveling with kids. Even if it doesn't, ask if you can board early anyway. The worst they can do is say no.
7. Give your baby something to suckle during takeoff and landing to help with the pressure in her ears. I was on a plane once with a screaming baby. Someone several rows away yelled, "Give that baby a bottle." The distraught mom answered, "She won't take a bottle." "Then give her a boob. That baby's in pain," yelled another helpful passenger.
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8. Every plane has a changing table in one of the tiny lavatories onboard. Ask the flight attendant where it is. If you are alone in the row of seats, or have someone there to help, try to change the baby in the seats because it's a pain to schlep everything into those tiny bathrooms.
9. Pack a couple of big Ziploc bags (gallon size or so) with one diaper and a few wipes inside. Use another Ziploc for the reusable items-changing pad, creams, powder. That way, you won't have to carry a huge diaper bag each time your baby needs a change. Use the Ziploc that held the diaper to lock in the odors from the diaper you just changed-this is especially important if you're changing the baby in the seats and don't want to incur the wrath of your neighbors. Be sure to bring mores diapers than you think you'll need.
10. Bring a change of clothes for you as well as the baby. Many accidents get mom, too.
11. Formula is no problem to carry on. If you need bottled water for formula, buy it in the airport after you pass through security. You can't count on a thing once you get on the plane.
12. If you are flying alone, ask a flight attendant to hold your baby while you go to bathroom.
13. Security doesn't usually hassle passengers about milk, juice or snacks, when they are traveling with a baby. A trick to getting water through security is to put it into a sippy cup. Anything in a sippy cup tends to pass muster with TSA.
14. Consider apologizing in advance if you fear you will have a fussy baby. It catches them off guard and then what are they going to do? Give you a hard time? You already apologized!
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