Traveling with babies and toddlers during the holidays is a different beast than other vacations you may take throughout the year. In addition to the regular joys of airline travel with small people, you can add in higher prices, crowds, and family stress. Woohoo! Alright, just kidding, that part of it all can be a little rough but we’re here to help you through it because the magical memories you will make together are definitely worth it.
Top Tips for Holiday Travel with a Baby
Between all of us here at Rookie Moms, we have done our fair share of holiday traveling with little ones. Below you will find our top tips!
1. Pack Smart
When you’re flying with a little one, it’s important to pack smart. You will need to be free to wrangle your baby through the airport so you will only want to keep it light and bring only the essentials along. Here are some of my essentials:
- At least one extra set of clothes for any child under 4
- An extra shirt and light weight hoodie for mom (if there is ever a travel disaster involving vomit, you will be thankful)
- A Few Small Toys
- Entertainment (iPad, tablet, etc.)
- Binkies or a Bottle (to help provide relief for your little one if their ears start popping)
- A Gift for the Flight Attendants (it never hurts to be extra nice to the people in charge of upgrades and freebies!)
2. Ditch the Car Seats (or at least check them!)
Sometimes the right product can make a HUGE difference. Stop lugging car seats on airplanes, buy a padded car seat bag instead and check your little one’s car seat at the beginning of your trip.
If you are worried about their safety in the airplane seat, this FDA-approved strappy plane-safe harness is worth checking out.
ROOKIE MOM HACK! Shove jackets and other soft items into the car seat bag and you get a FREE checked bag. We still do this even with a small profile booster. Shh.
3. Bring Along Entertainment
Throw out your typical screentime limits. If your child is content sitting watching Blippi for an hour, I say let them be. It is for both of your own sanity. You can go back to your usual screentime limits once the travel day is over.
Make sure to pre-download shows or movies so that you can access them while in flight.
4. Take the Red-Eye When Possible When Traveling 4+ Hours
This can seem like a scary risk, but I really think it is the best choice when traveling with babies and toddlers. If you take the red-eye, they will likely be ready for sleep. Plus, the plane will be kept quiet and dark. Traveling with a sleeping child is better than having to entertain them for hours on end, at least in my book.
5. The Airplane Bathroom is a Secret Getaway
Okay, maybe it’s not a secret but if your little one is getting antsy on a long flight getting them up to walk around and visit the bathroom is a great way to break up the trip and waste some time.
What About Traveling Solo?
If you are looking for what to carry on, pack, and do when you’re flying alone with a baby, check out this article by our friend Beth, who flew solo with bambino from Chicago to Sydney, Australia. And back again.
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