When you're first blessed with a baby, there's a good chance that you're going to be inundated with requests from those nearest and dearest to you who want the opportunity to meet the newest addition to your family. This can often mean undertaking large, potentially international trips with your child.
It should come as no surprise to you to learn that traveling with a baby can be a testing experience at times. However, it doesn’t have to be anywhere near as stressful as you are perhaps expecting it to be.
Here are 4 tips we suggest you use that will make traveling with your child a little less stressful - for you, and your baby.
1. Let The Airline Know You're Travelling With A Baby
Airlines are well equipped to help parents with young children. Almost every commercial aircraft today will have a bassinet that can be attached to one of the bulkheads in the plane. They can't usually be used during takeoff and landing, but once the seat belt signs have been turned off, a steward or stewardess will set it up for you.
It's unlikely that you're going to be able to reserve bassinets in advance. Most airlines will assign them to parents on a first come first served basis - so it's a good idea to get to the airport a little earlier than you normally would to ensure that you and your baby have a more comfortable journey.
Note:It’s still worth calling the airline to check if bassinet reservations are possible. While you’re on the phone, it’s also a good idea to ask them which seats you should reserve to be next to a bulkhead that a bassinet can be attached to.
2. Travel As Light As Possible
Carrying your child around with you while traveling is going to be reasonably tiring. You can make things easier on yourself by traveling as light as possible. You obviously want to ensure you've got all the essentials covered, but don't go overboard.
Nappies are one of the biggest offenders here, for some reason parents like to overstuff their luggage with far more nappies than are required for the trip. Take as many as you'd use normally for the amount of time you're traveling (with perhaps one extra for emergencies) and buy the rest at your destination.
3. Ensure You're Prepared For Unexpected Delays
While we've just said that packing as light as possible is generally recommended when traveling with a baby, you should also take the possibility of unexpected delays into account.
We're mainly thinking about food for your child here. If you're not breastfeeding, unexpected delays can become even more stressful situations while you go on the hunt for suitable food. Again, don't go overboard, but have enough extra for at least a few hours more than your estimated journey time.
Tip: Remember that in most airports, standard liquid container size restrictions do not apply to baby food and you can take much more on board than normal - check the limits before you travel.
4. Be Aware Of The Additional Assistance That Is On Offer
You’re never alone when you’re traveling with your child, there’s a wide range of little “perks” that parents can receive to make the journey a little less testing.
For example, parents traveling with young children will often be asked if they wish to board the plane first, which provides you and your little one time to get settled without the stress of holding up other passengers (and it guarantees you space for your luggage in the overhead compartments too).
Similarly, there are often separate lines for people traveling with young children when going through security, some airports even have playpens you can put toddlers in while you go through the motions.
Tip:If there's no dedicated line for parents, then trying to catch the eye of an airport employee can be a good idea - they may ask you if you want to move you to the front.