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As I’m traveling tomorrow to Europe I thought I’d continue my travel series on tips for flying with a newborn/toddler. The following are tips that I personally do to prep for out of town, week or more, long flights with my 21-month-old son and husband. Take with you what you will, but as I’ve streamlined this over the past year I think it is a good list to start with and modify as you deem fit. So many moms shy away from taking newborns and toddlers on planes, trains, and cruises at a young age that I wanted to help make it easier to determine just what to take. Really, it isn’t so scary.

Here are some tips for a week or longer getaways with an infant or toddler on a plane, train, or cruise:

This first part is somewhat repetitive from the tips for last minute trips but, all the same, it’s necessary for long trips.

  • Pack for yourself first. Take the time to think about what you need. Is it going to be hot or cold, do I need a bathing suit, do we need gloves or boots, etc. When you define where you are going and what you personally need it makes packing for the others a breeze. What I do for myself is start by figuring out how many office or dressy clothes I need. Lay those out first and don’t take several choices; choose before you leave so that you don’t have tons of extra clothes that you don’t use. Then look at your casual clothes and count how many days you’ll be gone, then cut it in half. If it is 10 days, I drop it to 5 and pack enough pants, jeans, shorts, etc. for just 5 days. You’ll end up wearing each twice on the trip. Utilize your luggage space by taking 10 tops that will match the 5 bottoms. Take enough underwear and bras for the full 10 days unless you know you can wash them on the trip. Be wise in taking shoes; find 2-3 pairs that match everything and wear your tennis shoes on the plane. Don’t forget pajamas, socks, bathing suits, cover ups, flip flops, boots, scarves, gloves, coats, etc.
  • Invest in a toiletries bag and keep it prepped under your sink. This has saved me several times. Most people don’t do this, but I highly recommend it. First, it saves you time in packing. Second, you never have to worry about a last minute journey and not having shampoo or soap ready to go. The toiletries bag is just for trips and has all of the same products you use daily in small containers; this includes: toothbrush, toothpaste, hair products, q-tips, cotton balls, tweezers, eye drops, chap stick, nail file, deodorant, lotion, hand sanitizer, facial scrub and moisturizer, eye cream, your toddlers toothpaste and toothbrush, your toddlers lotions, diaper cream and body wash, etc. That is just a list of what I have prepacked. When I arrive home from a trip, I make sure it is all refilled and ready to go before putting it away.
  • Invest in a makeup bag. I keep my makeup bag next to my toiletries bag. As I put on my makeup before leaving, I just throw in what I’m using into the makeup bag. This way I don’t forget anything and I don’t have the huge cost in cosmetic products just sitting under my sink.
  • Take your hairbrush and invest in a travel curling iron and hair dryer to save on space. Keep them next to your toiletry bag.
  • Make sure you have a dedicated suitcase/duffle bag for each person in your family. Using the same luggage over and over again will help you remember how you packed each time, and what makes fits where.
  • Purchase distinguishable luggage tags for everyone in your family. When I first began traveling I didn’t do this. I just grabbed a tag at the airport and filled it out and attached it to the bag. First, off the airport ones are fine for a last minute, forgot your tag kind of deals. But when you travel all of the time it becomes a waste of time as you lose those tags or they can rip off while traveling. Having a distinguishable luggage tag makes finding your luggage easier. It saves time in filling out a tag every time you are at an airport and it will last a lot longer. Having the tags on every suitcases or duffle bags helps in the packing processes. Once kids get old enough they know which bag is theirs, have them pack and be responsible for it.
  • When packing for your infant or toddler you don’t want to take too much or too little. Ask yourself, how many outfits do they go through in a day then take and add 1 more outfit. How many diapers do they go through in a day, and then add on another 3-4 per day. If you are using cloth diapers, how many covers do you need, do you have the wool over night cover, do you have your snappis and do you have a large garbage bag/plastic container/waterproof bag for dirty diapers? What kind of clothes you packed for yourself will determine what you pack for them. They only need a couple pair of shoes for a trip, along with a pair of socks for each day. Do they need a bathing suit, winter coat, sunscreen, flip flops, etc. Don’t forget bibs, bottles, a sippy cup, and a pacifier if needed. Take a bottle scrubber and a ziplock baggie with some soap in it. Also, take with you 1-2 current blankets they like to sleep with, along with a couple of their favorite stuffed animals. Both offer familiarity and the comfort of home.
  • For long trips I ditch my large diaper bag and opt for a backpack. I then pack accordingly for the flight. Diapers, changing pad, diaper cream, one stuffed animal, one blanket, toys, and then my wallet and travel itinerary. I pack a small purse in my luggage for the trip as usually everything from the backpack ends up in the stroller, which we take everywhere.
  • I always take my son to the chiropractor before going on any flight. When they are in alignment they will have fewer problems—if any—related to the pressure in the plane and getting sick. Being in proper alignment helps the body work more efficiently and keeps the immune system up. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take infants and children to a chiropractor.
  • How many times do you hear babies screaming on flights? Generally it is due to the cabin pressure and their ears popping. As adults we are taught to chew gum or swallow. Babies don’t know to do this. So if they are still nursing, then nurse them up and down on the flight. If they are toddlers, give them a snack and have them drink their water or juice when taking off and landing.
  • On international flights, make sure your infant/child is up to date on their vaccinations. While I am following Dr. Sears vaccination schedule, and I believe every parent has a right to choose what is best for their child and the government and schools should just butt out, this isn’t as easy to follow when leaving the US. Foreign countries still have polio which your child can catch. You don’t want to expose them to illnesses that could have been prevented. Here in the US, most of the illnesses have disappeared so the risk isn’t as high. You are walking into another world upon leaving the US; make a conscious decision about how you want to handle this before leaving.
  • On international or long flights across the US, you may opt to bring a DVD player or use your laptop. I don’t recommend watching TV for short trips in a car or on a regular basis before the age of 2, however, you may choose to allow your toddlers to watch some form of entertainment on a flight for your sanity and for the sanity of those around you. As my son is almost 2 years of age, I have decided to take along an iPod with a kids movie on it for him. I plan on only using this if I have to on the 10-hour flight. It will be my last resort should he wake up inconsolable in the middle of the night with night terrors on the plane. I know what it is like to be the other passengers and I don’t want to ruin their sleep on top of my own while being crammed in a plane for hours. As this is only for the trip and a last resort, I feel it is okay to break the rules leaving and returning home on the plane. Once home, things will go back to normal and away goes the DVD player.
  • Make sure you take some airline friendly snacks. I only feed my child organic boxed snacks on trips. Normally, he eats tons of veggies and fruits daily, which are better snacks for his digestion and nutrition. For trips, I take organic cookies, crackers, grapes, raisins, cut up apples, and cuties. Preparing this is a simple thing that dads can help with.
  • Another thing dads can be responsible for is the electronics for the flight. Remember to take cell phone chargers, and, if you choose, stories on CDs for the family or DVDs for the parents to watch.
  • If your infant is eating baby food, whether you prepared it or you are purchasing jarred baby food, make sure you take enough to cover each meal. What I do is freeze 2-3 oz servings of what they will eat for 4 or so meals a day. Then I take a freezer friendly bag or a cooler onto the plane with ice packets in it. I also request a mini fridge in my room when possible. Upon arriving, the food is still frozen and we just add more ice to keep it that way until we reach our hotel. We can keep it frozen and take out what we need and place it in the mini fridge to defrost. About an hour before meals, I then pull out what I need and let it sit at room temperature, then serve. If you are taking bottled food, pack an extra suitcase with the towels or clothes wrapping each jar. You don’t want to arrive with a bunch of broken baby food jars! Even though the baby food jars may sound easier, the glass can weigh a ton. Expect to pay more to take on the extra luggage and for the extra weight.
  • Remember that when you take a sippy cup or a bottle through security, you can take water, juice, or formula through the line. Make sure you take it out of your bag and either give it to them or place it in a separate tray to run through the scanner. They will require you to get it inspected on the other side but you don’t have to throw it out to get through security. I always take water and never have a problem.
  • Order a crib or cot at the hotel for your child ahead of time. This is easy to do and is free.
  • Take a stroller
  • Take a car seat for the flight. Most airlines do not provide these unless you are flying internationally. Over the age of 2 you are required to purchase a seat for your toddler and bring a car seat for them to sit in. They must sit by the window as well. You’ll also need the car seat for your destination and for any rental car you drive.
  • Take proper ID for your child. Take a birth certificate for children under 2. If the child can walk they will ask for a form of ID. Under six months of age, they don’t tend to ask for any ID, but I always take some, just in case. When traveling out of the county you will need a passport for the infant/toddler. Our son had his passport at 9 months and we use it all the time. It’s so much easier to purchase a passport rather than carrying around a birth certificate. The passport is then good for 5 years for kids.

I believe that is it for the time being. If I remember anything else, I’ll update this blog. It really is as simple as packing for yourself. You just have a little person to add to your list.

Happy Traveling!


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  1. Bradley

    renewing@gaelic.inauguration” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info!…

    July 29, 201411:55 pm

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