Welcome to the fifth session of the Traveling Parents' Forum! Today I've got four incredibly knowledgeable Mom's joining me to share experiences and tips about flying with children. Here you'll find tips for short and long flights with infants, toddlers, older children, and multiple children.
Throughout the series we'll be sharing our tips, favorite products, and looking to each other for advice to make traveling with little ones easier. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience please write it in the comments below! Also, if you have written a post(s) on a similar topic feel free to add the link in the comments. You can also join our group Pinterest board to post your own articles or ones you've found helpful. Just follow our Pinterest accounts and message me to add you to the board. The more information we have the better we can travel - at least that's what I think!
We'll be chatting about a new topic on the third Monday of every month. Today's topic is 'Items to make travel easier'
January 18: Items to make travel easier
February 22: Living/moving abroad with a child
March 21: Child jet lagApril 18: Traveling without your child
*I've slightly re-organized the schedule
Every time we travel with our baby, I find our requirements change a little bit. He grows so quickly, so things we needed when he was very small are not necessarily what he needs now. Our packing list also changes depending on where we travel. Over the last 18 months we’ve found the following things to be handy at various points. An extra large muslin (like this one from JoJo Maman Bebe) has so many uses I’d definitely make it top of my list. From lying on the airport lounge floor so that a small baby can spread out while you wait for your flight, to using as a blanket or a sun shield, you’ll be glad you’ve got it with you. If you're baby is very small, I can recommend a pop up bubble cot (Koo-di cot) - you can either use it as a bed for your babe, or take it to the beach to protect baby from sand, sun, and insects. If you’re going somewhere sunny, you might also want a sunshade (Koo-di cover) to protect your little one from the sun's rays. Baby can still see out, which means they can enjoy the sights, but they’ll be protected from harmful UV rays. It's also really handy for helping baby sleep in busy areas such as airports, or restaurants; minimalizing distractions so they're more likely to get some shut-eye. If you're going somewhere where tap water is considered unsafe, I'd take some sterilising tablets for your baby's bath water. Anti-bacterial hand creams or gels are also a must for the diaper bag. I can also recommend plastic bags for wet or mucky clothes whilst out and about. Finally, if you bottle feed, you might want to take disposable bottles. They stack neatly inside each other, and you don't have to worry about sterilising them whilst you're on the go.
Amy has an 18 month old and is joining us from London, UK. You can find more about her life in London on Instagram and Pinterest.
I guess important travel items really depend on the age of your children. As a mother with a ten year old, an eight year old and a new-born, I can safely say that I can just about cover all bases …
I guess it also depends on what kind of transport you are talking about too, but here are a couple of things I just wouldn’t consider travelling without for the baby: A Sling. Baby wearing is always the easiest option when you are flying, and some airports even let you walk through the scanner without having to take baby off. It also comes in handy on the plane for the inevitable walking up and down the aisle you have to do during long journeys. Something else I always pack is a baby sleeping bag. My babies have always slept in these bags at home, and you can buy travel versions with holes for seat belts. These introduce a bit of routine to a journey, and can make manoeuvring a sleeping baby (from a plane to car for example) so much easier.
For my older children I always pack decent rucksacks (with plenty of pockets) full of goodies such as snacks, magazines, books, pens and colouring books, not to mention the all-important electronic entertainment (plus chargers of course!)! And perhaps the most important item of the lot? Travel sickness tablets. Don’t be caught short, there’s nothing more unpleasant whether you are flying or driving. I will never forget our Four Countries in One Day trip when we ended up on what has to be the windiest road in the entirety of the world in Italy, and I will also never forget the (mostly!) sympathetic looks of the older drivers that passed us of “been there, done that”…
Emma has three children. She blogs over at Bavarian Sojourn and is writing from Bavaria, Germany. You can find more from Emma on her blog, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Roshan has a three year old and blogs about her travels at Roshan's Ramblings. Roshan is writing from Australia. You can find more from Roshan on her blog, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
There have been a few items we find invaluable when we travel and we try not to leave home without them.
Pack and play or travel cot: we had a very portable travel cot for William that we took on a few trips with us. It packed down into a little duffel bag and assembled almost like a tent. If you mostly do road trips, or have room in your luggage, a pack and play or play yard is even better. This prevents you from having to fashion a makeshift bed for your child, which you may not be comfortable with in unfamiliar accommodations. We also always check with the hotel or apartment rental we are staying at to see if they have a crib we can use so that we don’t have to bring our own.
White noise machine: We have a Sleep Sheep that plays white noise that we always turn on as William goes to bed. It us useful if you are staying in an accommodation that is a bit noisy, or you have to share a room with your child and you don’t want to wake them up as you get ready for bed.
Baby carrier: Whether it’s for walking through the airport, or a crowded marketplace, a baby carrier is very handy for traveling.
Umbrella stroller: We actually made do without an umbrella stroller for all of our travels but I could see it being a necessity for a lot of people. Now that William is a bit older, I think we would probably get one for the next big trip we take.
Portable change mat: We have a change mat that we keep in our diaper bag to use in public washrooms. But after having done some diaper changes on picnic benches in Paris and farmers’ fields in the English Countryside, I realized how useful they are!
First aid items: As your child gets older, these items will change. But for traveling with a child under one, we would always pack our thermometer, acetaminophen and occasionally our nasal aspirator. You never know when your baby might come down with something and having those items on hand could save you a late night trip to a foreign pharmacy.
Other than a couple of age-appropriate toys, I only have a couple of things that I find really helpful for traveling with baby ISO. The most important is a diaper changing pad loaded with extra diapers, wipes, clothes, and bags for clothes that get gross/wet/pooped on (Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station*). I rely heavily on our baby carrier so that I can have both of my hands free. I didn't even have to take Baby ISO out of it while going through security on our most recent flights. It also can be a bit chilly on planes, so I always pack some kind of blanket or scarf to wrap Baby ISO (or myself) up in. I've also used this to cover seats in the airport, so I could lay Baby ISO on them. If you are nursing and will be traveling for a few weeks or longer I suggest bringing a travel pump. I like this one from Medela that works both with a plug and with batteries. This is especially convenient when you are traveling places with different outlets (like our recent trip from Europe to the US). One last essential for us were baby congestion drops. Our pediatrician suggested we bring them with us as the dry air on the plane can cause congestion. We only used them during one flight, but I do think that hey helped.
I have a 5 month old and am writing from Vilnius, Lithuania on In Search Of. You can find more on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
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What times do you find necessary for travel with your baby? If you'd like to join in feel free to add links to your posts below, add posts to our Pinterest board, or join in by sharing your experience for one of the upcoming topics!