Whether novices or veterans, parents universally cringe at the unavoidable task of family travel. Here are some tips to ease the process:
- Set Up Your Destination Before You Arrive – If staying with family, ask if anyone is willing to shop for baby supplies and groceries. If not, send a box via Diapers.com. Hotels often offer baby amenities. Call the front desk or housekeeping to inquire.
- A Fantastic Travel Check List From The “What To Expect” website:
- Transportation – See if friends or family can play chauffeur. Consider airport van shuttles, car services and cabs. If driving yourselves is the only option, divide and conquer. One parent drops off the other with the brood at the curb then navigates parking and shuttles like an independent stealth ninja. Bake-in extra time.
- Curbside Check-In – One parent gets curbside check-in underway. By the time the car is unloaded, skycaps will be ready to check baggage.
- Diapers & Pull-Ups – Larger sizes will buy time in case the plane gets stuck on the tarmac. Bump up a size or two. If the child is potty-trained, throw a pull-up on them just in case. Tell them travel is a special circumstance and that’s it’s okay if they need to potty in the pull-up.
- Feed The Baby During Take Off & Landing – Ever hear the chorus of crying babies while ascending and descending? Baby ear pressure gets jammed up, just like ours. The act of suckling and swallowing relieves that pressure. Have bottles and boobs ready for action! And pack extra snacks.
- Buy The Extra Seat – Depending on flight length, bank accounts and patience levels, if you can afford this option on longer flights, it can be a game changer for the better.
- Diaper Changing – Brace yourself: sometimes airplane bathrooms aren’t equipped with a changing table! This might require changing diapers on a closed toilet lid. Ew. Bring an oversized changing pad and lots of hand-sanitizer.
- Throw All Electronic Rules Out the Window – Bring on the iPad and portable DVD players! Again, special circumstances call for special activities. Remember headphones!
- Ignore The Haters – Ugh. Nothing is more infuriating than the bad apple that gets nasty when babies cry. Like we’re not doing everything in our power as parents to soothe the child. Please. Though the urge to protect and defend (i.e. possibly punch that idiot in the face) remain strong and primal, refrain. Even though it might feel really good, it’s not worth dealing with Air Marshals. Or jail.
- Be A Team – To say our 17 month old had an Everest sized meltdown on our last cross-country flight would be an understatement. Although I was fairly (and surprisingly) calm dealing with this, once my husband entered the picture to give me a break, the baby toned it down. Know when to step away and let someone else take over.
- Walk The Walk – Pregnant mommies are prone to blood clots, so walking and stretching is recommended once an hour on flights. This philosophy can apply to toddlers as well. Walk them frequently. Fellow passengers seem to enjoy a wobbling, giggling tot over a wailing, inconsolable one. Trust me.
Traveling with kids is a lot like flying. Sometimes it’s turbulent. Sometimes it’s smooth. Most of the time, it’s both. Attitude is everything and set reasonable expectations.
Buckle up and enjoy the ride!