Remember the days when people who flew on airplanes with babies used to mercilessly annoy you? With their strollers and baby carriers, huge diaper bags, crying, smells, and so on? Well, thankfully those days are over because now you’re the one traveling with a baby and supposedly annoying everyone at the airport and on the plane! Or, are you? It doesn’t really matter because we’ve created a useful guide to flying with a baby so your travel stays a dream come true instead of a nightmare. Covering important things like packing, documentation, times to fly, and other insightful tips, AllTheRooms’ guide to flying with a baby is a must-read for your next upcoming trip with toddlers and babies.
Like the Truth, Information is Out There
Everything and everyone is connected nowadays. Once you´ve decided where you’re going, jump online and do your research, ask your questions, visit official websites, and read informative articles like this one in front of your eyes right now.
One of the most daunting tasks when traveling is packing, and it gets even scarier when you’re packing for kids. One sure way to tame this beast is to get organized. Prepare an itemized list of the things you really need to take with you and the things you can buy once you arrive at your destination. Divide these lists into things you need onboard with you and divide that into carry-on bags. Similarly, go through the same process with your check-in luggage. One very good tip is to have a list of your bags handy so you can check it when you leave your house, when you arrive at the airport, when you do your check-in, after going through security and customs, and when you board the plane. It might seem like overkill, but you’ll be happy you didn´t forget the little bag with your baby’s favorite toy, or even worst, their medication. Imagine that nightmare…
The diaper bag should be the priority bag to get ready and prepared. Invest some time making a list of things that go in it; and, like Santa, make sure you check it twice, and then once more. It should contain enough wipes, diapers, formula/breast milk, and food to last for the entire trip — as well as for possible delays. Make sure to bring basics like hand sanitizer, scented diaper trash bags, a pacifier clip, and one or two new baby toys to be opened on the airplane only (providing a distraction for the baby and peace for you). Finally, one incredibly important thing to make sure you have in your diaper bag is an extra outfit for you, maybe even two. You´ll be glad you won´t have to walk around with spills all over you and reeking of baby “stuff”.
Documents, Airport Security, and the Whole Ordeal, Simplified
When traveling within the United States, keep in mind that babies from the US do not need a passport or ID. However, for international trips, your little one with definitely need an identity document. To get one, visit the nearest United States Post office or a passport agency. Remember that both parents/legal guardians must be physically present for this process. If you’re the sole custodian of the child bring official proof of that too. To avoid hiccups, you’ll need your child’s birth certificate (original and copies), your personal IDs (passports, drivers’ licenses, original and copies), a completed DS-11 form, money for the fees, and two identical 2×2-inch passport photos of your baby. Please check with official sources to verify this information as laws and requirements are subject to change.
Also, research what kind of ticket your baby needs or if one is needed at all. On most airlines, babies under two years of age can sit on your lap on a flight. You may have to pay a fee up to ten percent of your ticket price, or something similar so the baby gets a boarding pass. Call the airline in advance of your journey and confirm what is needed exactly. Once your baby turns two, you’ll definitely have to buy them their own ticket. This would be the time to consider having some sort of baby carrier, car seat, stroller, or a hybrid that securely and comfortably keeps your child in the seat. If you consider it, you always put your baby in a car seat when traveling by car to improve safety precautions. The same applies to the airplane scenario, you would want your baby to be securely fastened in their seat. Some airlines may have a special way for you to attach to your seat-belt and your infant’s.
Finally, during the flight, be considerate of your fellow passengers and the crew. A very good tactic to try and minimize your baby crying is to feed them during take-off and landing. This will help ease the changes of pressure and the discomfort that comes with it. Plus, the baby is more likely to fall asleep afterward, giving you some well-deserved time to relax. Another great advantage of modern airplanes is the in-flight entertainment options. Put on cartoons or music to keep your baby entertained and distracted. And, always remember to keep your cool. Your baby will feel your calmness and likely mirror it, plus other passengers will be assured that things are being taken care off.