I am seriously addicted to traveling...Give me a suitcase and destination and I am in! I love the opportunity to explore and experience new places. I think this was one of the greatest gifts my grandmother gave me, a love and appreciation of travel. She was the one to take me on my first trip across the Atlantic and I am so excited to pass this desire on to my own children. I would say I'm off to a pretty good start, as my 9 month old is about to take his 15th plane ride. Not joking...LOL
After taking my son on so many different planes and trips, I would love to pass on some helpful tips for traveling with young children. I hope this will help you reduce the inevitable stress that comes with traveling, especially as new parents, and allow you to enjoy the experience.
TIPS for EASY TRAVEL:
Bring a diaper backpack that can fit all of your child's toys, snacks, diapers, wipes, and clothing changes needed for the trip as well as room to fit your wallet, phone, and other personal travel items. My absolute favorite one is the Indi Diaper Backpack from Dagne Dover.
Check the carseat and stroller at the same time as your bags. Most stroller/car seat companies have specific travel bags for their items which they insure the items safe travel and cover replacements if there is any damage.
Use a front pack to carry your child after checking the bags and stroller. This helps free up both your hands for security and grabbing those last minute snacks or coffee before boarding. I highly recommend the Baby Bjorn One Air. It is breathable for both you and baby and can adjust for babies from birth to 3 years old.
Serious hack! - Bring a large water bottle with you through security. All you have to say is that it is for the baby and they will test it and allow it through. This saves money by not having to pay for the expensive water at the airport. I would recommend sending the water bottle through the scanner on its own so that you don't have to go through your bag to get it out for them to check.
Book an aisle seat. This allows you to have a much easier time standing up to bounce the baby, walk the aisle, change diapers or, if your child is anything like my son, play in your seat for a moment of entertainment. If you are traveling with your spouse, booking aisle seats directly across the aisle from each other is my favorite because you still sit next to one another and both of you can easily get up or pass the child between.
Don't be afraid of red-eyes. At first, I thought this was a horrible idea but after doing day flights verses red-eye flights, I am converted! Red eyes are great because your baby is naturally asleep during this time anyway so they often will sleep through the whole flight. As your baby gets more active, day flights can be hard because you have a baby that wants to play and crawl around in a space that isn't baby friendly or the cleanest.
Delta - Most accommodating. I have found them to be very helpful if you are traveling with children, especially if you happen to be traveling by yourself with a child. Their employees were the most aware and considerate of the fact that you may not have extra hands to scan your ticket or were willing to sit with my son while I used the restroom. This may seem small but when you have to use the restroom on a plane with a child that cannot walk, I personally didn't want to just let my son sit or crawl around on the bathroom floor.
Alaska - Easiest ability to book a ticket with a lap infant (not paying for a ticket for your child under 2). On their website or app they have an option to select that you are traveling with an infant and you can add all their information before the trip. With all the other airlines I have used, you have to call their customer service line, which could be hours wait time, or you have to wait until you are at the airport and stand in line to see an agent to add a lap infant to your ticket.
Hawaiian - Most understanding. Traveling with an infant means that they are constantly trying to touch EVERYTHING. This airline does a great job of offering wipes to each passenger to wipe down your area or surfaces you think will be most touched. They also understood and were not pushy about the fact that your mask was not on at all times if your baby pulled if off or you just didn't have the hands to put it back on for a bit after eating or drinking.