Your baby’s first flight can be one of the most dreaded things for you. After all, babies don’t truly understand what is happening, and they’re not big fans of staying put for long hours at a time unless they’re fast asleep. This can be a true nightmare only made worse if you don’t take the necessary precautions to make things easier. That’s why we have gathered some essential tips to help make your journey a bit easier.
1. Ask for advice from fellow parents
It’s always good to learn from other parents’ experiences. After all, regulations can be different in some airports and prior travelers who flew from the same airport as you will know all the details.
Also, other parents might have general useful advice that has worked for them. While some choose to rent a car and avoid flights altogether, this might not be the best option for you. That’s where platforms such as the online travel agency MustGo come in handy, as they can also advise you on best practices when traveling with babies.
2. Direct flights are the way to go
If you decide to forego the vehicle rent option, then you should try to make it a direct flight. That is, of course, if the distance, the airline, and your budget allow for it. Keep in mind that the money you might save by including a layover in your flight can cost you dearly when it comes to how restless your baby can be.
However, if you inevitably have to include a layover, then try to make it a long one. It might sound counterintuitive, but hear us out. A layover of some three hours is perfect to get some leg stretch time, change your baby’s diaper in a comfortable bathroom, and avoid running through the airport with all of the things you are carrying. If you are with a toddler, it’s a great moment for them to burn off some energy running around at the airport.
3. Buy them a ticket
Most airlines allow babies to fly for free when they are under two years old. However, if you can spend the money, it’s much more advisable that you buy them their ticket. This is because carrying your baby on top of you for the duration of the trip is going to be very tiresome. Plus, both of you will be uncomfortable.
4. Don’t always take the pre-boarding option
People with babies are given priority to board. However, you will probably have to deal with a fuzzy child while you wait for everyone else to board. The only advantage is that you get to comfortably put away the bags you are carrying.
If you’re traveling with your partner or a family member, then you can tell them to board first while you stay outside. You can entertain your baby by walking around before getting on the plane. This is a good way to calm them before the flight.
5. Be prepared for airport security
If you are eligible, sign up for any pre-check benefits available to you. In some airports, you can carry more formula or breast milk that the usual maximum allowed for liquids. However, this is not a consistent rule, so be prepared to deal with this. Furthermore, there will probably be extra pat-downs and checks due to this.
Therefore, you should allow for some extra time when it comes to the entire check-in process. Try to be at the airport early and go through this process when it’s not as crowded. Afterward, you can comfortably wait inside without the risk of missing your flight.
6. Yes, babies need IDs too!
You won’t always be asked for your baby’s ID, especially in domestic flights. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, you should bring your kid’s birth certificate with you. If it’s an international trip you will need a passport. This is something you should keep in mind even if you choose a road trip.
7. Bring changes of clothes for the two of you
And yes, we did say the two of you. As we all know, babies can be quite messy. Anything can happen and it’s best to be prepared. Most parents only bring clothes for the baby, and then when an accident happens, they have nothing to change into. So keep this in mind and bring a change of clothes for you in your carry-on.
8. Visit the restroom before boarding
We all know how cramped plane restrooms are. Also, sometimes you might be ordered to keep your seat belts on for a long time. This would make it very difficult for you to change diapers or go for a potty break in case you are with a toddler. Therefore, one last-minute stop at the airport’s restroom is a good preventive measure.
Fortunately, most airports now have family restrooms where you can very comfortably change diapers or bring your kid to the restroom. This way, you’ll minimize the chances of having to use the tiny bathroom inside the plane.
9. Pack wisely
Just like you will need an extra change of clothes, you might not need as many diapers as you are putting in your carry on. Try to keep this in mind considering you are going to be carrying your baby and hauling things all through the airport. Remember that things like gate changes and delayed flights can happen, and you will want to make your job easier by minimizing the weight you have to carry.
Richard Cole is a Marketing and Content Manager at MustGo.com and has been working in the Digital Marketing industry since 2002. He writes about marketing, lifestyle, travel and everything else in between. As a conversion-driven marketer, he is passionate about helping businesses expand their online visibility and reach their goals.