Headed on a family getaway? Don't worry, traveling with your little ones doesn't guarantee meltdowns, especially if you are well prepared!
Here are a few simple, but tried-and-true basics to help ensure smooth sailing (flying, sailing, road tripping) in the future:
Before you travel, make sure your children's vaccinations are up to date; nothing stops people from traveling to loved ones (or loved places) – not even illness!
- If you are travelling to international destinations, check with your healthcare provider about any special vaccines or precautions you must take about a month before taking off.
- If your baby or child has had a cold or respiratory illness prior to flying, it's a good idea to have ears checked by your doctor prior to your trip, just to make sure flying will be comfortable.
- If your child is on any medications, make sure you have enough for the duration of your trip, plus extra (in the event of spillage or delays).
- If your baby is under 6 months of age, make sure that your friends/relatives at your destination site have had both flu vaccines and pertussis vaccine (TDaP)
Check online or call to make sure your flight hasn't been cancelled or delayed.
- Arrive early at the airport – if it is naptime, find a quiet corner for your child to snooze while awaiting your flight. A rested child is a better traveler! If you have the ability to print out boarding passes prior to arriving at the airport, that streamlines your process.
Always pack comfort items for your baby or tot – a lovey, pacifier or blanket are essential.
- For older children – always bring a couple of favorite books or a stuffed fuzzy friend. Remember to also bring extra diapers, formula/breast milk, and baby food (just make sure jars are 3.4 oz or less in volume) in the event your plane is held on the runway, diverted to another airport, or just delayed. With recent reports of terminal shutdowns and other unexpected events, your baby's stash of food is imperative!
- Remember to pack some light snacks for your tots or older children.
- Babies will do well with nursing or sucking on a bottle during take offs and landings; this will reduce discomfort associated with middle ear pressure changes.
- Make sure you travel with pain reliever (acetaminophen or ibuprofen for older children) in the event that ascent or descent causes pain in your little one's ears
Current regulations permit a maximum size of 3.4 oz (100ml) bottles of creams, lotions, or gels as carry-on items. And no, this doesn't mean a half-empty 6 oz bottle or tube.I suggest you check www.tsa.gov the day prior to departure for the most up-to-date security information to avoid unnecessary delays at the security checkpoint.
- Children like to be comfortable traveling, too! Their softest PJs are a better option than their most fussy outfit! Save that outfit for your destination.
- If you're also traveling with a toddler, be sure to keep their shoes on when walking around the plane – unexpected injuries to little tootsies can be prevented.
- If you're changing time zones, keep your child on his "home" time schedule until you arrive at your destination. Once at your destination, expect that for every hour time change you experience, your child will need a day to adjust. The same thing occurs on the return leg. Try your best to remember regular naps and a consistent place for your child to sleep. Ironically, keeping a baby up and missing naps usually results in very sleepless nights.
- Make sure you have an approved carseat and safe sleep spot at your destination, otherwise travel with your carseat and a portable crib. If you are checking in your carseat, make sure it has a cover – otherwise stains and/or damages are likely to occur. Many hotels have cribs and other gear for wee ones. Check with the concierge and you may save yourself a lot of wear and tear (and extra baggage fees) as a result.
Most of all, travel leads us to those we love, so please, enjoy and cherish your time with family and friends.