We've always found that flying with a baby is ok, flying with a toddler though is a slightly different story. Great tips
Top Tips for flying with an infant
So many people tell me that they're not ready to have children because they're not yet ready to give up travel and I always ask them the same thing - "Why would you have to give up?". Finances permitting of course, there is no reason to slow down in life just because you become a parent. Naturally, things will change but travel doesn't have to stop and nor does socialising for that matter. You just have to think a little harder before doing it. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that the busier you are with your infant, and the less sheltered they are then the more they will benefit from their growing up experience. Our eldest will have flown 16 times before he hits his second birthday next May and thats without the holidays we've had in our own country. We haven't yet had any trouble with him whatsoever (touch wood). Clayton loves to be on the move, seeing new things and feeling grown up and travelling has been something he has really taken in his stride. If he had been a difficult traveller, then we might not have made so many trips with him, granted, but we've found that as long as we put the extra work in and prepare for our trip correctly then it's been a lot easier than we'd have ever anticipated. The trick is all in the planning! Planning and preparation hold the key to your vacation actually feeling like a vacation and not a never ending battle, made harder by being away from your home comforts.
Here are my top tips for flying with an infant...
1. Getting To The Airport
If you're driving to the airport then I can't stress enough the value of paying a little extra and opting for a meet and greet valet parking service. We usually use Purple Parking (who offer their own free travel advice on their website) and have always found them to be excellent. Do you really want to park your car 30 minutes away? Do you really want to drag all your luggage, car seat, pram and child across a car park, onto a shuttle bus and then to the airport? Trust me, it's worth pulling up outside the airport, unloading and walking straight in. They park your car for you, you call them when you land and they bring it right back. It's saved me no end of stress and time and I genuinely can't image travelling any other way now. It's no longer considered a luxury. It's a necessity and it's nothing like as expensive as you might think.
2. At The Airport
You can preorder any baby formula online from the website of the pharmacy based at the airport you're flying from and then collect it when you get there. This is not only less for you to transport from home to the airport, but more importantly you can collect it once you're through security already meaning they don't have to check all of the contents. Speaking of having contents checked at security... be prepared to perform a live taste test of any baby milk you have with you (breast or formula). Most airlines will allow you to check in a car seat free of charge, which is worth knowing. Most airlines will also let you bring your own pushchair without incurring extra fees and will even let you keep it with you for useage right up until you reach the aircraft door. I recommend that you try and eat at the airport, as you'll find it difficult to eat an in flight meal with an infant in your lap. Try and plan your childs feed schedule though around them not eating at the airport, but waiting until onboard the plane. Sleep is the other thing you're going to want to try and delay until onboard (your child, not you) to earn you extra minutes of worry free travel.
3. Taking Off/Landing
Have you ever been on a flight and endured a screaming infant in close proximity? It's everyone's worst travelling nightmare. The cause for most cases of screaming child in the air is the pressure in their tiny ears. Even as adults we experience discomfort from popping ears while flying, and it must be awful for a little one to go through that without knowing what's happening to them. As a parent, you can help them regulate the pressure in their ears by initiating a sucking action. The best way to do this of course, is by feeding them. It's important to time your childs feeds so that they can take fluid onboard during both takeoff and landing. If you managed to keep them from feeding and sleeping at the airport, then with any luck you'll be able to have a smooth take off, which will be followed by milk induced sleep!
4. The Flight
When you're stuck at 30,000 feet with no other option but to stay strapped to your seat because the seatbelt light is illuminated you'll be glad you came prepared. There is no more important time than midflight to be able to keep your little one entertained. Take toys! Take favourite toys and new, not yet experienced toys. Take the iPad - it's the greatest invention of all time in the eyes of a travelling parent (a flight is no time to get guilty about how much screen time your child is enduring). Take snacks too if your child is old enough to digest solids. Finger food is a great way to keep them entertained and happy. Opt for salty snacks over sweet - it will reduce the risk of a sugar induced meltdown and have them drinking more which will aid the pressure in their ears some more.
5. Your Destination
Make sure you've flown with your pushchair and any other necessities you would use at home for a day trip. This will keep things familiar for both you and your child and will breathe confidence in you to enjoy your destination to its full potential. The internet is a wonderful thing and you can cram plenty of research in before you travel. Make sure you find out what you will be able to do with an infant when you get there (and what you won't) to avoid disappointment. In my amateur opinion, there is no point paying to take a trip, going through all the headache of travelling with an infant and then not doing anything when you get there! Get out and expererience things. Enjoy the world! Having a child will never stop you travelling... it is just one more person you care about to experience things alongside. It's just one more place on this planet of ours to experience through your own eyes and again through theirs. Make the most of the time you have :)
Topic: Top Tips for flying with an infant
Subject: Love travelling with the kids!
R got a passport before he'd turned a month as I had to work for a week in Austria and we've done a lot of flying since. I have to say the 18 month old flight was a kin to hell on earth!! Once he was in his own seat it was infinitely better :) great tips, I'm terrible for not planning so will pass on to the hubby ;).
Thanks for linking to #TheList
Subject: Re: Love travelling with the kids!
Dont tell me that! Our next one is the 18 month one.... for SEVEN HOURS!!! lol
what great advice xx great post
Great tips - the little one is only 10 weeks old so no trips yet, but I could see us doing a city break next year to somewhere like Germany. I think preparation is the key and it sounds like you're all over it mate!
Subject: Great tips
I have not flown with my youngest two yet but these are great tips for when we do decide to take them on a plane #TheList
I have to admit I haven't flown with any of my kids. We always drive and take the ferry. Great tips here. I would also recommend a baby carrier for the airport (I have heard a lot) and the connecta is my top buy.
I took Sebby on a flight last month and I was so worried he would play up - he loved it and now is obsessed with planes lol
Subject: Re: Flying
Thats brilliant! Rather them excited than anything else I think...
Subject: Great tips
I feel sorry for every parent who takes their child on a flight, people never want to sit near them and once the baby starts to cry, the moaning and tutting drives me insane. I can only imagine how stressful it can be x