1/30/12

Travel Help

Sometime in the next coming months Eli will be taking his very first ride in a plane.
As someone who internally FREAKS THE HECK OUT, once inside that tiny tube 'o' death trap I am not thrilled about this at all. Luckily the flight won't be that long, so hopefully I can contain my freaking out for that amount of time.

Plus I plan on taking many, many drugs that morning.

I am a person who is never too prideful to ask for help, so I am coming to you today to ask for lots of help.

I am SO confused and overwhelmed about this whole traveling with a baby thing. I'm usually shaking like a leaf when I step aboard the tube trap, I can't imagine what it will be like stepping aboard with all the billions of baby things I'm picturing that we need. Plus the baby himself.

I get claustrophic on that thing plus it makes me motion sick and I almost puke every single time we take off and land. Direct flights ARE MY BEST FRIEND.

Because I'm already a nervous flyer (flier?) I'm hoping if I can figure out some of the baby things so I won't be as nervous about the flight.

So if you have traveled with a baby before, please help me with my questions:

THE FIRST ONE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT:

1. Have you checked a car seat before? - I have heard people say they checked their car seat just fine and then I have heard people say that their car seat got beat up by the flight people and it shouldn't be checked - I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO.

2. I recently found a company called Baby's Away that rents out baby supplies. Has anybody used them? Any stories to share?

3. I plan to take the umbrella stroller to use in the aiport. Is this the best way to accomodate a baby in the airport? Or should I just put him in my baby bjorn even though he is like 8 million pounds?

We plan to purcahse baby necessities (diapers, wipes, food, etc) when we get to our desitatnion so that we won't be carrying all that with us.

Any other advice for a STRESSED OUT TRAVELIN' MAMA!?!?!

P.S. Sorry about all the CAPS. I've never claimed I'm not dramatic.

28 comments:

Lauren said...

I checked the carseat (gate check - that way if there are extra seats on the flight, sometimes, they'll let you bring the carseat on for the baby) both times that I have flown. I bought one of the travel bags from Babies R Us. I think it was like $20, and it kept the carseat clean. We had a stroller frame for our carseat that worked great and we gate checked that as well. The only other advice I have is to pack and extra set of clothes in your carry on for everyone because blowouts are inevitable in tight situations!

Laura and family said...

We checked our car seats at the regular baggage check point and they were fine. Our airline had car seat bags free at the check-in but I've heard they aren't expensive to get just to be on the safe side. I'd definitely make sure you have some kind of bag for it just to keep it clean and germ free.

We DEFINITELY wanted to have a stroller. It's helpful when you are sitting and waiting and sometimes the motion helps the kids calm down (since they feed off our energy...)

Im also a nervous flier but flying with kids helped a lot because I have to put all of my energy into them and don't have as much time to worry about myself. Maybe the same will be true for you :)

I also second making sure you have an extra set of clothes.

Kodi said...

I have gate-checked car seats (infant) or just checked the convertible car seat. Look on your airline's website about what kind of stroller you can gate check. I've flown with my jogging stroller & an umbrella stroller & gate checked both. You do NOT want to wear him. It will wear you both out as big as he is. I've done it a few times with one kid alone and once with both kids, so let me know if you have any questions. :)

Hannah J said...

Ha, you're going to get so many conflicting comments on this! We flew with our baby when he was 5 months and then last week (he is 13 months). We checked his infant seat in baggage the first time and it was fine (just used the disposable bags they give you) and then this time we gate-checked his convertible seat and on the second flight were able to use it in an empty seat (which was WAY helpful because he won't fall asleep anywhere but his car seat or crib now that he's done nursing). He's a huge baby too (28 lbs right now) but we had enough to carry without dealing with a stroller too. I used the ergo, so I could throw him on my back and still wheel a suitcase, carry a diaper bag over my shoulder, and have my hands free. There's no way I wanted a stroller, but. . .apparently some people do! Good luck, our baby has pleasantly surprised us both times by being a pretty decent traveler.
Oh, the best tip I ever got was to dress him in one-piece jammies. That way if he has a blow out or something you don't have to worry about getting clothes over his head. And bring gallon ziploc bags so you can toss any soiled clothes in there before putting them back in the diaper bag.

Danielle said...

We have traveled a few times with Rowen and while I'm no expert here is what has worked for us:

1. The umbrella stroller is a lot easier than the bjorn because either way they make you take them out to go through security so its easier on the other side to strap them back in the stroller and then put yourself back together. We always check everything but the stroller and diaper bag so we don't have to juggle everything once in the terminal. You also have to check the stroller at the gate so we try to do that as soon as we find our gate.

2. Laminate a copy of his birth certificate just to use for traveling.

3. We have used Baby's Away on one of our trips to Disney, I found the quality to be good and prices reasonable. If you have specific questions I may be able to answer them as well.

4. We try to schedule take off to be about a half an hour to an hour before a normal nap time so we just bump it up a little by giving him a bottle (which helps the ears during take off) and he usually sleeps through the flight. If you are on a plane that has two bathrooms, the one in the front usually has a pop out changing table. And if you stand the baby on your lap during boarding and advertise that there is a baby in your row, most people will opt not to sit there and you might get the extra seat of space. Not the nicest tactic, but it sometimes works.

Hope this helps!

Jessica Hudson said...

My #1 tip: put him in the Baby Bjorn to board and get off the plane. It's a HUGE help to have both hands free.

Have the bottle or pacifier for take off and landing so his ears don't hurt.

Gate check the car seat and the stroller - I brought a plastic bag for the seat so it didn't get dirty. Once we had the bigger car seat we got a bag with wheels for it.

Bring your own crib sheet if you're renting or using a hotel crib.

It will be ok! He'll probably distract you from your own worries :)

Noelle said...

Ok...I am soooo terrified of flying that I usually have to take Ativan to be able to fly. But, when I flew with my twins when they were 6 months old I was breastfeeding so I couldn't take it. I was so scared I was going to freak out. However, I was so concerned that the babies were going to scream and everyone on the plane would hate me, that my fear of flying was pushed aside.

The twins were great on the flight. Slept all the way there. On the way back they were awake, but the just played with the toys I brought along and were fine. Make sure you bring toys.

We checked their car seats with regular baggage. We put them in car seat bags we got from Babies R Us. They were fine.

We took the strollers and the Ergo carriers. I stuck the Ergos in the diaper bags until we needed them. We used the carriers when we folded up the strollers to gate check them, and needed our hands free to get on/off the plane. If you are only taking one or the other then take the stroller, but if you can, take both.

Also, make sure you give yourself enough time. You have to take the baby out of the stroller and fold it up to go through security. Also, moving through the airport with the stroller, luggage etc takes longer. We missed our flight because we didn't give ourselves enough time. Luckily, we were able to get onto another flight right away.

Anyway, flying with 6 month old twins wasn't at all a bad experience. I am sure you will be fine with Eli :)

Mrs in Training said...

It looks sort of silly, but what about one of those carseat travel roller things instead of lugging the carseat AND the stroller? I'm going to buy one of these for when I travel this Spring - http://www.amazon.com/Go-Go-Babyz-QRKIDZ-Kidz-Travelmate/dp/B000JJK9EY/ref=sr_1_3?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1327963066&sr=1-3

Pam said...

I wrote a post about this when we traveled when Eli was two months old (http://www.socalledparadise.com/2011/03/novice-tips-for-traveling-with-infant.html) but I'm about to do a new one since we just traveled with him again (he's one now) and it obviously a lot different.

When we were in Australia we were forced to check our car seat when we flew on the Australian airline even though we bought a seat for him. I was not happy about it since I know they're rough with the car seats, too, but it seems to have come out ok. We have a Go Go Babyz, which is AWESOME, but it wouldn't take the place of a stroller during your trip. We ended up buying a cheap ($25) umbrella stroller once we arrived at our destination, which ended up working out well. Since we didn't have the stroller on the way to Australia and did have it on the way back, I can say that it's a bit easier with the stroller, but honestly not that much since you have to take the baby out, fold it up, put it through the scanner, etc.

If you're staying with friends or family, it's a great idea to order your baby stuff through Amazon or diapers.com-so nice not to have to worry about running out as soon as you arrive!

Good luck! I hate flying and it has turned into downright meltdowns on my part now that we have a baby. I so look forward to getting back stateside where I never have to fly again (ok, that's unreasonable, but you know...).

Kodie said...

My dad bought us a huge bag that you can either put the car seat or stroller in. We were told we HAD to check the car seat (which I know is a lie because I read the rules online and on the way back we didn't have to) and it was fine underneath. You can also bring it right up to the gate and check it there so it doesn't get tossed around as much.

As far as a stroller...we bought a regular stroller and it was nice to put all our bags on it while the little one ran around.

I flew with my sister, her boyfriend (it was his first flight as well), and nephew who was 1 1/2 at the time. On the way to GA he passed out before we even fully left the ground. Once the plane started moving he conked out (we had a super early flight). On the way back he was awake more but it didn't bother him one bit.

It was a little more work with all the extra stuff but the staff was all very accommodating to us. It's also nice to be able to board the plane first so you can get situated.

The Rohman Family said...

Hmmmm...never checked a carseat. We rented a car at our destination, and thus rented a car seat from the rental place. That was super nice and easy. Plus, baby threw up all over the carseat and it stunk so bad and I was so thankful when we arrived back at the airport and I innocently turned that thing back in. Whew!

We took our travel system stroller and it really wasn't a big deal at all. I would NOT carry a baby that size in a bjorn. Won't your back be killing you???

Allison said...

Hey Friend,

We have flown a bunch with our kiddos. Luke actually went to Canada with us on a Scentsy trip when he was 3 months old.

Most of this is repeat from above, but I recommend a stroller. The only time it's a pain is when you're going through security. Plus it's nice to have your normal stroller, so he can lie down and sleep if he needs to while in the airport.

We have always travelled with full size strollers and the past 3 trips we've been on, we've travelled with a double stroller. I love having a place to put all our stuff (diaper bag, my carry on, etc).

I also highly recommend a baby carrier (where he attaches to you) for getting on and off the plane. I have an over the shoulder one that I've used with Luke even at 2 years old. It's great to have your hands when boarding the plane.

Necessities:
Snacks, sippy cup and bottle, toys, books, diapers, wipes, and ziploc baggies (in case of accidents).

Since my kiddos are older now, we always take small little gifts that are their toys, books, etc to play with on the plane. We wrap them in tissue paper and pull one out whenever someone gets upset or just needs to be distracted.

We also always check carseats at check-in and put them in the bags provided by the airline. (But sometimes they do run out of those bags so getting a bag from Babies R Us is probably a good idea.

Hope that helps a little bit! Happy flying.

Allison@ said...

Hey Friend,

We have flown a bunch with our kiddos. Luke actually went to Canada with us on a Scentsy trip when he was 3 months old.

Most of this is repeat from above, but I recommend a stroller. The only time it's a pain is when you're going through security. Plus it's nice to have your normal stroller, so he can lie down and sleep if he needs to while in the airport.

We have always travelled with full size strollers and the past 3 trips we've been on, we've travelled with a double stroller. I love having a place to put all our stuff (diaper bag, my carry on, etc).

I also highly recommend a baby carrier (where he attaches to you) for getting on and off the plane. I have an over the shoulder one that I've used with Luke even at 2 years old. It's great to have your hands when boarding the plane.

Necessities:
Snacks, sippy cup and bottle, toys, books, diapers, wipes, and ziploc baggies (in case of accidents).

Since my kiddos are older now, we always take small little gifts that are their toys, books, etc to play with on the plane. We wrap them in tissue paper and pull one out whenever someone gets upset or just needs to be distracted.

We also always check carseats at check-in and put them in the bags provided by the airline. (But sometimes they do run out of those bags so getting a bag from Babies R Us is probably a good idea.

Hope that helps a little bit! Happy flying.

jodibrewer said...

We flew with our youngest two a lot before we had our third. We always traveled on a regional jet, which is tiny, and I learned to pack lightly due to little space. I also found that honestly the less you bring, the better. I started out bringing every snack, book, toy I could cram into a very large tote bag and everything would end up jumbled and disorganized which made my left-brain twitch a little.

Snacks, snacks, snacks. Over toys and other things, this is what has kept my kids occupied the most.

Take lots of diapers and wipes, enough for a full day and formula if you need it. You can take water through security as long as you let them know you have it. They will pull you aside and do an explosives test on it, so build in that extra time. You never know when you'll be delayed, etc. Take two extra outfits for baby, and one for you. I've been pooped on and had to stay in the same clothes for hours. It sucked.

I've found the best place to change the baby is on the floor near the back of the plane. Most planes do not have changing tables and this beats sitting on the toilet with them in your lap. I take a lot of disposable changing pads and just roll everything up together, put it in a plastic bag and give it to a flight attendant.

Speaking of plastic grocery bags, I always stuff a couple down in my diaper bag.

Make sure you have all documents as others have mentioned, I'm sure. We have never had to have a birth certificate, ever, but it never hurts to take it. Usually there is a security line for strollers, people with small children, etc. Seek it out!

I have always taken our umbrella stroller (we have a larger Maclaren) and gate checked it. We have never taken a carseat, and instead rented one with a rental car. Our stroller has never been damaged.

Hope you have a safe and enjoyable trip!

Superchikk said...

1. I have gate-checked our car seat and stroller (different flights). I would HIGHLY recommend spending the $15 or so on a gate-check bag from Amazon (for your umbrella stroller too). So worth it. Kept them from getting nasty under the plane or beat up. It also has a place to label the bag. Oh, and take a permanent marker and write your info on the carseat somewhere.

2. I've never used Baby's Away or know anyone who has.

3. You'll have to take Eli out of the Bjorn (and take it completely off) to go thru security, so a stroller might be easier if he does well in it. You'll have to fold the stroller up & send it thru the x-ray machine and carry Eli through. But I did use a quick sling for boarding/deplaning. It helps to have your hands free while you're getting on/off the plane, especially since you have to get your carseat & stroller gate checked.

4. Carry extra of everything on with you. Especially diapers, wipes, & formula. If you normally use 3 during that time, take 6. I have friends who've ended up delayed, sitting on the tarmac for a while and ended up running out of diapers with a hungry baby because they weren't prepared. Also, take an extra outfit for him & an extra shirt for you. Also some sanitizing wipes - Wet Ones, if you can. That way you can let him touch stuff once you get settled in your seats. ;)

5. Take toys & snacks. He might be frustrated that he can't wiggle around very much (I don't know how long your flight is), so take things that will keep him occupied & (hopefully) happy. He'll need a paci, bottle, or something to chew or suck on during takeoff & landing to help his ears pop. And if he cries during that time, it actually can help his ears equalize pressure.

6. I've always been told that on domestic flights you don't need ID for minors. But I've always carried my kids' birth certificates with me. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

For yourself, drink water. Breathe. It will be fine!

Ashley Baker said...

I think a stroller is a great idea. I took my 6 month old son on three different flights in one day and we survived. It can be done. I think you'll do great :)

-Ashley
http://pencilleddaydream.wordpress.com

Greta said...

We checked a carseat and I borrowed a bag from a friend that the seat fit in...no problems! In fact, I don't even think they counted that as a checked item (things may have changed though).

We also used an umbrella stroller which we just took up to the door of the plane and gate checked. Easy-peesy. Also great if Eli needs to sleep while you're waiting for your flight...

Do carry extra everything, especially snacks and drinks. In my opinion, all bets are off when you're trying to entertain your child on a plane. Have whatever keeps him happy and quiet. Most likely, he'll be standing on your lap the whole time making friends with everyone around you!

A good idea is to get some of those little puffy pom pom balls and have a cup or empty water bottle for Eli to put the pom poms in or just throw around!

If he is at all interested by Baby Einstein or another DVD, and you don't have a portable DVD player, borrow one! It might buy you 15 minutes or so.

Also, I don't know where you're going or how late you'll be getting in but I have heard of people shipping diapers and wipes via Amazon to the place they're going...it would save a trip to the grocery store!

Good luck! I'm not a huge fan of planes myself. Eli will probably provide quite a distraction for ya :).

Lauren said...

AHHH. We are flying with Anne Margaret in a few weeks and I am a basket case. I HATE flying and am nervous about taking her...then again I am too scared to leave her for a week.

This may be a bunch of baloney but someone told me to take lots of tape and stickers. Kids love them and will entertain them for hours sticking them on them, etc.

...good luck. sounds like we both may have a few stories to share :)

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Rebecca Jo said...

Because I'm a nervous traveler myself, I threw up a little just reading this, in your honor :)

I've never flown with children, but when my step daughter comes in with her babies, she always travels with a stroller - its easy to put things in & push. But she normally carried them in the baby carrier across her chest - giving more room for bags to be thrown in the stroller.

Take plenty of toys, snacks, surprises & anything that will entertain on the plane. Try not to let him nap before he gets on the plane... if you can plan the nap during air flight time, it'll be best for everyone.

Not sure where you're going, but for us, we keep a car seat here so my step daughter doesnt have to deal with flying with them. Is that an option? Good luck!! Maybe having Eli with you will take your mind of the tube o'death

erin said...

Be the very last person on the plane, they let people with small children on first but DO NOT go that is 20 extra minutes sitting with a baby (less waiting=less stress), why torture yourself, the more they run around the better! I vote both bjorn and stroller, use the stoller to stack the carseat and all carry on bags that you have with you. Just remember they throw the strollers & carseats on to the plane just like they do baggage, they are not gentle at all. Just my thoughts, I have traveled with small children for years, I could write a book on how to do it!

Meg said...

I just flew with my 2 little guys and I was stressing out too before the flight...but it actually was easier than I thought. We didn't do the car seat thing since we were borrowing once we arrived at our destination, but for airport ease I put little guy in the sling...made security a breeze! Take more than you think you need in your carry-on such as extra diapers, wipes, changes or clothes, etc. Also, plastic grocery bags were my friend for soiled items! You will do great and so will Eli!

amanda said...

I've traveled by plane with Monroe 4 or 5 times. I've gone a couple of times by myself and a couple of times with my mom or my husband. I travel differently depending on my traveling companion. When M was little and still in an infant carseat, I used my big stroller and the accompanying seat-so both were gate checked. The thing that really stunk about that was that I had to put all of that on the security scanner. That process is so rushed, it was really stressful getting him out of the stroller putting, folding it up, putting it on the belt, taking off my shoes, etc then reassembling all of that on the other side. And, of course, everyone in front and behind you is in a rush, it's crazy. So, I'd suggest checking your car seat at the ticket agent. I forgot a bag once and used a trash bag (hey, it worked) on teh way home they gave me a plastic bag and it was fine.

The time I travled by myself I used my boba carrier (a soft carrier like an ergo) and that was easier than doing the whole stroller mess by myself.

I'd suggest carrying on as little as possible. It makes settling in so much easier. I brought a bag full of various snacks for Monroe, bottles with something i knew he would drink to entice him during take off and landing, a couple small beloved toys (including his lovey) and a couple of very small new and interesting toys. 1 clean (the most compact I could find) outfit and diapers. I really didn't take anything for me except what was essential-my phone and my wallet, and a hoodie (I always get cold). It's so much easier to move through the airport when you don't have lots of stuff. Oh yeah, if you have a layover, bring a small blanket so he can play on the floor-just a receiving blanket will do and be small.

Put a few shows that you don't mind him watching on your ipod to entertain him if he melts down.

A lot of the airlines will let you check any of your baby gear, including a pack n play, for free. You may want to look into that before renting.

Good luck! You'll be fine :)

Amanda said...

Well I cannot add anything that the other ladies have not offered. We folded up the ERGO in the diaper bag to use it but never used it. We choose to gate check the stroller and the car seat and they both were fine. I liked having the stroller to secure my son in but also to put small bags on the handle and in the bottom.

You'll do fine.

Lucky in Love said...

I always check the car seat with our luggage. I bought these really large plastic bags from Amazon that I wrap it up in and then duct tape it closed. It keeps it from getting banged up and dirty and it's worked just fine for us. Plus, it's one less thing to lug around.

I highly recommend bringing your stroller with you through the airport. You'll want some place to put him and you never know what could happen with delays and such. It's totally worth it.

The Popes said...

I've been traveling with my kids since my oldest was a few months old and the number one advice? Pack light, bring lots of snacks, and chill out! It's never as bad as you prep yourself for and if they scream the whole flight? Oh well. It'll be over shortly!
I would recommend a big stroller to put your bags on. And we've never had a problem checking cars seats.
Oh, give yourself an abundance of time to get to your plane. Nothing starts stressing a mama out like running to your gate!

Lori said...

DRAMAMINE! I couldn't fly without it.....and if you add a glass of wine to the mix, you should be relaxed and not get sick. (I know, because I get motion sickness while watching TV!)

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