I’ve been conducting an informal poll of my friends both here and abroad for their secrets on travelling with babies — here’s a look at the top tips they’ve passed along:
*Cathay charges quite a bit for an infant traveling ‘on your lap’ — 10% of the adult fare (even if you use miles to upgrade to business, that’s 10% of the biz class fare). If you can’t swing both parents in business class, try booking one in business, one in economy and switching every couple hours. A quick chat with the purser should smooth the way for this since it’s not normally encouraged. Alternatively, consider booking seats apart from each other – that way the one parent not on ‘duty’ can rest….
*Ask if your flight is full when checking in. If you’re lucky (and looking particularly desperate), some airline agents will block out the seat next to you in a less full flight or offer you the option of sitting next to a vacant seat. If you’re traveling with a toddler who’s not getting their own seat this is a lifesaver. Remember, don’t ask, don’t get.
*When they make the pre-boarding announcement for those who need assistance – get up and go. Immediately. Getting on the plane first and off last let’s you take advantage of the cabin crew assistance – you will need it. You might think a few more minutes in the comfort of the lounge is worth it – it’s not. Get on and get settled before the plane is jammed, the overhead bin is full, and you’re getting the evil eye from other passengers.
*The Diaper Go-Bag: This tip came up again and again – and from experience I can tell you it’s very smart. Pack a small bag (I use one of those large LeSportSac envelope type bags) with all your diapering essentials – several diapers, wipes, a onesie/bodysuit in case of an emergency costume change, etc. Keep this in your seat pocket. Take only these essential items into the bathroom for each diaper change and restock the bag when needed. Why fumble with your huge, overstuffed diaper bag in the overhead bin if you don’t have to?
*Disposable, pre-sterilized bottles are a lifesaver. Bumps to Babes and MotherCare are always out of the Tommee Tippee ones so if you see them, stock up! (Note: Confirmed! They are indeed out…am on the waiting list…hmmm….). Pre-sterilized bottle liners are also useful but a little more cumbersome – Toys R Us in TST has a ton.
*You can’t pack enough wipes.
*Pack a diaper for every hour of travel time just to be safe (Note: WHOA! Do you even know how much space 24 diapers take up??? Well, it’s not like I’m even pretending to travel light at this point anyway, I suppose…)
*Stick to your normal schedule when you reach your final destination – regardless of the timezone issues —- if it’s 9am in NY and 9am is normally nap time, well then….it’s nap time. (Note: this was hard for us on our last trip, but I can tell you...it’s important and it does work. All that hard work to get J on the Gina Ford schedule – I’m not going down without a fight!).
*Speaking of baby sleep — if your little one uses a sleep bag, don’t forget it! It beats the scratchy airline blankets, plus it’s familiar.
*Be prepared to lose something….and just try to let it roll.
*And speaking of bébé au lait…these chic covers are a lifesaver if you’re nursing. They also provide a nice cozy dark place for your wee one to take a snooze. J was pretty much under the cover most of our last flight….when she wasn’t nursing she was cuddled up and sleeping.
What has worked for you? Let us know your top baby travel tips!