Capital Baby Planners’
Tips for Traveling with Children
PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP
1. If you travel often with your children, keep a clear plastic bag filled with children’s medications that you can just throw into your suitcase. We recommend including pain reliever, teething gel (if appropriate), Benadryl, Neosporin, Cortisone, anti-bacterial wipes, and Band-aids. And while it’s not a medical item, throw in a nightlight for children who need one.
2. For a child who is upset by a change in routine, prepare a paper chain to count down the days until your vacation and have him assist in packing. That way, he can be mentally (and physically) prepared for the trip.
3. If your child is still in diapers, pack a small bag (or foldable changing station like a Patemm Pad) filled with all changing accessories, as well as a change of clothes, in case your child has an accident. If you really like to be prepared, throw some stickers into the bag – putting a sticker on the back of your child’s hand is a great way to occupy her (and keep her hands busy and away from germy bathroom stuff) during changing.
4. Pack a separate backpack or bag for each child for which she can be responsible – even better, have her pack it herself. You (or she) can include snacks, a favorite toy or two, a lovely, a book, or any other lightweight item that will bring comfort or entertainment value! One idea -- wrap one or two small toys (from the dollar store or the like) for your child to unwrap on the plane or in the car. There is nothing to add to the excitement of a new toy than having it wrapped up like a birthday present!
5. Bring your favorite baby carrier to use while carrying your bags through the airport or using while on vacation. We love the Ergo or Baby K’tan, among others.
6. Pack small bags for trash, dirty clothes, or wet bathing suits. This is a great way to make use of your plastic grocery bags. Another product we love is the Knot It by Prince Lionheart, which is a little cylinder containing one huge bag that you can rip off and tie to make any size bag you’d like.
7. If you are going to check your bags when traveling by plane, be sure to pack a change of clothes and essential medications for your child in your carry-on. It really stinks when an airline loses a bag – it stinks even worse when your banana-covered toddler doesn’t have a change of clothes.
8. When booking airline tickets, if there will be two adults and one child on your lap, consider buying a window and aisle seat in the same row (but not the middle seat) toward the back of the plane. On a flight that’s not full, that middle seat often won’t sell and you will have a whole row in which to spread out. If it is a full flight and somebody sits there, that person is usually more than happy to switch to your window or aisle seat so that you and your partner can sit next to each other.
9. You do need a passport for your baby for international travel, and a birth certificate or other identification is necessary for domestic flights. Especially when your child nears age 2 and you have not purchased him a seat, airlines are sticklers about requiring a birth certificate to prove that your child is actually under 2.
10. Children’s ears are sensitive to pressure changes on an airplane. Where appropriate, bring a bottle or sippy cup (with a straw – better for speech development) to help your child clear her ears. Chewy snacks like raisins are also good for ears, just make sure to brush your child’s teeth well later that day.