Travel Essentials for Baby
Ready, Set, Fly!
‘Tis the season for a hot vacation getaway and there is no one more deserving of a break than you.
It’s safe to say that your days of travelling with only a few necessities in a carry-on and binge-watching the in-flight entertainment are LONG gone—for now at least. So, how do you make it from Point A to Point B successfully with baby [and their gear] in tow?
We suggest pre-planning and coming to the airport with as much knowledge as possible.
Today we are sharing some helpful tips for travelling with your little one and the gear you'll require to make your trip as stress-free as possible.
Whether you are taking a train, plane, or an automobile—read on!
Let’s talk about strollers, shall we?
Regardless of where you are headed, you will want to bring a stroller with you on vacation. Yes, even if you are headed to an all-inclusive resort that claims to be “walkable”. There are so many wins for having a quality stroller with you on vacation.
Let your little one sleep soundly on the go [and stay up way past their bedtime] while the adults enjoy a late-night dinner reservation and all the hotel amenities.
Pass me a Pina Colada!
...but first, you need to GET to your destination.
If travelling through an airport, the good news is that your stroller does NOT need to be “surrendered” and tagged at the baggage checkpoint. You can keep your stroller with you [thank goodness] for use throughout the airport. This means you can tote your little one right up to the gate once it is time to board. Most airlines will tag and fold your stroller at the door of the aircraft upon boarding so that it can be stored underneath the plane. Once you’ve arrived at your destination your stroller should be ready at the gate for you upon arrival! Now THAT is service!
But before you head to the airport, you'll need to decide what type of stroller will serve your family best while you get some R&R.
Stroller Option 1:
Purchase a travel safe bag for your full-size everyday stroller
Take advantage of the many great features that sold you on your stroller in the first place.
There is a reason you chose a stroller with a one-handed recline, UPF protection, and wheels that can take on all the elements –including sand! How handy will that large undercarriage basket will be for toting around sand toys, sunscreen, snacks, and your beach bag? Honestly, why would you leave that beauty at home?
If this is the route you choose, we highly recommend protecting your stroller with a travel safe bag. UPPAbaby, for instance, has a TravelSafe Program that allows you to gate check your stroller without worry. Just register yours online before you travel, and any damage caused to your stroller during air travel is fully covered by them. And you thought UPPAbaby’s Customer Service couldn’t get any better?
Stroller Option 2:
Purchase a travel stroller
We love the convenience of a compact travel stroller like the fabulous Silver Cross Jet. This lightweight stroller is ultra-compact and can be stowed away safely in the overhead bin of an aircraft. Plus, it has a UPF 50+ hood, superior air-flow ventilation, and a pop-out sun visor which makes it perfect for those sunny vacation destinations.
Now, if you are travelling to Disney don’t forget that they do have stroller limitations in the park. Strollers must be no larger than 31 inches wide and 52 inches long. Not to worry—your favourites like the Baby Jogger City Select and the UPPAbaby VISTA [even with the second seat] meet those guidelines.
Car seats + lap held infants To car seat, or not to car seat, that is the question.
This one is complicated, so it’s no surprise that it’s crossed your mind while planning out your travel itinerary.
Your little one is precious cargo—so safety should always come first. If possible, your child should be in an aircraft approved car seat. That decision is at the parents or caregiver's discretion—so we will leave it up to you.
Before you book your flight seats, you'll want to take note of the following rules and guidelines around car seats.
- Your car seat must be FAA-approved. The label should read, "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.”
- If you have multiple children travelling with you –the rule is one car seat per aisle of three.
- For safety reasons, a car seat cannot be installed in an aisle seat.
Children under two years old can be booked as a “lap held infant” which means they are not given a seat of their own. Depending on the length of your flight, the temperament of your child, and your comfort level with the whole flying thing—it might be ideal to purchase them a seat of their own if you are able. You are only permitted x1 lap held infant per row so If you are travelling with twins, you'll need to sit across the aisle from your partner. This isn't just for convenience sake but because aircrafts have just x4 oxygen masks per row.
In most cases, the flight crew will be notified of your seat number and are required to give you a specific safety briefing like what to do in case of an emergency and other helpful information like where to find a change table on board, and when the bar cart will be by [just kidding on that last one.]
JetKids by Stokke
A ride-on, carry-on, sleep-on suitcase
The BIG Q, will they sleep?
Many parents have anxiety around sleep. Even with the comforts of home and a solid routine in place—toddlers are toddlers and the sights, sounds, and fun factor of travelling on a plane is enough to get them revved up! So, when it comes to flying many parents will do anything to get their little ones to decompress and get some shuteye.
You can try to plan your travel around nap times but sometimes it just isn't possible. So, if you are going to be in-air during the night or are travelling internationally—may we introduce you to the JetKids BEDBOX! aka your lifesaver.
This niche “travel gadget” is specifically designed for children ages 2-7—it’s a roll-along, ride-along, bed in a box.
Your toddler can ride on it like a toy and entertain themselves in the case of an unexpected delay. Once you are onboard it can be stored away under the seat. Then, once the fasten seatbelts light has gone off—you can put JetKids into use. You can even buckle your little one right back into their seat once it is all set up. It includes a mattress pad but there is also extra room and storage for a tablet and other treasures.
Pro tip: it’s best to utilize BEDBOX in a window seat.
Speaking of your sanity...
Snacks & Good Luck As all parents know – snacks have a way of keeping your little one's happy so pass the Love Ducks!
We love the Munchie Mug for transporting healthy snacks like grapes or dried fruit or that emergency stash of necessary fishy crackers. You may be surprised to learn that If you are travelling with an infant younger than two years of age (0-24 months), you can bring special items for baby on board. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority states that food, milk, formula, water, juice and other baby items are permitted in your carry-on baggage.
Great news, but how do you keep your things cool and fresh on board? We love these sweat proof ice packs from So Young that will keep everything else in your bag nice and dry [hello passports.]
If you are traveling with breast milk you can never be too cautious, so here is a proven trick courtesy of the pumping Mama’s who have gone before you. If you have a long flight + an unexpected layover we suggest asking a coffee shop in the airport or a restaurant to fill up your wet bag with ice. It’s a last resort once your ice packs melt but should do the trick for keeping your BM cool until you reach your destination.
If your destination is outside of Canada, any food not consumed, including food in checked baggage, will be subject to the regulations of the country you are visiting.
Which is why we suggest always calling ahead.
Which brings us to our last suggestion...
Courtesy items + clarity
Always call ahead
Most airlines allow one courtesy item per person such as a stroller, playard, car seat in addition to your own luggage. Yes, we've given some suggestions in this article, but always talk to your hotel or airline in advance. Policies may change from time to time so once you’ve gotten clarity on room amenities and baggage allotments [which vary per airline] – then you are ready to begin planning and packing!
Worried about transporting your playard as an extra piece of luggage? That stressor could immediately be eliminated if your hotel or resort is able to offer you a room with a crib or portable playard—just ask!
Some airlines offer special bag allotments for those travelling with children and may even alert you of a special Family lane at security. You might also be surprised to find out that some resorts and hotels offer family-friendly rooms and amenities like a bottle warmer, kettle, and in some cases—even a stroller!
Talk to a Travel Agent about family rated resorts—or better yet ask your mom friends. They’ll be able to let you know firsthand what kind of offerings are available at hotels they’ve recently stayed at with their little ones.
If you are staying at an Airbnb take note of the properties that include amenities for families like children's dinnerware, bath toys, and baby gates. These kinds of properties DO exist and help to make travel with small children a lot easier.
Ready, set, go!
Parents, you can do this!
Try not to let the thought of travelling with baby [and packing up your entire family for a week] cause you a ton of stress and anxiety. Baby’s first flight is exactly that—just another first for your memory bank and something that you really have no control over.
Generally, your fellow passengers will be understanding and helpful [who doesn’t love a sweet baby?] so stay positive you've got this.
Now sit back, relax, and get ready for take-off.
p.s. since your packing list is probably a mile lone—may we remind you to stock up on those must-have seasonal items for your trip: organic sunscreen, swim diapers, sun-hats and more.