Travel season is among us and new parents everywhere are nervous the first time they travel with baby. Or, maybe you are an experienced family of flyers but just don’t like all the bulk that comes with flying with the little one.
1. Only Pack What Baby Needs.
Remember life before the kids? Personally, I used to pack one or two books, magazines, even been known to put together a mini-facial kit, manicure kit, anything to while away the hours on the flight. FORGET IT ALL! In the unlikely event that you will get a minute to yourself, you will probably want to close your eyes for forty winks or have a book downloaded on your phone to read. Worst-case scenario, there’s always solitaire!
2. Bring Your Game Face.
Before walking onboard, repeat whatever mantra may work for you: ‘This too, shall pass’ is a favorite of mine. Repeat mantra as often as possible on the days leading up to the flight. Your mental outlook will be paramount to the success or failure of your flight. Having experienced being peed on, projectile-vomited on, four hour straight screaming melt-downs, a furious 18-month old who didn’t want to be held on Moms lap, a three-year old kicking the seat of the long-suffering passenger in front of him for an entire flight, and not being able to eat, drink or relax for up to 12 hours, I have experienced it all and more. The one good thing? The flight will come to an end eventually.
3. Talk about a Plan Before You Fly.
Things go a lot smoother for my husband and I when we talk about how the flight will go. We found that out the hard way on our first few flights as I muttered furiously at my husband to ‘take the baby’ while I hunted for a diaper or needed some time to get settled was not the way to start out. Now we have a chat pre-airport. We decide what’s going in the backpack, where everything is going to be located within said backpack, who will hold the baby, and when. This reduces a lot of tension and stress because mom and dad are on the same page.
4. Pack Less Than You Think You Need.
I did a few trips where my entire backpack was filled with every jangly, noisy, flashing toy I could think to include. And I probably used one of the toys for 10 seconds during the flight! The truth is your baby will be delighted to get uninterrupted mommy/daddy time. There is nothing a baby loves more than some good eye-contact, big smiles and some ‘tickle-babys-feet’ games. Look forward to getting that play time on the flight that you may not have had time for on the run up to the flight.
5. Do Pack a Clothes Kit.
Do pack an extra set of T-Shirts for both mom and dad in case someone gets barfed on! Also, pack two sets of baby clothes, but keep them light (onesies work!). For some reason, both of our children magically knew to get as messy as they possibly could when they flew and we would go through more diapers than normal and more clothes than normal. Perhaps it’s the change of schedule that messes them up – so be prepared for that!
6. Baby Kit.
In addition to the changes of clothes, bring a diaper for every 1-2 hours you will be in route to your destination. Bring wipes, bring a swaddle cloth (which can double up as a changing mat) or blanket that packs away easily. Make sure you have enough breast milk/formula with you (plus a little extra for delays). We travel with a main backpack for the flight, with a small cooling travel bag that fits any water, formula, or bottles. Use zip-loc bags or see-through travel squares for your baby kit, so you or your hubby can see what you are looking for instantly. Make sure your diapers and wipes are in a grab-able section of their own so if you have to go to the restroom in-flight, you don’t need to haul the whole backpack with you.
7. Clip on Toys.
In the event your little one does enjoy some extra stimulation, try to pack toys that attach to your stroller or outside your backpack. Rather than weighing ourselves down with books, we also download a few fun kids books to our ipad/iphone so we can have story time.
Little walking talking people are different to infants, and should be handled differently! My toddlers have travel bags, the ones with the teddy bears attached that are dragged along. Inside the bag, I pack little teeny toys that I have spent time collecting and gift-wrapped. My son has been known to take a long time just unwrapping each little toy and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on these toys. We have wrapped a couple of pipe cleaners up, which amused him for most of a flight once! Sticky tape, Blu-Tac, and even clothes pegs have been some of the items we have used in the past.
9. Vale La Pena.
This is a commonly used Spanish saying, which translates as ‘Worth the Pain’. Flights aren’t comfortable, they can be stressful, but the fact that you are showing your children that there’s a whole new world outside their home is worth the effort! Well done parents for stepping outside your comfort zones and exploring the world with your kids! Think of all the cool memories you will create – you will laugh at the bad moments and smile at the great ones!
10. Baby Rental Gear.
Check to see if your travel destination has baby rental equipment so you can leave the playpens and other bulky equipment at home. Baja Baby Gear offers parents who go to travel destinations like Cabo San Lucas and Cancun baby rental gear so you don’t have to run the risk of getting your brand new baby gear ruined en route to Mexico. Don’t fancy the idea of being charged for extra weight by the airlines or you want your baby to have just as much fun and relaxation as you during your visit to Los Cabos? Then the baby rental gear is the perfect solution.
About the Author
Originally from Northern Ireland, Jenni Reichert is an avid traveler. Owner of Baja Baby Gear Rental company serving Los Cabos & Riviera Maya areas, and co-owner of Baja Baby Skincare, Reichert moved to Mexico 13 years ago.