Check Flight and Accommodation Details Early
Depending on your airline and travel location, you may be required to pay a fee for children under the age of 2, even if they’re sitting on your lap. Most of these fees apply to international flights and could be the amount of tax of the adult ticket or a seat at infant prices. Even if it’s lower, any amount is unpleasant if it’s unexpected.
For any special hotel requests, make them early and then contact the hotel to verify these accommodations at least a week before travel. And, if you’re renting a car, get a confirmation from the rental company a car seat will be available. If you can’t get a solid confirmation, it might be a good idea to take a seat with you.
Build Extra Time into Your Itinerary
When it was just the two of us, my wife and I could pack and get out the door in no time. We were the couple on time for everything, the ones who complained when anyone was late. Oh, how the tables have turned.
Now, it takes much more time than expected to get out the door. And that’s just in normal life. When we travel, we need to take getting to the airport, going through security, gate-checking a stroller, and boarding the plane into account—all with a baby.
We’ve also used this approach to plan out our activities when we get there. Morning and afternoon naps are part of our itinerary and we haven’t planned a lot of set activities. With the necessary exception of a Padres game, everything else will fall into place around naptime.
Plan Travel Activities
Keeping the baby happy on the flight is probably my top concern. Having her entertained will make life better for everyone around. We plan to download some shows onto a phone, but at a year old, my daughter is more interested in eating electronics than sitting still and watching. For us, tactile play will be our saving grace.
We’ll also pack a few favorite small toys and will introduce a couple new ones throughout, too. Exploring and playing with something new will hopefully keep her mind occupied for a while. Another great idea is to bring a deck of cards for her to play with.
But, even better than entertaining her is letting her sleep. We went as far as to shop airlines for flight times that matched up with her nap time.