Travelling with Babies & Toddlers
I know this gives a lot of people anxiety at the thought of boarding a plane with your babe. You’ve heard the horror stories and you really don’t want to be “that” family. I had the same feelings when we took our first flight with our then 10 month old walker.
But, trust me, it really isn’t as bad as what you’ve heard. If you’re organised and prepared, it can be a total breeze.
We have taken many flights with our babes over the past few years visiting family in Brazil and New Zealand, some challenging and some plain sailing.
I’ve now found a good rhythm of what works and what doesn’t and I’m hoping my experiences can help guide you with your next family vacay!
Now obviously I’m a little bias about this subject, however, I truly couldn’t have survived my flights without a Baby Carrier.
There are so many reasons why you would choose to Babywear while travelling. It allows for convenient and easy feeding, keeps your little ones close and safe without having to worry about toddlers running off into the airport chaos and allows you to be hands-free while navigating all of the checkpoints.
A stroller can be helpful, however, in my experience it always just turns into a trolley for the bags. And anyway my kids are complete Houdini’s when it comes to stroller restraints!
Once landed, you collect the stroller from the baggage carousel, therefore the journey from plane to carousel can be a little challenging if the stroller is what you’ve relied on.
Baby Carriers are really the most helpful tool and look, totally hands-free!
Passing security and the x ray machines is an essential part of air travel.
You will most likely be asked to remove your babe from your carrier regardless if they are asleep or not. This does depend on the staff, so you might be lucky enough to slip through with carrier and baby still attached.
Your Carrier will need to go through the conveyor X-ray with your belongings, and then you and your babe will walk through the metal detectors together. The staff are generally quite helpful in this process and provide a change pad to pop your babe down so that you can reattach your Carrier at the other end.
Take Off and Landing
Most airlines won’t allow you to wear your babe during take off and landing for safety reasons.
So once you are seated you will need to remove your little one from the carrier and buckle them into the airlines recommended safety restraint. In my experience this differs by airline.
If you are using the wrap carrier, it's a really good idea to tie the straps at either the front or side which will make slipping your baby in and out much easier and will be less disruptive to your little one if they are already snoozing.
You can leave the carrier strapped to you, so once the seat belt signs have turned off, you can strap your babe back in easily if you need to.
And again, tie the Wrap knots at the front or on your side so you don’t have things digging into your back throughout your flight.
Choosing the right carrier for your trip is essential, you want the least amount of fiddling and tying as possible.
You may need to go through security several times if you have stopovers before you reach your destination, so a simple carrier is the way to go.
Both the Zarpar carriers are ideal, in particular the Snap Carrier, as the ease of quick fastening using the front buckles makes things simple when everyone is rushing around you.
The Wrap Carrier is just as straight forward, however, I highly recommend tying the straps at your front under bubs bottom or on your side so that you can easily access the ties when you need to readjust quickly.
Organisation and Preparation
This is the key to a smooth flight with little people. I have never been one for organisation, I generally just throw it all together and hope for the best, but this is one of those situations that it really does pay to have everything together.
And less is best - you really don't need 100 snack packs and 600 toys to keep your babe occupied. You'll curse yourself when you need to lug this enormously heavy bag through the airport and it's almost a guarantee that you wont find the exact thing you are looking for when you need it through all of the things.
As a guide:
- Pack 1 small bag with food, drinks and snacks. Young kids milk bottles and drinks are permitted through security, but you can get as much water as you like on the flight, so avoid this extra weight and maybe just pack an empty bottle.
- Another bag with nappies, wipes and spare clothes. I typically don't use wipes in our normal everyday, however, travel without them can mean constant sticky hands for everyone which just isn't fun.
- And another bag with any toys your babe may want to play with. A couple of books, a toy car or animal, and a magnetic drawing board is generally all we take. For little babes, a Tully & Pip secure tray play strap is perfect to bring along. You wont spend the flight picking up dropped toys!
If you can fit all of these 3 bags into one main carry on case, then you've just made things very simple for yourself. You'll know where everything is and where to reach what you need when you need it.
I think the most important piece of advise is to be calm and allow plenty of time for getting around. Our babes feed off our energy, they will sense our stress and become stressed themselves.
And as we all know, babies and toddlers cry, they have meltdowns and they need to release their big emotions, it's a simple fact of life - especially after long flights or constant moving around, it becomes exhausting.
Make sure you ignore the judging or sideways glances you may receive, don't let those people affect you. Don't try to 'stop' the tears for the sake of other passengers comfort. Attend to your baby as you normally would, carry them, comfort them and be their calm.
Building beautiful lifelong memories once you reach your destination will be totally worth those few hours/days of travel!
*Pictured @mahamvt in our Bohemian Sands Wrap Carrier