So, your baby is a jet setter
The experience of travelling with your infant is memorable. People are now living all over the world and it’s becoming increasingly necessary to travel with infants at a young age.
Infants are great to travel with; they are not yet walking, talking or even eating much of solid foods. They also usually travel for free as a lap passenger up until the age of two. However, different airlines have different regulations, so be sure to check with your travel specialist to confirm.
If it’s your first time flying with a baby or you’re simply looking for some advice, we have compiled our top tips for successful flying with babies under the age of one.
Tip #1 prepare your travel documents
All infants need a passport to travel internationally. If you are planning to travel as a solo parent, be sure that you have a consent letter or other supporting documents, such as birth certificates and immunization records.
Tip #2 set up a doctors appointment
Approximately 6-8 weeks before you travel is a great time to go and see your family doctor. A general check-up is beneficial before travel, as well as information on travel clinics/vaccinations that will be necessary for your destination. Ensure that your baby’s monthly immunizations are on track and obtain documentation to prove their status.
Tip #3 get comfortable with the rules and regulations
As mentioned above, all airlines have slightly different policies when it comes to travelling with infants. Be sure to ask your travel professional prior to travel so that you can be prepared. Questions to ask include:
- Do infants under two travel for free?
- Are families travelling with infants eligible for priority boarding?
- What seats/aisles are not permitted for bassinets, travel cushions, travel seats, etc?
Tip #4 book seating in advance
There are different seating options available for families travelling with infants. As a general rule, the front of the airplane is a more ideal location as it’s quieter and experiences less vibration from the engine. When checking in, request to be in a row with an empty seat. Of course, this is not guaranteed, but if the airline can accommodate, they are usually willing. Bulkhead rows can also be a good idea for parents, as they are typically equipped with an area to hang/place a bassinet (on longer flights). The only downside to bulkhead rows is that your carry-on bags will not be accessible during takeoff/landing. If you choose to opt for a regular seat, we suggest an aisle seat.
You will also need to consider if you want to travel with a car seat or have the baby on your lap. With a car seat, you will need to book a seat for your infant. Everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to travel, so this comes down to a personal decision that parents need to make.
Tip #5 check any items you’re able to
To make things easier, we suggest checking whatever you can. Strollers, car seats (if not being used on the airplane), large toys and baggage can all be checked at the gate. This allows you a bit more space to move about the airport quickly and with ease. Slings and carriers are a great way to transport your baby during travel and will come in handy once at your destination.
Tip #6 be strategic with your carry-on
Your carry-on is your lifeline during transit. Pack what you need to last you at least 2-3 days. Unforeseen circumstances may arise, and you might not have access to your checked baggage for extended periods of time. Pack enough diapers, wipes, change pads, clothes, snacks, toys and soothers to last you a few days. The temperature in the airplane and in airports will fluctuate, the best way to prepare is to dress in layers and bring extra clothes for blowouts and environmental changes.
Enjoy the experience
Often parents are very apprehensive about travelling for the first time with an infant. However, it is a special time and something that you will want to remember forever.
Be flexible, do the best you can, and remember that it’s a short period of time until you get to your destination. Be open to napping and feeding schedule fluctuation and recognize that babies are also affected by jet lag.
If you are thinking of flying with babies under the age of one, contact one of our experienced travel specialists. They will take care of all the travel details allowing you the time you need to prepare for the trip.