All of the gear, the bags, the bag check fees…traveling with kids can be a task! Not to mention expensive with all of the things that kids need, especially the younger ones. Save yourself some trouble and do a little research first. Most destinations have everything that you need on the other end!
Did you Know: Most airlines will check a car seat at no charge. Check ahead just to be sure, but most offer this service. You may also want to buy a seat protector or wrap it to keep it clean. Most airlines will gate check a stroller for free and have it ready when you get off of the plane. Save your back and energy trying to carry your bags and a baby or toddler. A small folding stroller can make a huge difference for everyone traveling. Baby food is ok to bring through the checkpoint. Milk, water, juice, baby food in any quantity, up to the amount necessary for the trip is allowed.
Car Seats: Most car rental locations have an add-on option for infant seats, car seats and boosters. Another option is to purchase a cheaper car seat upon your destination. The trade off of baggage fees and purchasing a car seat cover, and also carrying the extra weight may be worth it to you in the end. Purchasing may be better suited when visiting family or friends and they can handle the purchase ahead of time. Or, ask if they have a friend who may have an extra one for you to borrow.
Baby Equipment Rentals: I did a quick internet search and found these websites. Check your destination, most cities have baby gear rentals, and some companies are nationwide.
Baby’s Away – Locations nationwide USA, Alaska & Hawaii
Kauai Baby Gear Rentals – Kauai, Hawaii
Napa Valley Baby Gear Rentals – Napa, CA
Traveling Baby Company – Locations nationwide USA
Snacks: Pack fun snacks and a special treat, something that the kiddos don’t normally get. When you need a little distraction, snacks can be a helpful tool.
Books, games, toys: Pack a few new ones and a few old ones. Additionally, even if you normally limit screen time, this may be a good time to make it a “treat” to watch a movie or a special program on a device.
Journal: For older kids, bring a new journal to document their trip. They will love writing about the adventures!
Pajamas: Sometimes it helps kids to travel in pajamas, especially for longer or night flights. The coziness may help them sleep better in the air.
Gum, Bottles, Breast Feed: For little ears that need to pop, gum for kids that can chew gum works great. If your your child still takes a bottle or is breastfeeding, start feeding them for the decent down to land.
Pack Light: If you can…easier said then done, but if you can limit what you bring you will be glad in the end! You can always purchase items when you land if you find that you need more. Save yourself the task of over packing and regretting it.
Diapers: This is the exception to packing light. Pack more diapers and wipes then you think you will use. When you need them, you need them! Also pack and extra outfit or two for kids, and one for you. You never know when a blowout or spit up might hit.
Identification: Remember to pack identification for everyone. If your child does not have a passport, you can also use a birth certificate for domestic flights. Check with your the airlines. International travel – you will need a passport.
Safety: Make sure that you have a plan if your kids get lost, and make sure they know the plan too! For the little guys, write your contact information, their name and any other information to identify them and you down on paper and put it in their pocket. No pockets? Put the information in their shoe and under their foot.
Plan Ahead: Arrive early so that you are not stressed or rushing. Kids will pick up on your emotions so take a calm approach to increase your chances of a smooth trip. Also, everything takes longer when traveling as a family. Make it a fun experience by allowing plenty of time!