Today's post is more about saving your sanity than saving money, but that's important when you have a baby! Thanks to Celinda Hoover for this guest post. Celinda had the lucky blessing of following a singleton with twins, so she's a baby-wrangling expert:
Traveling with kids of any age can be a stressful event forboth baby and parent. With practice, though, it will get easier! Here are a few tips to help your budget and your sanity:
Have a Pack ‘n Play waiting for you on the other end. Most airlines will charge you to check this piece of luggage, but a little-known tip is that hotels will gladly set one up in your room if you ask. Going to visit Grandma? If she doesn’t have one, have her borrow one from a friend.
Your car seat and stroller check for FREE with most airlines. If you plan to fly frequently, consider purchasing a car seat bag. Most airlines now charge up to $5 for each car seat bag they give you, while you can buy one for around $20 new. The airline version of these bags are not reusable, so one round-trip flight will cost you half of what a new bag will. You can also use it to stash a few “extra” things for baby… diapers, favorite blanket or even your coats that you don’t want to carry on the plane, but need to take with you. You only get 50 pounds in your luggage bag, but most airlines don’t weigh car seats.
Consider checking your stroller with the rest of your luggage, not at the gate. Most people check their stroller at the gate and there is nothing wrong with that. However, remember that your stroller is required to go through the x-ray machine. Which means, you have to unload baby, all of your stuff and fold up the stroller. If you are traveling alone, this means doing it all one-handed while holding baby in the other. I always preferred checking my stroller early and carrying baby in a baby Bjorn. This gave me two hands to get through security and then I just had to run the baby Bjorn through the x-ray.
Dress baby for comfort (and you too!).You have to remove your shoes at security, and I’ve even been made to remove my young child’s shoes as well. Put kids in PJ’s if you are going to arrive late at night and for infants a sleep ‘n play is the way to go anytime of day.
Packing your carry-on can be overwhelming and back-breaking. What do you really need and what can you live without? Remember it all has to go at your feet within reach, and you have to carry it. I use a backpack for easy carrying, which allows me to have my hands free. For older kids, the keys are snacks andtoys. A new toy goes a long way, and a portable DVD player is a bonus!For infants, carry at least 3 more diapers then you think you'll need, 3-4 servings of formula powder and at least one extra outfit. Stick the outfit in a zipper bag, so you can use it for a soiled outfit if needed.
If possible, feed your baby during take-off and landing. This will helpclear your little ones ears to adjust to the pressure. For older kids, alollipop works well.
Ask for an aisle seat. This way you can easily get out of the row and pace with baby if needed. Or, if your child is mobile, they'll be able to stand or walk up and down the aisle.
Change baby’s diaper right before boarding the plane. While many planes now have a changing table in at least one bathroom, they're small and hard to use, depending on the age of your child. That's fine for accidents or can’t-wait changes, but avoid the hassle of having to use them just for wet diapers.
Traveling solo with a child? Need to use the bathroom? Most flight attendants are more than willing to cuddle with your child for 2 minutes whileyou use the bathroom. Yes, it can be frightening to hand your child over to a stranger, but where are they going to go with them at 30,000 feet?
Remember, your child is a little person who has thoughts and actions of their own. You can’t always control them, and they are going to express their opinions through crying. Ignore the people around you who may glare or offer their suggestions of “help.” How quickly people forget a crying baby is harder on the parent then it is on the stranger!