So many tips here that I live by. After 5 years on the road I came to #4 (kids). Recently had a month in USA and happily did #12 (blow budget) but we have come back and said to ourselves that it’s not really worth those massive big budget blowing trips with our little one only being 2 yo (almost 3) as she can get great fun out of almost anything. We took her to Disneyland and her best time was a bench seat that had old tractor seats on it!
If your ticket was booked as a sale fare, says former flight attendant Laurie, you might not be able to find a seat to reserve online. But sometimes the airlines will release "premium/for-purchase" window and aisle seats 24 hours before departure. And if you still don't have an assignment just before boarding, the gate agents may upgrade you to an unsold premium economy seat because they're the only available seats left.
“Most people remember to bring extra clothing for the baby but you’ll need some too if there is a major diaper accident or vomiting. It also helps to consolidate your belongings into one diaper bag so you are not fumbling with a whole mess of bags.” —Christie Poulton, flight attendant for 19 years. Now learn more secrets flight attendants won’t tell you.
6. If you have a child who suffers from motion sickness, I have discovered from experience that children are worse when they have little control over their situation. For my son, he gains comfort from knowing how far we have to go, how long that will take etc. I also carry a collapsible bucket (from a marine store) made of canvas with a plastic bottom. I take a roll of plastic bags with me and double line the bucket in case of any vomit-events. Again, for kids, if they know if they are sick, they won’t be sitting in a putrid stinky mess for the rest of the flight, this helps. I just pull out the plastic bags, double knot them and get the hostie to dispose of them. They are usually super happy they you haven’t left it for them to scrub out of the seats(!)
Airlines are required to regularly update the public on the status of delays of 30 minutes or more. But keep in mind that it is sometimes difficult for airlines to estimate the total duration of a delay during its early stages. Weather that had been forecast to improve can instead deteriorate, or a mechanical problem can turn out to be more complex than initially evaluated.
Use a packing checklist: One new toy or book for every hour; an empty baby bottle for water; a change of clothes; plastic zipper bags; baby wipes; extra jackets and blankets; headphones; iPad; cups with lids; clothespins to fashion a tent over a baby's bassinet; snacks; pacifiers; Dramamine for kids who suffer from motion sickness. Don't load up on too many diapers, because you can buy them at your destination. A diaper bag doesn't count as a carry-on, so pack it with a few diapers and fill the rest with other stuff.
Seriously, f%&^ this. After suffering through a baby that screamed from the US to an hour before landing in Germany I am seriously done with people that travel with kids. I took my child on the first flight at age 9, intentionally. Most kids travel okay, but when they don’t, you literally ruin the flight for like 30 people around you. It’s not cute to give people a baggie with treats saying I’m sorry, this is my first flight – it’s rude and selfish on your part.
In almost all flight situations, people with small children are allowed to board priority. Get it! It really does make a difference being able to get your stuff in the overhead bins and settle in before the plane becomes a giant human traffic jam. Especially if you’re traveling alone with baby. The same goes for security lines. Not always, but often times you can find a security agent who will usher you to the front, to the priority line, or to a family line. For instance, in Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK) there’s a family only passport control line, and in Barcelona there’s a family security line complete with little playpens to put babies in so they can’t run way! Score! Sometimes, however, there isn’t. Like in Paris Orly. Sad clown. So take what you can get and always ask if there’s a priority line and/or look for one.
Same! Dave and I regularly talk about how, if we wanted to get me a spouse visa for New Zealand and had to prove our relationship was genuine, we’d only have around a dozen photos of us from five years of being together! I’m also wishing we had more so that we could have a big memory wall in our apartment — it’s not quite the same when it’s just a load of landscape shots.
Since being named a Forbes Top 20 "Social Media Power Influencer" two years in a row, attorney Glen Gilmore has become a sought-after international speaker and thus frequent international traveler. But when you stand 6'5", an aisle seat is a must, especially on long-haul flights — but not every aisle seat offers the same value. One of the most unanimous tips our pros offered was using SeatGuru http://www.seatguru.com/ to get a map and description of the seats on your flight, so you won't get stuck at the back of the plane with no room to recline, or next to the heavy-traffic bathroom area.
Even the most seasoned travellers sometimes get confused by airline rules about baggage allowance but as a flying newbie, the first thing to get your head around is the difference between cabin and hold luggage, then to look into whether or not you need to take both: usually, if you're travelling long-haul (that's a flight that lasts six hours or more), you will want to 'check in' at least one piece of hold luggage which you'll need to leave at the check-in desk before boarding. It'll then be returned to you at the other side, where you'll need to identify it on a luggage carousel.
Okay, while it’s not ideal, I have changed diapers in the seat next to me, on the tray table, on the floor, on the ground. Whatever. When you’re on the move, just get done what you need to get done. We carry a light weight, compact little blanket (it’s a swaddling blanket by Solly—they fold up really small) exclusively for changing as opposed to a bulky mat. It puts something between her and the environment (and the poor environment and her!) without taking up a lot of room in our carry-on/diaper bag.
Some people will want to take advantage of you, but the vast majority of people you meet when you travel are good, decent, and will want to help you. Don’t let bad experiences prevent you from trusting anyone again. As long as you have your wits about you, expect that tuk-tuk drivers or anyone who comes up to you with amazing English and wants to be your best friend for no reason at all is out to scam you, and be most wary of the people in the most touristy places, you’ll be all good.
You never know when something small or big might happen or when you might have a parent freak out and want to see a doctor over essentially nothing at all. From fevers to scary looking bug bites, we’ve definitely taken her to the hospital/doctor while abroad at least twice. Our travel insurance (the kind your purchase when you purchase your plane ticket) reimbursed us easily for the expenses.
No child wants to eat the hand-carved roast beef sandwich that is featured in the airline’s menu. And by the time the snack cart gets to you in the back of the plane — where they banish all of the children — there are no more sandwiches available because all the childless couples have devoured them up front. You are likely stuck with the option of either Cool Ranch-flavoured Bugles or something called Vegan Crisps. So make sure you bring ample snacks on board. A bag of surprise gummy bears when things are really melting down can be a more effective lifesaver than those oxygen masks.
In the U.S., gate checking your stroller means it’s there when you deplane. Elsewhere, you might be picking it up at baggage claim— and carrying whatever was in it. Skip the gate check and travel with an ultra compact stroller like the Mountain Buggy Nano, which takes all infant seats (no adapters necessary) and can be stowed in the overhead bin in its carry bag.
There's not much we can do to assuage that passenger who complains the moment your child sneezes or giggles. Here's what you need to remember: As long as you're trying (and what parent isn't?), you've got almost everyone on your side. "An adult having an issue with a screaming child is acting like a child as well," offers a flight attendant and mother named Patience. "Don't engage. Just worry about your own child." Keep in mind, too, that you don't know who you could be dealing with. As Lynn, a flight service manager told me, he's seen many planes reroute when these arguments got physical. Disengage the crazy so you can disembark as intended.
Disasters happen. It’s always good to have a backup in case you get robbed or lose a card. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere new without access to your funds. I once had a card duplicated and a freeze put on it. I couldn’t use it for the rest of my trip. I was very happy I had an extra and not like my friend, who didn’t and was forced to borrow money from me all the time!