"The reason is simple: We like to avoid responding to call bells from the front of the plane because answering one means potentially flaunting whatever item the passenger has requested to everyone else along the way. This can cause a problem since planes often don't have enough extra vodka, pillows, earplugs, and toothbrushes, or the time on shorter flights to deviate from the service schedule.

Tapping into the wisdom of expat parents, who almost always have loved ones situated on other continents and can't always convince those dear folks to pop over to Nairobi, Tokyo, or Helsinki, here are some tips for getting through even the most difficult flight. One American mum living in Beijing says she thinks of her journeys "in stages - like a military operation." Here, then, is a battle plan.


Exercise caution in duty-free shops. "Not everything in duty-free is a bargain," says Janice Mosher, director of the Customer Service Center for U.S. Customs. "If you really want that bottle of perfume, find out what it costs in your local department store first." And consider the three-ounce rule when stocking up on things like alcohol and olive oil. "If you are transferring to another domestic flight after clearing customs in the U.S., you'll have to put your liquid duty-free purchases in a checked bag," Mosher says.
If travelling for a long time, take your own device that can pick up wifi, like a smartphone or tablet. We didn’t do this because we didn’t want to bring an expensive item backpacking, but it turned out to be incredibly expensive to use the internet, or impossible to find any. Yet there is free wifi in places all around the world, and you quickly realise how often you need to tap in to things like bank accounts or travel bookings. More: 10 ways to cut your smartphone roaming costs
Like most savvy travelers, Cocchi dresses in layers — like a T-shirt under a warmer shirt or jacket. Carol Cruikshank of Palo Alto, Calif., who has traveled worldwide with her husband for decades, says she usually wears three layers of tops: a shell or tank under a long-sleeve tee, and a jacket or sweater so she'll be comfortable for a range of temperatures. "I stick to dark colors because, well, I've been known to spill my food down my front."

This is the best way to build your travel confidence and is especially easy in Southeast Asia. There are many benefits to it, too: you’ll get to discover cool places that aren’t listed online or in the guidebooks, you’ll be able to look at the rooms before you commit to staying, you can negotiate on price, and you’re not tied to a specific schedule where you need to be somewhere because you’ve booked your accommodation already.
Starting at ten weeks-old, I’ve flown with my children at every age and stage, and now we’re in the midst of tweenhood. In these posts, I share my concerns and the reality of our flights. They weren’t always easy or vomit-free, but I don’t regret any of them. And I speak from experience when I say that flying with infants and toddlers does get easier as they get older.

Brilliant tips. We’re off for six months with our baby who’ll be 12 weeks old by then. Good to know that packing light is possible! We’re trying out a few travel cots at the moment to try and figure out the best one. Did you use the cot for outdoor as well? We were thinking it might be handy for the beach. Any advice in terms of clothing? Obviously she’ll grow a lot while we’re there but we don’t want to take a load! Thanks for sharing your experience.
It’s good to have a budget to stick to, but most people tend to go over. Start saving as soon as possible (like, now) and aim to bring more money than you think you’ll need. The more money you have, the more you’ll be able to treat yourself to nicer accommodation, splurge on fun tours, and not spend your entire trip worrying that you’ll run out of cash.
Many first time flyers worry about arriving without the necessary paperwork to board their flight, and this can make for a nervy first trip to the airport. The main point to remember here is that the most important document is your passport: make sure it's up to date and ideally has at least three months to go before its expiry whenever you travel internationally.
48 Apart from taking photographs, there are lots of ways to help your children preserve memories of your trip. You could buy a postcard for each destination and help them to note a single memory on the back, alongside the date or their age. You could also get them started on collections of things that can be found in most places, such as badges, paperweights, model cars and boats or toy animals.
Many first time flyers worry about arriving without the necessary paperwork to board their flight, and this can make for a nervy first trip to the airport. The main point to remember here is that the most important document is your passport: make sure it's up to date and ideally has at least three months to go before its expiry whenever you travel internationally.
THANK YOU so much for this!! I just found out that I’m pregnant, and my husband and I are determined to not give up our love of travel when baby arrives. It’s wonderful that you have been able to share the world with your girl! Thank you so much for sharing all of this incredible knowledge and experience, and for demystifying the concept. This makes me even more excited to become a mom 🙂
"There are very few free or discounted upgrades. The travelers that might get a free upgrade due to rearrangement of capacity or seats are given to those travelers who pay the most or travel the most with our airline. Join the airline's frequent flyer program — it makes a difference when a gate agent might need to move someone into a better cabin."

I’m sorry, but sometimes a parent has no choice but to fly with an infant. My husband is in the military and we have to move across the country. We have no choice, but to fly with our 5month old because I’m not going to torture my baby with a 5day drive across the country just for others comfort. When flying you are in close proximity with a lot of people and it won’t always be a pleasant experience. Perhaps you need to prepare yourself to accept that you are in a public space and the world does not revolve around you. Get yourself some noise cancelling head phones or don’t fly at all.


This may be a fluke for our particular itineraries and that our starting airport is almost always Tel Aviv, but with the timing and everything else we generally opt to take a layover in Europe (we usually need to get to Miami first when flying to the states and can check bags through if we stop in Europe whereas a long flight to JFK then a flight to Florida means customs, getting bags, rechecking bags, etc etc etc).
Here's where the pros part ways ... sort of. Both Bishop and Partridge recommend that passengers avoid alcohol altogether if they want to leave the plane feeling rested and refreshed. But common sense is the key. "Personally, I like a glass of wine to help me to sleep," says Craig Cocchi, a Silicon Valley executive whose work takes him frequently to Asia. And Dial says she'll occasionally have wine with her onboard meal, but limits it to one glass. One thing everyone agrees on: Overindulging is a no-no.

Hmmm, it really depends on which countries you’ll be visiting and how you’ll be travelling. During my first year, I stayed mostly in hostels, spent the majority of my time in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe and was on a tight budget and spent around $11,000. Last year, I was travelling on a mid-range budget — lots of Airbnb apartments and a few splurges in luxury hotels — and spent my time in Western Europe and Australia/New Zealand and spent $20,000.
Thanks for the great post! We have done road trips with our son before, but we’re planning a trip to Europe (and his first flight) in early summer when he’ll be 1 year old. I was hoping to get clarification on whether you think we’d need his carseat. We’ll fly into Berlin to visit family with 2 young girls, so we can use their carseat when they get us from the airport. Then we’ll fly to Copenhagen without friends/family to lean on! It sounds like we can take a train to/from the airport there, so would we need a carseat for that? We were hoping to just travel with the Ergo, no stroller. In general, if we’re just walking and taking trains, there’s no need for a carseat right? Pre-baby we traveled for a month with just a backpack each, so we’re hoping to still travel as light as possible! Also, if you’ve been to Copenhagen, any spots you’d recommend? Thanks!
Once you've shown this at the check-in desk, staff will issue you with a physical boarding pass: this shows information like your flight number, the time it's scheduled to take off and your seat number. It's also what will grant you access to the aeroplane, so try not to drop it in the excitement in your first trip 'airside'! Check out our tips for getting through airport security fast and our comprehensive airport tips page for additional advice.
Don’t get discouraged over a cancelled flight just yet. The best way to handle an off-schedule flight is to call the airline as you wait on line at the ticket desk. There’s a good chance you’ll reach a phone agent first. Equally as important, you won’t have to negotiate with the same frazzled agent who’s dealt with dozens of similarly disgruntled fliers. These are the things airlines won’t tell you, but every flier should know.
49 If your children are keeping a journal, encourage them to draw and list things they see and eat; they could also collect autographs and doodles from people they meet as well as ticket stubs and labels to stick in. If free mini-maps of places you visit are available, get extras for the children to stick into their books, and help them circle the places you've seen. If you're encountering different languages, put in lists of new words and add more as they learn one set.
This was our third trans-Atlantic flight with kids. When we made our first trip as parents, our son was nine months old. I did my dutiful research online and found a few handy tips for traveling that I still find useful today. Being prepared is the biggest key to traveling with kids. On the last flight we took prior to having our second child, Toby vomited several times. We had spare clothes for him, but nothing for us. A clean, fresh smelling T-shirt in the bag will do wonders for a sleep-deprived parent and sick child.
Many major attractions allow you to reserve your spot and skip the line. Always look online to see if this is an option. This will you to avoid wasting time in multi-hour lines and go right in. I’ve seen people wait hours for the Paris Catacombs, Louvre, London Churchill War Rooms, churches, temples, historic fortresses, and more. Pre-book the day before, skip the line, get to see more during your day!
While a last-minute upgrade might seem like a good idea—especially if you often find yourself falling ill on flights—the seats in the middle of the plane are best for those with motion sickness. “A plane is like a seesaw. If you’re in the middle, you don’t move as much,” Patrick Smith, pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential told Reader’s Digest. Here are some more secrets your airplane pilot won’t tell you.
Water, that is. This is one tip nearly all of our experts were quick to mention. "Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate," says Jerry Bishop, a commercial pilot who's flown mostly trans-Atlantic routes for the past 18 years. "It's really just common sense, but you don't realize how much flying takes out of you." San Diego-based travel writer Cynthia Dial says she tries to drink a quart of water for every four hours she's in the air. Bobby Laurie, a former flight attendant whose nationally syndicated travel talk show "The Jet Set" debuts next year, says he always travels with his own water bottle, whether purchased in the airport or a refillable one from home (most airports have filtered water fountains), to hold him over until beverage service.
6 If you're going down the hotel route, always check for special family deals, from discounted rates to free meals for children; many international chains offer these. Most hotels and guesthouses provide breakfast, but unless it's included in the room rate, it's often a waste of money for children, particularly if they only eat a piece of bread or a bowl of cereal. If breakfast isn't included, try asking for 'complimentary' ones for the children. Alternatively, you could take along something to snack on for the first day, and buy in a simple breakfast to eat in your room thereafter.
Love this. Everything about it. Our friends thought we were insane taking our little lady everywhere with us. She’ll be two next month and we’re squeezing in one more international trip before then (infant in arms saves so much!) I think her flight count will be 50+ at two years. Only thing I’d add in is specific remedies I bring for colds, headaches, restlessness etc. Bach’s Rescue Remedy has been a lifesaver for us!
After passing through security, be sure to stock up on enough water for everyone to get through a possible delay and have enough left for the descent--the most bothersome time for ear pressure discomfort. Have them drink some right after takeoff and then make sure they start drinking again during the last 30 to 45 minutes of the descent. The swallowing helps with the pressure and gives the added hydrating benefit.
5. Have your child travel in footie pajamas. Our eldest wore his sneakers over the feet on this journey and loved it. They will like the novelty of traveling in pajamas, you will like the convenience. If there is a diaper blow out or vomit incident, it is nice to only be dealing with one item of clothing. It is also then easy to pack for such emergencies: you only need a few extra sets of pajamas each instead of full outfits for each child. Unless your child is prone to messy situations, I recommend two spare sets.
I had the Barclary Arrival credit card and it was super easy to earn AND redeem rewards. At the time I had to put $3,000 on the card within the first 3 months and then I got 60,000 points, which was about $625 in travel credit. Plus you get 10% of your redeemed points back. So I booked us 2 roundtrip flights from Newark to Orlando and a hotel outside of Newark – earned the points for those purchases and then I was able to go into my account and pay the travel portion of my bill with my points, plus get 10% of them back. Super easy! We also booked an AirBNB in Providence, RI that would have cost us $275, but was free because of rewards. Also, no foreign transaction fee, which is nice if you are leaving the US. I cancelled it after the first year though because I was just churning it for the points and didn’t want to pay the $89 fee after my first year was up. Something to think about though!
A poorly timed pre-takeoff bathroom break could hold up the entire flight. “There’s a sequence to taxiing and getting in line for takeoff,” Sara Keagle, a veteran flight attendant and blogger at TheFlyingPinto.com, told Woman’s Day. “If somebody gets up to use the restroom, we have to tell the cockpit, and they have to stop the plane and wait until the person is back in his or her seat and buckled up. During that time we could lose our spot in line.” Learn some more secrets flight attendants won’t tell you.
Wow, seriously Michelle should not fly with other human beings! I have flown with twins since they were eleven months old with no issues. As long as adults realize these are infants, and I am doing realistically the best I can – supplying them with fluids to swallow during takeoff and landing to help with cabin pressure changes….traveling during their regular sleeping times so as not to disrupt their sleep patterns; a little empathy is appreciated.
Your tips are great, and I definitely agree with #1. Like you, we started off traveling as a couple. In fact, we met when we were both backpacking through Southeast Asia, specifically Vietnam. Now that we have a toddler, we tend to pick family-friendly vacation destinations. This year, we traveled to Barbados for two weeks. The beaches are amazing, the food is awesome, and most importantly, the locals are very friendly.
Good advice. Here’s a dozen more. (1) Packing a towel: get a thin, cotton towel used in Turkish Hamams. They pack to nothing; dry out fast; double as a sarong, Mosque head covering, or picnic cloth. (2) Universal sink stopper – don’t leave home without one. (3) As much silk, light cotton, Gor-tex, and synthetics as you can tolerate. Dries fast, light weight to pack. (4) Prescription scripts – diabetics know this is critical; others can use the advice as well. (5) Money belts – absolutely use them!!!!! (6) Lunchtime museum visits – check opening hours!! MANY close at lunch. (7) Locks: Yes, but add thin fishing lead wire (loops on both ends). Lock luggage together or to the overhead bin of buses and trains. (8) City Attraction Cards: some work; most don’t unless you want to race from museum to museum. Do the math first. Often transit cards are a better deal than the full event cards. (9) MAJOR sites/museums: book admission times/fees on line in advance. Why stand in line at the Louvre, etc. when you could be inside appreciating. (10) Double-check all opening hours on line and ask TIC what sites are closed (for renovation; lack of funds; you name it). All guide books, no matter how useful, are out of date the minute they hit the stores. (11) Learn to use Kindle (or similar) for travel reading but as NOT guide books (worthless). (12) Location, location, location. Sometimes, that cheap hotel/hostel/apartment in the boonies is worth the savings, but not if you want/need a quick refresher in the afternoon. AND, always ask floor level and elevator availability when renting an apartment! European floors begin on the “ground” level, not “first floor” — and the stair cases can be very high. Not all of us are twenty-something Australians who can climb mountains with full packs.

I wanted to add this to your comments to encourage your followers to do it- travel with your babies/toddlers/preschoolers/kids/teens and if possible, your adult children. It can be troublesome as you have pointed out, and is as much work as it is play sometimes. But it’s so worth it! At 24 and 26 our daughters are still enthusiastic about traveling with us (next trip Amsterdam/Tunisia/Morocco/Paris) and now they take over much of the planning. It’s also a thrill to be connected to your kids through the memories of your shared experiences. Soon they will marry and have families, and maybe we won’t be ale to travel together as much. So seize the opportunities when they are young!


Hello, I’m Carrie, and I hope you find this site useful? I have over 12 years flying experience as a long-haul flight attendant and have visited over 60 countries. Since becoming Mum to two little girls (now aged four and seven), we’ve also travelled extensively as a family – my husband is Australian so that includes some ultra long-haul flights and holidays. We have picked up plenty of tips for travelling through the baby, toddler and pre-schooler stages!
Bring a car seat for your child. "Car seats aren't just safer for children," notes Veda Shook, a flight attendant who has been with Alaska Airlines for 16 years. "They also help kids stay calmer, since they're used to being in them." Shook suggests investing in a car seat-stroller combination. "The seat slides right out of the stroller part, which you can check at the gate," she says.
Kiwi.com, on the other hand, will mix and match airlines (including budget airlines) in order to find you the very cheapest route. For long-haul flights especially, this can make a huge difference. The same search on Kiwi.com returns a route at $459.80 USD via JetBlue, Norwegian Air, and Vueling. That’s a savings of $171.40 USD, and the travel time is even shorter!
You’ll learn a lot about yourself and how to become independent. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Traveling solo taught me how to fend for myself, talk to people, and handle unfamiliar situations with ease. It’s made me comfortable with myself, helped me learn about what I’m capable of, and allowed me to be super selfish and do whatever I want! It can take some getting used to if you’ve never done it before but do it at least once. Make yourself uncomfortable and surprise yourself. You’ll learn valuable life skills when you push yourself!

First you need to find your seat, and ensure all your cabin luggage is stowed away correctly. Most flights, particularly longer ones have assigned seating, so look for a number followed by a letter on your boarding pass such as '11 D'. The number relates to the row you'll be sitting in, while the letter refers to whether it's an aisle, window or middle seat. The cabin crew - who will be wearing anything from glamorous hats and heels to baggy tees in airline colours - will be happy to help you find your seat and put your luggage in a safe place, which may be in an overhead locker or under your seat.
Seating advice? Got a couple of long-haul flights with my very active 2.5 year old son this summer, without hubby. Do you recommend that we go for an aisle + middle seat (easier to get up and move around, go to bathroom, etc, but no access to window and potentially more disruptive) or window + middle seat (he can watch the commotion during takeoff and landing and be further away from other passengers, but we will bother the aisle-seated passenger when getting up which we will surely do often). Any thoughts? Am already dreading this! Reply
This may be a fluke for our particular itineraries and that our starting airport is almost always Tel Aviv, but with the timing and everything else we generally opt to take a layover in Europe (we usually need to get to Miami first when flying to the states and can check bags through if we stop in Europe whereas a long flight to JFK then a flight to Florida means customs, getting bags, rechecking bags, etc etc etc).
I love the tips! Thanks for sharing. With our first, we flew with him for the first time when he was 6 months old. We flew from Toronto to Hawaii which was def. a haul. He’s probably flown over 20 times since then (he’s 2 and a half now). With our second, we started early – 7 weeks early. I even flew a 4 hour flight with the two of them SOLO! And survived to tell people about it… lol
I love that you put try the local food at the top of the list. I have friends who love to travel but will never venture outside of restaurants like McDonald’s and the Hard Rock Cafe. These are also the friends who have gotten sick more times traveling then any person I know. Best advise is to look for the long lines of locals outside a restaurant or food stall and get in the line.
I do a lot of these. My big one is arrive early. The day I’m traveling is a travel day. I’m not doing anything else, so I arrive at the airport early and I enjoy the lounge via my Priority Pass Card (a life saver). Interesting that you’ve received compensation when your in-flight entertainment system hasn’t worked. I’ve had this happen numerous times on Thai Air. Definitely no compensation of any sort, and flight attendants can get down right snarky when they have to reboot the system. Like you, I always carry my own entertainment! 🙂
"There are very few free or discounted upgrades. The travelers that might get a free upgrade due to rearrangement of capacity or seats are given to those travelers who pay the most or travel the most with our airline. Join the airline's frequent flyer program — it makes a difference when a gate agent might need to move someone into a better cabin."
It is almost May. I’m slightly alarmed by this. Not just because the year is zipping by, and I’m wondering how I squandered away all that time with so little to show for it (Whither the sample chapter of the great American travel memoir, Everywhereist? Whither the clean laundry you were going to do?), but because I am coming up on another anniversary.
Brilliant tips. We’re off for six months with our baby who’ll be 12 weeks old by then. Good to know that packing light is possible! We’re trying out a few travel cots at the moment to try and figure out the best one. Did you use the cot for outdoor as well? We were thinking it might be handy for the beach. Any advice in terms of clothing? Obviously she’ll grow a lot while we’re there but we don’t want to take a load! Thanks for sharing your experience.

This was a great read. I enjoyed all of your tips, but number 3. Don’t Expect Things to Be Like They Are at Home has really stood out for me. This is one of the primary reasons most of us travel, because we are tired of seeing and doing the same ol’things. If we can afford it, we may want to journey out for a change and see new things, and we’d hope this new scene is not like our home residence. Lol! We want to see something new. The world is entirely too big for us to just stay in one place. I bet you’ve learned lots on your travel. 🙂


We tend to book AirBnB’s because it often gives us access to a washer/dryer (clutch) and a kitchen (clutch if your baby is on solids or if you’re not breastfeeding or if you’re pumping). At the same time, most hotels can provide a baby bed (and housekeeping, hooray!) and many have little fridges for milk storage and will happily heat bottles. There are also plenty of handy travel warmers you could try, though I won’t recommend any because I haven’t tested them myself.
When I was in Peru in 2010 with the intention of hiking the Machu Pichu Trail,that year there was massive floods and we were not allowed to do that hike.I had a Goretex jacket,hiking poles and boots ,and also I purchased some things along the way ,I had another 50 days left of my trip in South America and I did not want to carry all this extra stuff in my pack sack,one of the guides told me / us that we should send it home , from Lapaz Bolivia,where postage was cheap ,about $40 USD. Doing this I saved lots of space and weight,if you want to buy something some where sent it home ,mail parsel post.
On many short-haul flights, carriers will allow you to take a bag or case that's big enough to take most of what you’ll need for a long weekend or city break. This allows you to keep all your belongings with you for the duration of the flight, and means a quicker getaway at your destination. You're also more likely to be charged extra for storing baggage in the hold, so it's good to travel light, particularly when flying with budget airlines. Check out our guide to flying budget airlines for more specific advice on what you can expect.
Many major attractions allow you to reserve your spot and skip the line. Always look online to see if this is an option. This will you to avoid wasting time in multi-hour lines and go right in. I’ve seen people wait hours for the Paris Catacombs, Louvre, London Churchill War Rooms, churches, temples, historic fortresses, and more. Pre-book the day before, skip the line, get to see more during your day! 

Eula actually clocked in 6 months old in Morocco, and we waited to let her try solids until Paris just because we didn’t want to take any chances with food born illness. Now at 13 months, I happily let her nibble off of my street food here (I’m writing this from my friend Emma’s flat in Marrakech!) Once we did introduce food, we let her try things at her own pace and we really let local norms guide us. If local children ate it, we let her eat it. I still avoid giving her raw foods (like salad) in countries where the water isn’t very clean because not only is the food not cooked to kill bacteria, it’s washed in the water. That said, I make an exception for fruit with skins and things that can be peeled.
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