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.
“Would any passengers travelling with small children or passengers needing extra assistance please proceed to the gate now.” Those are sweet words to hear over the loudspeaker, because quite frankly, the early boarding privilege is the only known benefit to flying with small children. It’s the airline’s way of saying, “We know you’re going to have a hellish five hours. So why don’t you at least make sure you cram your carry-on luggage into our tiny overhead compartments before everyone else?”
You see that photo of me on the beach? Half an hour after it was taken, there were at least a hundred people there. I managed to explore the ruins of Tulum on my own and without the crowds simply by being there when it opened. Arrive early for everything and you’ll get to experience major attractions at their least busiest. Plus, sunrises are pretty.
At Rough Guides, we understand that experienced travellers want to get truly off-the-beaten-track. That’s why we’ve partnered with local experts to help you plan and book tailor-made trips that are packed with personality and stimulating adventure - at all levels of comfort. If you love planning, but find arranging the logistics exhausting, you’re in the right place.
2 If you are travelling with another family, or adults, before you go, discuss what each person wants to do, agree how to split chores or take turns minding the children, and talk about the balance of spending time together and apart. Come to an agreement about the way you'll split the bills (taking into account the smaller share of expenditures for the children).
But there’s no perfect model. “Parents ask me to recommend the lightest possible car seat but that’s irrelevant,” adds Dr. Baer. “Even light convertible seats will weigh 10-12 pounds, and the average seat can weigh 25 pounds. I tell parents to stop thinking about the weight of the seat and think about how well it can be secured in the plane and in the cars available in the country you’re visiting.”
15 If it looks like you're going to be weighed down with mountains of bags, you may want to send on suitcases and bulky items such as prams via a baggage delivery company. You'll pay around £70 to send up to 30kg of luggage one way between European countries, and £110 between the UK and US, but prices per kilo come down the more you send, and you'll get better rates if you send things a few weeks rather than a few days before you travel. Try firstluggage.com or carrymyluggage.com for a quotation.
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.
This is number one for a reason, mostly the bassinet part. You’ll survive in any seat on a short flight, though an aisle is super preferable for getting up to walk or change the baby. On most international flights there are baby bassinets that fasten to the bulkheads. You often can’t actually reserve or book them. However, I always call in advance and put in a request for one—they can note that you requested it on your ticket. It doesn’t hurt. The key is to show up early and beat the other babies! I’m only kind of joking. They are often (depending on the airline) doled out on a first come, first serve basis at the gate, so it’s essential to be early for your flight so you can be there to nab it. I also research the layout of whatever plane I’m flying and book the seats closest to the bassinet. You usually can’t book the actual seats because they are set aside for people with babies, such as yourself! We have managed to get the bassinet on every long haul international flight (and there have been many). Show up early, for real. And always call before to see if you can reserve it or at least put in a request. And note, the maximum weight allowance is usually between 20-30 lbs. This is a great comprehensive resource that covers policy by airline.
But I’ve learned a ton from my experiences, too. To celebrate seven years since I stumbled my way out of the U.K. and began a life of full-time travel, I’ve compiled an enormous list of my biggest and best travel tips. These are all things that I wish someone had told me before I started traveling, so I hope you’ll find them useful, inspiring, educational, and entertaining.
Airlines are able to pay up to $3,400 on lost bags and their contents. In order to receive a full payout, report lost luggage as soon as possible—many airlines have tight deadlines for filing claims. Submit your report before you leave the airport and keep all receipts related to unexpected expenses caused by the loss. You might be able to get a refund on those, too. By the way, these are the airlines that are least likely to lose or damage your bags.
Flight attendants urge parents to pack enough essentials for the flight. "Unfortunately, you can expect there to be zero food on a plane that would interest a kid," says Lynn. "And we are so limited in what we can offer in terms of comfort items as well." On the flip side, parents will struggle if they zealously overpack. "Usually, when it's one parent traveling with one or more kids, they'll bring way too much stuff in an attempt to keep their kids happy," Wendy says. "They forget they have to carry all that stuff off the plane with them, along with their kids."
27 years ago I flew with a 20 month old child to New Zealand from the US. We flew New Zealand Air and they had a seat belt for a child like the seatbelt they demonstrate with about a foot long with the female and male end on each end of the strap. You looped the seatbelt through your seat belt and then around the child. Never saw this on any other airlines so I made one and took it with us on many long trips we took with our children.
If your flight is canceled because of something the airline did (as opposed to the weather), they are required by law to feed you and put you up in a hotel. You also receive a full refund for a canceled flight within seven days. The EU has its own set of delay compensation guidelines as well, ranging from 250 euros for short flights delayed under three hours up to 600 euros for flights between EU and non-EU airports that originate in Europe. That means if your flight home to the US is delayed, you’re still entitled to compensation. These rules still apply for many European-held islands in the Caribbean, like Martinique and Guadeloupe.
Leave the disciplining at home. I don't mean let your child run wild and beyond their usual constraints, but if you are working on something with your child and it comes up on the plane, well you are probably best to not use this as a learning experience. Just stick a pin in it. Keeping the child calm is much more valuable, to this mom and passenger, than using every teachable moment. Those around you will appreciate it.
This is an amazing article. I use to travel a lot for my business meetings. I use to stick with same schedule each time. Not planning for some really interesting things to see around. But after reading your article, I am really interested to change my complete schedule to spend some extra time looking around for some interesting local site seeing and food.
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.
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.
The result: an endless stream of nearly identical bags on the baggage carousel. The solution: mark your bags by tying a colorful ribbon, stitching a unique patch or putting a large sticker on your bags. You won’t see other passengers pulling your bags off the carousel to check for their tiny name tags, and you’ll be able to see your suitcases come out the door from miles away.