“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?”
Way To Make Flying With Kids Easier If you are a frequent flying family, get a Trunki (the website has Canadian stocklist info). These hard cases double as ride on toys that make it fun and fast to get to your gate. Your child takes a seat, holds onto the horns and you just pull them along. They work with children ages three to six, and the case is big enough to hold a weekend’s worth of kids toys and clothes.For kids under three, you might want to consider investing in a car seat/stroller combo, which can be used on the plane for your child to sit in, and will eliminate the need for hauling two cumbersome pieces of equipment on your trip. Reply
Hello Lauren, great tips. thanks so much for sharing! I’ve been doing lots of searches as well for travel tips and your tips are very helpful. I’m not new in traveling, but end August I will be taking for the first time a 6 months trip and yes with a bag pack for the first time ha ha. I just lay out all the clothes that I want to bring with me. I still have to sort out what I actually need to avoid overpacking. Considering I’ll be traveling around in S.America where weather varies a lot from one country to another , packing is a little bit tricky I find. But you are right when in doubt do not bring them! I need to check out the solid shampoo and conditioner. i have dry shampoo as well but they only come in 200ml, was looking for something smaller. Will also check out HERE maps and make use of the camera on google translate! As you can see your post is really helpful! thanks a lot and keep sharing ;-)
While the above search engines are great, they do not always include small airlines, especially in less popularly booked routes and/or in remote regions. If you’re flying somewhere obscure, Google search and ask around if there exists a local airline. While in South America we learnt that the LADE Air in Argentina (run by the military) has cheap flights to Patagonia, which is of course not listed in mass search engines online.
43 Most tourist accommodation isn't particularly child-friendly, so once you've checked in you'll probably need to make some adaptations yourself. Start off by checking locks on doors and windows to make sure the room is secure. Check the sturdiness of the fittings - wobbly balconies and railings are unsafe and mean you should change your accommodation straight away. Point out things such as loose towel-rails or curtain rails to the staff and either agree that you can't be responsible should they fall down, or ask for them to be fixed or removed. Use insulating tape to cover exposed wires or sockets or block them off with furniture that's too heavy for your children to move. It's also a good idea to check the temperature of the hot water; it's often scalding, so you may need to warn your children.
CLEAR: Faster Than TSA PreCheck TSA PreCheck lines are getting longer and longer as more people enroll in the program. Well, the greatest thing to come along since TSA PreCheck is called CLEAR. It is a paid membership service that uses bio metric data to confirm your identity and expedite your wait time for airport security. Basically, you get front of the line access for TSA Pre or other lines instead of ...
Pick the Right Carriers: The airline with the best record for luggage handling over the past two years? Virgin America, which averages just 0.88 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Following close behind: JetBlue (1.88) and AirTran (2.02). American Eagle, on the other hand, averaged 6 incidents per 1,000 passengers.
Before your plane takes off, there are some procedures to go through that may be alarming if this is your first time flying, but all of these are completely routine and contribute to safety on board. You'll be shown how to buckle your seat belt, what the different lights on the seat ahead of you mean, and what to do in an emergency. Remember, every flight has to go through this process, partly due to the existence of first-time flyers like yourself!
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!
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.

16 Hand-held carrycots are superb for babies small enough to carry when on the move, and can double up as a bed, too. Although some hotels offer beds for babies, they're often pretty poor, with saggy mattresses and no shields to prevent babies from falling out. It's better to play safe and bring your own. Most carrycots come with a detachable cover for the body and a shade for the head, and some have a built-in net screen as well. Apart from the obvious protection against the sun and bugs, these are useful for blocking out glaring ceiling lights - such as in airports - which tend to bother babies. Travel cots that break down into several pieces and pack away into their own bag are useful for babies and toddlers too large for carrycots. Carrying babies in a sling strapped to the body is a popular option; both hands remain free and you can detect changes immediately, sensing the moment your child wakes, sneezes, or has a stomach cramp. Slings are the perfect travel aid: they're comfortable, practical, and fold away into no space at all. They're suitable for babies over a week old, measuring at least 53cm tall and weighing more than 3.5kg, and the best ones have wide straps that distribute weight, are machine-washable and have a back or neck support for the baby.


When you can, minimize. Getting through an airport without a stroller is unthinkable for some parents, so consider switching out your regular-size stroller for an umbrella stroller. If you've got more than one little traveler with you, consider a kid harness (leash), Wendy suggests. "I was so against them until I saw a woman with three young boys using them in baggage claim. It made so much sense," she says, "with the exit doors to outside right there. Look, flying is stressful enough. Do what you need to do to protect your kids and your sanity."

Snacks – For older babies that have started solids. Fruit, yogurt, bars, all good. I never thought I’d be a pouch carrying mom, but the organic food pouches that have nothing in them but actual food and a bit off water are amazing for travel. And if they are over the 100 mL limit, security usually makes an exception for baby food. I love the brand Smowl, but I don’t know if you can get it in the states. You can probably order them online. They make baby smoothies in pouches with coconut milk, quinoa, fruit. She loves them.
According to Flight Radar and Plane Finder websites, a small number of airlines overfly areas that are riven by conflict, and in some cases, where ISIL exercises control on the ground. Most of these carriers are based in Syria and Iraq. Many more of the airlines operating between the Gulf States and Europe fly over the Arabian Peninsula or via an air corridor over western Iran.
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. 🙂
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.
I have a funny story that your peeing story reminded me of as the same happened to me. Even though I was begging the driver to stop I wasn’t successful so… I guess my bladder made some Universe magic happen as 2 minutes later the bus broke down in the middle of a bridge in the highway so I ended up peeing behind the bus, facing the cars, my partner covering me with a jacket. I’m a woman so… it was pretty funny and yes, people quite laughed at me but whatever… I was about to burst so who cares jajajajaja

I am sorry to hear the you got scammed in your travel. That is a very awful experience. But what is inspiring is that you were able to survive and manage such ordeal in your journey. I can’t believe you even experienced Tsunami, that is so scary. Thank you for sharing all of your travel tips it is very helpful. I think that I will keep in mind all of your tips especially travel insurance. It would be hard if you would get injured and get forced with spending thousands of dollars, especially if unprepared. I want to avoid that situation.


I absolutely love these tips Matt! They are super humorous but so true. I love the money belt one actually. I plan to sew a secret pocket into my pants for my emergency cash – I read that somewhere and thought it was a good point. Although, come to think of it – when I want to use the cash, how do I get it out without everyone else noticing. Hahaha. I’ll figure it out. 

On a typical flight out of Australia today, seat pitch – the distance between any point on a seat and the same point on the seat in front - is 78-86 centimetres. On a similar flight aboard a Boeing 707 in the late 1960s, it was 86-91cm. Domestic flights today offer as little as 71cm aboard some Jetstar aircraft. Seat backs are narrower on modern aircraft, which helps, but we're bigger than we were in the 1960s, and broader. Seats are no wider than they were in the 1960s.
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.
28 The low humidity of cabin air can cause mild dehydration as well as dry and irritated nostrils, so it's important to get kids to drink regularly. If anyone gets a streaming nose (also a factor of low humidity), wet the insides of their nostrils with a finger dipped in water - this often works like magic. Flying can also prompt air expansion in the middle ear and sinuses, which can be painful for babies and infants because of their smaller ear passages. To prevent discomfort, massage your child's ears from behind and give the earlobes a few gentle tugs from time to time. Toddlers also find it helpful to suck on something or have a drink during take-off and landing.

You don’t want to offend anyone while you travel, so make sure you’re aware of any offensive gestures or behaviour before you arrive. As an example, in Thailand, women shouldn’t touch monks or hand them anything, you shouldn’t touch the local’s heads, say anything bad about the royal family, use your right hand for passing people things and paying, or point your feet at someone… Do your research!


36 If the tap water isn't safe to drink, you'll need to boil, filter or sterilise your own, or buy bottled water. If you plan to use bottled water to make up formula feeds, aim to get the lowest mineral content you can. Make sure the children don't drink from taps, including when brushing teeth. Keeping a bottle of drinking water by the sink is a helpful reminder.
Great article. You had me at towels for galactic hitchhiking. “Don’t panic, in large friendly letters.” A fav in regular quote rotation in our house. I’m proud to say I live and do most of the tips! Will need to remember the incognito browsing. Who knew? And I’m definitely on #teamnomoneybelt. But I still can’t bring myself to step into a Starbucks. Can barely even do it in the states! Happy travels and thanks.

Usually you will need to take your baby out of the sling or stroller to walk through the metal detector, and usually they will want you to collapse the stroller and put it on the belt. If you’re flying alone, I recommend getting everything out you need to get out *before* you get in the security line. Stash your laptop under the stroller, liquids in a ziplock, and that way you can just throw it in the tray and not be struggling to get it out while wrangling a baby *and* folding a stroller if you have one. See below for my easy-one-hand-collapse stroller recommendation. In other situations they want someone to walk through with the baby, hand the baby off, and then walk back through alone. It helps to have a partner for this otherwise a security officer can hold the baby.
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.
I absolutely love these tips Matt! They are super humorous but so true. I love the money belt one actually. I plan to sew a secret pocket into my pants for my emergency cash – I read that somewhere and thought it was a good point. Although, come to think of it – when I want to use the cash, how do I get it out without everyone else noticing. Hahaha. I’ll figure it out.
Find the Best Plane: Not all aircraft are created equal. Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner features higher humidity and lower pressure (to minimize jet lag) and smart-glass windows that dim on command. The carriers flying the new aircraft: British Airways, LAN, and Japan Airlines. If cabin design is important, you can also look to SeatGuru and Routehappy, which both have flight-search functions that let you prioritize legroom, Wi-Fi connectivity, and seatback entertainment over, say, price and flight time.
There's an easier way to get a better seat on your next flight, and it's way more obvious than you thought. Perhaps you're in a seat in the very back of the plane, acquire a middle seat in the middle of the plane, or, better yet, you're sitting in a seat right by the bathroom. Below is my key way to get a better seat on any flight. Take a look at the upgrade list this flight the other day from Chicago to ...

Thanks for sharing the link, Hayley! I’ll check it out. The flights I buy are usually super-cheap, though, so I don’t feel as though I’m spending a ton of money on them as it is. As an example, this year, I’ve flown Lisbon to Cape Town for $250 return, Copenhagen to Los angeles for $100 one-way, and Rome to Tokyo for $200 return. So I’m not like, oh man, I really wish I wasn’t spending this much money on flights. But as I said, will check it out nonetheless!
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

Petty crime is, unfortunately, rife in most large cities around the world. Many thieves target tourist attractions and hotels, as they believe vacationers are easy targets. Handy tips include leaving your passport in the hotel safe and carrying a photocopy with you. It’s also helpful to try and keep luggage out of sight in cars and not to leave any valuables behind, even in a locked vehicle.

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

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.


3. Inside the bag, also put their ‘entertainment bag’, (I use a cloth shopping bag for this) which should be removed and carried on to the plane separately. In the bag, place their colouring pens, a small notebook, their favourite teddy, a book etc. This can then easily be placed in the pocket or under the seat, without the need to return to the big bag unnecessarily.

Whether you know exactly where you’re going or you just want to find to the cheapest possible country to fly into, Kiwi.com is a great tool to get the wanderlust going and save some big bucks. Hop on their site and enter your departure city, then select a date range to fly. Approximate costs then appear over hundreds of countries around the globe from your departure point, while the list of destinations is sorted by price, allowing you to see the most cost-effective place you can fly.
And instead of a normal wallet I take a tiny leather pouch with a zip with me on travels. It’s probably meant for keys and maybe for some coins (has two sides and it fits into palm of hand) but I use it even for notes and it’s much lighter and smaller than my normal wallet. When I’m back home and switching to it, I’m like “why the hell do I even have a wallet this heavy?” :D

All great tips! I’ve learned many of these the hard way. I’d also include carrying some stomach meds in that first aid kit, just in case. They’re usually easy to find in big cities but might be tougher if you’re in more rural areas or traveling on a day stores are closed. Plus that way you might not have to be as paranoid about eating the delicious street food!
It obviously makes it easier because, hey, no extra gear! Be willing to feed anywhere, don’t be shy. I was really worried about this when I was a new mom, like the first month. But trust me, you get over it. I don’t use a cover as it seems like an unnecessary hassle for me and an annoyance to baby. I dress for breast feeding (read: easy access!), and it’s always so discreet I don’t feel uncomfortable. I’ve been everywhere from Morocco to Japan to France breastfeeding and never once encountered any animosity or awkward situations. I’ve breastfed outside Buddhist temple gates on the steps, on the beach, park benches, everywhere. Bonus, I get to set an example for other would-be moms that breast feeding is great, natural, and normal. If for some reason you can’t breastfeed or don’t want to, don’t worry. Air planes have allowances for breastmilk/formula/baby food, and they will warm it for you. If you can’t breastfeed, I would strategically book places to stay that will make warming easy, like AirBnBs or hotel rooms with little kitchens or great staff!
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. 

If you have a child who is under the age of two—and therefore flying for free—get ready for your special one-on-one conversation with the flight attendant. They usually are less enthusiastic about this chat than they are about talking to passengers seated in the emergency exit row. The flight attendant will instruct you with super-obvious tips on how hold your baby for take-off and landing — just in case you were thinking about stuffing the little bundle of joy in the seat pocket in front of you.
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