One of the first lessons I learned on the road was that your plans will nearly always change. You’ll arrive in a place and hate it and want to leave immediately, or you’ll fall in love with a destination and want to spend longer there. You’ll make friends with a group of awesome people and want to change your plans so you can travel with them for longer, or you’ll find out about an amazing town that’s nearby and want to head there instead.
Don’t be the person who asks the flight attendant for a pencil and a cocktail napkin out of desperation. Make sure you bring ALL of the following items on board with you: Portable DVD player, iPod, iPad, Kindle, Nintendo DS, LeapPad, colouring books, sticker books, pop-up books, crayons, markers, pencil crayons, stuffed animals, Go Fish playing cards and a series of dry-erase books. (Just don’t forget the dry-erase markers).
When my wife and I travel with our two girls, one of us handles the kids and the other person gets to sit in a “sanity seat.” Basically, one person is stuck with the kids, while the other person is in a child-free paradise in another part of the plane, eating sandwiches with those other couples. When things get bad, you simply switch seats with the other parent so that everyone shares in the misery. If I’m sitting in the “sanity seat” and I hear my kids wailing and screaming at the back of the plane, I often turn to the person next to me and say, “Geez, some parents just can’t control their children.”
“Make sure they have taken care of all bathroom needs prior to the plane ride and be mindful of liquid intake afterward and its impact on bathroom frequency. It may sound harsh but know that we cannot always accommodate an emergency bathroom trip. This last weekend I had a dad come up to the front just as we were taxiing, telling me his son ‘really needs to go poop and can’t wait.’ I had to tell him no! If we’d let him in the bathroom, we would have had to take a delay, which is a cardinal sin in the airline world!” —Christie Poulton. 

Thank you so much for this post! I will be traveling to a few countries this summer when my son will be 14 months. Can you provide any insight to traveling with a toddler now that your daughter is older? I’m a bit stressed out thinking about how to deal with the time changes and him sleeping on the flight (red eye thankfully). What toys to pack to occupy a toddler? I’m trying to tell myself to just go with the flow as much as we can!
Making the travel your priority seems to be a really important tip. With my income I can afford 2-3 destinations a year, each about 5-7 days and so many of my friends ask me how do I find money for the trips. Everytime I eplain that after paying the basic bills and stuff I need I try to save all my money and invest them in traveling. It is not so diffucult to travel, it just needs some serious planning if you are going to do it on a budget.

The one thing I really have to disagree on though, and think you’re mad for not doing, is collecting points and airmiles. I cottoned on to this a few years back and every single trip I’ve taken since then has been by using airmiles and reward flights. I’ve travelled to Thailand, Finland, Croatia, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Germany, Norway and more – all with points and just paying the taxes in cash. It saves a tonne of money and even if you use budget airlines most of the time, if you pay with a points-earning credit card then you can still collect points to use on airlines where you may want a better quality experience, for a longer flight for example. I would seriously recommend American Express – I’ve had the Amex Gold, BA Basic and BA Premium Plus cards. I’ve also just applied for the Lloyds Avios rewards visa and mastercard combo for when we spend a year abroad, which also comes with 0 fees on foreign spend and earns you points. If you want more info, I find this really useful:
1 If this is your first trip with your children, plan for a slower pace than you might usually attempt. If you want to see more than one place, be realistic about what you can cover with little ones in tow. The less you feel you have to pack in, the more enjoyable and stress-free the holiday - and you'll be better able to take the odd day indoors in your stride if the weather is bad or the kids need to rest.
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.
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.
"It's not exactly in the middle of nowhere." That's what I find myself saying whenever someone says to me, "I'd never go on a transatlantic cruise." I have to admit, while not exactly in the middle of nowhere, there isn't a whole lot of activity going on around you, except maybe for an occasional whale or dolphin sighting. You do feel like you are out there all alone. Kind of.

Double-check foreign document requirements. Some countries―like Chile, Kenya, and India―require a visa for entry; others, like South Africa, won’t allow entrance unless a traveler’s passport contains at least two blank, unstamped pages. You need to be aware of such requirements before you make your flight reservations or you could get stuck Stateside, according to a source at the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. For a complete list of entrance regulations, visit travel.state.gov/.

9. If your child is old enough, do however, let them bring their own carry on. Last year, our flight was severely delayed by volcanic ash over Iceland. We were saved by a fellow traveler, with a two-year-old and a Trunki full of toys. We bought one as soon as we landed, and this recent trip was the first time we had our son travel with it. They can pull the case as a distraction to keep them moving, they can sit on it and you can pull them along, it can contain enough toys to keep them occupied for any delay. I heartily recommend the Trunki, but anything that will roll for them, and that has a nice arm strap for you if they tire of it, will work. If you are bringing a backpack, don't let them bring a backpack unless it is small enough for you to carry as well, they will get sick of it at some point.

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(!)
27 Some airlines let you check in online, which allows you to book preferred seats from home and cuts out queuing. When you get to the airport, you usually join a fast-track queue to hand over your checked luggage. Similarly, train stations which feed airports occasionally have check-in facilities, meaning you're then free to board the train with the children but without the bags. Some airlines allow you to check in luggage in advance, sometimes as much as a day before you fly. Though you have to make an advance trip to the airport to do this, the advantages are that you get to turn up a little later than usual on the day, and will have your hands free to tend to your children.
We had a pretty rough go on our way home from Kauai–with a near 45 minute scream session. I tried to stay calm, and just hone in on taking care of his needs, and did my best to ignore the stares & groans. Our little guy finally passed out for about an hour only to wake up and start again–then I was able to distract him with my old-timey phone with actual buttons (rather than a touch screen) 🙂
Find an Independent Lounge: Airspace has a small network of lounges in domestic airports, which American Express Platinum card members can access for free. In Asia and Canada, look for spaces from Plaza Premium ($49 per visit); No. 1 Traveller ($45 per visit) and Servisair ($28 per visit) have lounges throughout the U.K. Services such as Lounge Pass (from $35 per visit) and Priority Pass ($27 per visit, plus $99 annually) partner with airlines and independent companies to offer access to locations worldwide. 

When she was tiny I was hyper-vigilant, using sanitizing wipes on everything. And I think when they are little and their immune system is developing, it’s not the worst idea to wipe down the tray table, arm rest, and other hard surfaces that nasty stuff could live on. That said, the older and tougher (haha) she gets, the less I stress about it. When she started crawling, I let her crawl on the floor and would wipe her hands off afterwards. But we can’t put our babies in bubbles, and the truth is that if you’re clean but not maniacal about it, it’s going to ultimately build their immune system. So as she got older, I got less neurotic, and that seemed to work fine. My husband, however, would definitely prefer she not crawl on the floor! So we are balanced in that way, he protecting her from germs and me shrugging and being like “Eh! Good for the immune system!”
Seriously. If you do only one thing before you leave, make it getting travel insurance. I’ve heard far too many horror stories of travellers injuring themselves in remote places and ending up in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt. Don’t think that it won’t happen to you, because you know those travellers they thought that, too. I use World Nomads for my travel insurance provider and I’ve been really happy with them.
It was wonderful reading your blog. The tips are informative and very helpful. I totally agree with points 2 and 6. During my previous tours, I had to cut visits due to lack of time. Talking to the locals can help you get a better insight into the places. During my last travel, I got good help from the locals to find the best affordable restaurants to try the local food.
3 If your children have special needs, it can be helpful talking to parents whose children have similar conditions, and who may have useful travel tips - try disabledfriends.com or youreable.com. Getting an identity bracelet that has details of your child's medical condition, treatment and their doctor's name is useful in case of emergencies (medicalert.org.uk).
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.

Better to pick up a coffee, tea, or water bottle at the terminal—the stuff on board can be downright dirty. For one Wall Street Journal piece, reporters packed samples of water from the galley and lavatory taps of 14 different flights and tested them for quality. “The results of our water-quality snapshot: A long list of microscopic life you don’t want to drink, from salmonella and staphylococcus to tiny insect eggs. Worse, contamination was the rule, not the exception: Almost all of the bacteria levels were tens, sometimes hundreds, of times above U.S. government limits,” they wrote. Eek.


Even if you have a well-traveled infant, all bets are off once they enter the world of young toddlerhood. As things change for your little one, you need to change your expectations, and come up with new tricks for managing sticky situations. Flying with a toddler is no exception. And young, pre-verbal toddlers can definitely give you a run for your money. Read More…

When it comes to travel, your flight(s) will likely be your biggest expense. Save money by signing up for flight deal websites like Scott’s Cheap Flights, The Flight Deal, and Secret Flying. You’ll get epic flight deals straight to your inbox, saving you time and money. Also be sure to sign up for airline newsletters, since that is where they will announce their sales first!


On a lot of domestic flights, an infant in lap flies free, but on some airlines and on most international flights (in my experience) there is a small (relatively speaking) fee for the baby. Sometimes it’s difficult to pay this online, so I usually call and let them know I’ll be traveling with an infant and pay the fee over the phone. For instance, to fly with her from Atlanta to Tokyo with Delta is about $200 but there’s no (discernible) place to pay this when purchasing tickets online, so I just call when I’m done booking and add it on. You can also do it at the airport but that can be stressful…remember you have to beat all those other babies to the bassinet!
My biggest parenting struggle is waitressing for two demanding, often rude customers (who, by the way, always neglect to tip). The same job challenge holds true for flight attendants, who love to receive a certain gratuity that most toddlers also appreciate. "Any kind of chocolate found in an airport, handed over at boarding, does wonders," says Patrick. Of course, it will have zero effect on the random bad-tempered, unprofessional cabin crew member. But it's a nice gesture nonetheless, particularly when flying around the holidays, when most flight attendants will be working and away from their families. "It will be so appreciated," he says. "And we will remember you and look out for you. And not only that, you'll probably score a free drink out of it."
“Infants have very small Eustachian tubes which allow the pressure to equalize in their inner ears. This can mean a lot of pain and crying during takeoff and landing because little kids have no other way to tell you their ears hurt. Having something for them to suck on during the ascent and descent, like a lollipop or pacifier, will help lessen the pain—for everyone.” —Mike Gudmundson. Here are 7 more ways to soothe your kids’ ears on your next plane ride.

As an ex flight attendant and soon to be mom, it’s nice to see a thought out and practical article! Snacks are a must as not many airlines have baby/todler friendly snacks on board. On international flights, breast milk/formula can be heated/chilled if needed. Many airlines have amenity kits for moms and baby. Just ask! Cabin crew are not allowed to WALK with an infant in their arms while on board. It’s a legal thing, but holding for a few minutes is usually ok! International carriers have baby bassinets so try to get a seat at the bulkhead if you can. Hope this helps!
I carry a spare 300 USD that’s split up in various places in my backpack, daypack, and occasionally, my shoe when I’m nervous I’ll be robbed. It means that in a worst case scenario, I can pay for some food, a dorm bed, and a Skype call to my family to get an emergency wire transfer until I can get back on my feet again. I went with U.S. dollars because it’s the most widely accepted currency around the world and easy to change.

Though common decency would dictate that the money you paid to check your bag, get some extra legroom, or board early would also be refunded in the case of you getting bumped or severely delayed, airlines don’t always offer it up. Make sure to mention the fees you paid when negotiating any compensation or refund. If you’re nice, and your agent isn’t having a bad day, they’ll sometimes give you that stuff gratis on your rescheduled flight as a gesture of goodwill. Again, the key words here are “if you’re nice.” Be nice.

10 If you're travelling to a country in which malaria is endemic (check the list of affected countries at who.int/ith/en), you need specialist advice on the appropriate antimalarial medication. You'll also need to make sure you take ample supplies of insect repellent, clothes to cover everyone up in the evenings and, if the place you're staying in doesn't have them, bed-nets impregnated with insecticide.


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.
We don’t have family near us, so we knew we a would be flying quite a bit with an infant. We opted for the Doona car seat/stroller – it’s incredibly easy for travel since the wheels are built into the carseat itself. It also buckles into any car without needing a base, so it’s great for cab rides. It will probably only with for us until he’s 1yr, but it’s totally worth it to us.
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.
8. Bring one carry on, and only one carry on. You no longer need a book to read, you no longer need your own snacks. You can no longer use your carry on in place of checking luggage. Once you have filled a bag with the essentials for a long flight, you won't have the strength to carry anything else, and you will appreciate only having one bag to keep track of in a busy airport.
We had a pretty rough go on our way home from Kauai–with a near 45 minute scream session. I tried to stay calm, and just hone in on taking care of his needs, and did my best to ignore the stares & groans. Our little guy finally passed out for about an hour only to wake up and start again–then I was able to distract him with my old-timey phone with actual buttons (rather than a touch screen) 🙂
Skyscanner Co-founder Bonamy Grimes has a clever solution for that desperate moment when nothing seems to make it all better: “stock up on toys, but make sure you hold back a favourite teddy that you bring out on the plane, and keep one in reserve for the way back.” There is always the risk of losing a cherished companion in transit, which is heart-breaking, so whenever you buy them a soft toy, buy two and if the worst happens, substitute New Peppa for Left-On-Plane Peppa.
The Best Way to Make Long-Distance Traveling Comfortable Almost everyone knows what boredom feels like. Now imagine being stuck in an airborne metal tube for hours on end. That would definitely take a toll on anyone, especially if you’re traveling abroad to places like Sydney, Australia, France, or Latin America. In fact, anything that takes more than five hours to get to can feel like an endless mission. ...
Let’s say you’re bumped from a flight, but the airline still manages to get you where you’re going within an hour of the original arrival time. You’ve got no cause to complain, really, other than just being a dick, and you’re not going to see any compensation. BUT, if you arrive between one and two hours past your original arrival time on a domestic flight (or between one and four hours for international), they owe you compensation of 200% of the one-way fare to your destination -- up to a maximum of $675. And for domestic flights arriving more than two hours later, you are entitled to 400% of your one-way fare -- the US Department of Transportation (DOT) requires they compensate you in cash, up to $1,350.
Matrix Airfare Search, Kayak, Momondo, Hipmunk, Skyscanner and Expedia all have strengths and weaknesses, but they won't necessarily give you the same fare, even when they respond to your query with the same route, on the same day and aboard the same airline. Only by scouring multiple search engines will you find the rock-bottom airfare. Since these search engines earn a commission if you proceed to a booking, they do not usually scan for flights aboard budget airlines.
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!
If you’ve ever looked into flying with babies you’ll know that there are so many variations in the charges and regulations involved with taking your baby on a flight. Different airlines have different rules. Some charge for one thing; while with another it’s free. Check out the table below which explains all of the variations parents need to be aware of when flying with babies.
Canada has the world’s longest coastline, so there’s a lot of places to swim in summer. It’s also home to many freshwater lakes. But remember to not enter the water unless you’re a confident swimmer. Be aware of the ocean’s strong currents, and don’t dive off head first into any of Canada’s rocky oceanside cliffs. Adult supervision of young swimmers is also paramount.
You think you won’t forget anything, but you will. You won’t remember the name of that lovely girl from Oslo you hung out with for a day in Marrakech, you won’t remember the name of the hostel you loved in Beijing, you won’t remember the conversation you had with that dude in a pub in Sydney. Keep a journal to remember those small details because you’ll treasure them in a few years.
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
One of the first lessons I learned on the road was that your plans will nearly always change. You’ll arrive in a place and hate it and want to leave immediately, or you’ll fall in love with a destination and want to spend longer there. You’ll make friends with a group of awesome people and want to change your plans so you can travel with them for longer, or you’ll find out about an amazing town that’s nearby and want to head there instead.
Great list of travel tips Dave and Deb. I would like to recommend to fellow travelers to book in very last minute, ideally on the day when you travel, to get the best rates. Most hotels and hostels are willing to give you half rate or even better price just to not have a free room (which does bring them exactly 0). I booked couple of rooms for just $1 with this method on my trip to Japan!
Depending on your airline and duration of the flight, you may be served one or more meals on the plane, as well as drinks (including a limited amount of alcohol) and snacks. You'll already know if these refreshments are included, as you'll have been asked about your dietary requirements when you booked the flight. If you weren't asked, food and drink will normally be served but you will have to pay extra for it. Don't worry if you forgot to bring cash: most planes are now equipped with electronic card readers.
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. 

Don’t try and trick your kid with the whole, “Just close your eyes and we’ll be there” routine. No person sitting in economy class has ever gotten a restful sleep in the history of commercial aviation and your fussy child is certainly not going to be the first one. So just ride out the storm …and hopefully you can find that new parent friend of yours that has the children’s Gravol.


Some people are anti-screen entirely. I get that, and if you are, try those wonderful cardboard books that baby can’t tear up. We certainly don’t shove her in front of a TV or computer as a babysitter or as a recreational activity for her, but when you are stuck on an airplane or in a car with a screaming baby, I personally have no problem playing her favorite nursery rhyme show on YouTube, “Dave and Ava”. We call it “the big guns”. Bonus there’s an app so we have it even when we have no internet like on flights or far flung destinations. She’s loved “Dave and Ava” since she was a tiny baby, which surprised me, and she loves it still, even after a year old. When things are urgent and we’re desperate, it always works to calm her down and keep her occupied, well 98% of the time. Excellent for the above scenarios or say a mad dash we’re-going-to-miss-our-flight-if-we-don’t-hurry packing scenario where a screaming baby isn’t tenable. Make sure to download the app on your phone for when there’s no cell service/wifi (i.e. on a plane). It’s expensive—like literally the most expensive app I’ve ever purchased at $24.99—but it’s been worth every mind saving penny.
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.
Although most airlines will allow you to fly with an infant on your lap for free, it’s extremely dangerous. “If there’s any impact or deceleration, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose hold of your kid, and he becomes a projectile,” the pilot Patrick Smith told Reader’s Digest. “But the government’s logic is that if we made you buy an expensive seat for your baby, you’d just drive, and you’re more likely to be injured driving than flying.” The safest place for a baby to fly is in an FAA-approved car seat. Watch out for these other things you should never, ever do on an airplane.

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
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.
All these tips are great, but I truly appreciate the perspective about Sunrise is better than Sunset. I know I am probably in the minority here, but the freshness of morning is a rebirth for me. And a dazzling sunrise does more for lifting my spirits than almost anything else. Whatever problems I had yesterday, now, with this new sunrise, I have a chance at a fresh start. (Don’t get me wrong…I love a romantic sunset too!)
Airlines sell tickets at different price levels, much like tickets are sold for sporting events. If there are two tickets left for $99 and you try to book four tickets -- but the lowest price level with four tickets available is $299 -- ALL four tickets will be $299. Those two cheap ones stay on the market. So book tickets individually: it’ll ultimately save more money for the folks who book first.
What happens if you arrive in a city, go to grab your email confirmation for your accommodation, and your phone and laptop are out of battery? I always make sure I have a hard copy of my guesthouse name and their address, as well as directions if I won’t be taking a taxi. Once I arrive, I’ll grab one of the hotel’s business cards, so I’ll always know where I’m staying, and can show it to locals to ask for help with finding my way back.
The Best Way to Make Long-Distance Traveling Comfortable Almost everyone knows what boredom feels like. Now imagine being stuck in an airborne metal tube for hours on end. That would definitely take a toll on anyone, especially if you’re traveling abroad to places like Sydney, Australia, France, or Latin America. In fact, anything that takes more than five hours to get to can feel like an endless mission. ...
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.
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