TRAVEL TIPS // here are my top 10 travel tips to help make things smoother for travel:
(1) pack your diaper bag wisely // so hard not to overpack! for the duration of our flight (4+ hours) & with eliott being almost 6 months old, i packed 4 diapers, thin stack of wipes, an extra set of long sleeve shirts, pants & socks (gets chilly on the plane), 2 burp cloths, 2 8oz bottles, formula for two feedings (see #3), hot water in a s'well bottle (to clean used bottles in the bathroom quickly), 1 packet of teething wafers, 2 teething toys (ones that didn't make noise), & a thin swaddle to use as a blanket. also, opt in for a diaper backpack; see my post here on mine.
(2) bring a baby carrier // we placed eliott in the ergobaby to make the security check line & overall process easier...he ended up passing out in it. success! // buy
(3) for formula-fed babies, pack ready made 2oz formula bottles // eliott still feeds on formula but i didn't want to deal with powder & water so we purchased these smaller pre-made bottles that allowed us to pour 2oz at a time. also, most formula expires after an hour or two, so you can't refrigerate opened containers (i hate wasting formula!). pouring 2oz at a time was convenient & less wasteful // buy
(4) purchase a car seat gate check bag // most airlines will check-in your stroller or car seat for free. luckily one of our friends gave us an extra bag to put our car seat in to help keep it clean, scratch-free & easier to carry. we did not check-in our stroller (see #5) but checked in our car seat along with our luggage. sub-tip: make sure you seal the bag tightly. we flew into indy during a thunderstorm, & our car seat was a little wet when we picked it up because we didn't tighten the drawstring tight enough // buy
(5) leave the heavy stroller at home & buy an umbrella travel stroller // this saved us so much room & hassle during our trips, & we were able to check it in at the gate. i researched a few models & ended up buying the summer infant 3D light convenience stroller. it reclines into 4 positions (wonderful for bottle feeding & naps), has decent storage, collapses easily, has an convenient handle to carry once collapsed & only weighs 12 pounds. its a bargain for only $80. we took this thing everywhere. probably the most used baby gear of the trip // buy
(6) nurse, bottle-feed or use the pacifier during take-off & landing // this was the #1 tip i received from parents. eliott was asleep for each instance so we didn't have an issue with this...thank goodness!
(7) select a direct flight to your destination // not sure if this works for everyone, but for me, the less moving i had to do, the better!
(8) take advantage of priority family boarding // most airlines will call up families with young children to board first. i've heard two different perspectives on this - either take them up on the offering or wait at the terminal until you're the last few to board. i understand why some families would opt to wait (less waiting in a confined space) but for us, getting on the plane beforehand helped us settle & get our carry-on bags in place without feeling super rushed.
(9) make friends on the plane // i had heard of parents purchasing alcohol or snacks for neighboring seats on flights, but i wanted to do something a little more personal to make "friends" with fellow travelers in case eliott got fussy & disruptive. i was able to find all my supplies on amazon a few days before to make goodie bags to distribute. so glad i put in the effort to put these together -- we received lots of smiles, laughs & "he'll do great" encouragement. (items i used for the goodie bags below)
(10) save the small momentos // i kept a couple things for eliott's baby book such as his first plane ticket (our airline had one for him although he was a lap seat) as well as his "first wings", a small pin the stewardess gave us once we boarded.
wait one more...
(11) convince family to fly with you & help // wink wink wink!
what are your travel tips?
DIY FIRST-TIME FLYER GOODIE BAG