Why Baby Travel isn’t as Bad as They Say.

By David Cummings

Many new parents have heard the horror stories about traveling with a baby and are often stressed by the thought of taking any trip, beyond the local store, with their young child. However, it is not always possible to avoid traveling with infants nor should you lose sleep over such trips. Though challenges may arise, traveling with your baby can be fun. It only takes some pre-travel planning on your part.

Perhaps you’ve heard the horror story that every parent fears: you’re traveling on a long trip, your baby won’t settle down, crying begins, everyone around you is disturbed and wishing you were elsewhere. Traveling with an infant can certainly pose its challenges but it may not be as bad as you think. With some advanced planning and a few tips, traveling with your baby can be safe and enjoyable!

Traveling by air can present its own challenges. Most airlines will allow your baby to travel free when carried by an adult, but it is better to book a seat for your baby if you can afford the extra ticket. That way, baby can ride in an infant car seat, which will make the trip safer if there is turbulence, and the car seat’s familiarity can be calming to your child and reduce his or her anxiety about this strange means of traveling.

Even if you don’t purchase an extra seat, you may want to consider bringing the car seat with you anyway. You may be allowed to change seats if there are empty, unbooked seats on the aircraft. If the flight you are on is full, you can always check the car seat at the terminal and pick it up when you arrive.

Be sure to bring your baby stroller. It can be checked in at the terminal, and it will be a valuable thing to have right when you get off the plane. It will make the dash across busy airports a lot more comfortable. Toting along a stroller also provides a convenient place for your child to sit when you stop at an airport eatery and your arms are busy carrying meals.

Bring a bottle for your baby or be prepared to nurse on the plane. Takeoffs and landings will be more comfortable and less frightening for the baby if he or she has something to suck on. This will also help normalize pressure in his or her ears. Have your baby’s ears checked by a pediatrician before the trip, if there is an ear infection that isn’t showing symptoms yet, it can be incredibly painful for your baby when the air pressure changes during flight. Nasal congestion will have the same effect.

Remember this simple rule: a sick baby and airplanes do not go together well.
Trips by car are a different matter. Although a car trip poses its own challenges, many parents tend to find this an easier way to travel. If traveling by car, you will have to make frequent stops and the trip will take longer than it would if you were not traveling with your baby. The best thing parent can do is to accept the fact that there will be more stops and be sure to plan for it – lack of planning for the extra stops is often causes parents the most stress when traveling.

Infants need some time outside of the car and away from the car seat. As babies get older, the more he or she will want to be out of the car seat. A 9 month old child, for example, is used to spending most of his or her day exploring and trying new physical skills. Confinement to a seat for several hours can cause your child to become irritable. Be sure to stop from time to time and give your baby a breather, and let your child take in things with his or her senses. There are a lot of nice rest stops along America’s highways and many of them offer marvelous scenery to enjoy.

Although many people have heard the stories of how difficult traveling with a baby can be, don’t let these stories stop you from enjoying your time traveling with a baby. Yes, you may have some challenging times during the trip but this is a great opportunity for your to spend quality time with your baby while your child is getting a chance to explore new and exciting territories. But, before you leave your house, don’t forget to pack a small bag of toys and snacks to keep your infant entertained on the ride.

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David Cummings is a devoted parent and husband and a regular author on many family topics. He is devoted to helping parents build better family time together and to ensuring a brighter future for all children through his contributions to children-based organizations. David is also the General Manager for Bustling Baby, LLC – a company that knows the business of parenting and offers a wide variety of products to make family travel easier, such as the Safety 1st Eurostar Travel System