A past client of mine recently asked me if I had any tips for international travel with kids. Being that we have been on the road with our little person internationally since she was three months, I figured I do have a few things to share on this topic. I put together some tips. In an effort to keep the copy brief, I split the post in two. Here is part one.

  1. Extra clothes. Pack extra clothes, not only for your child, but for yourself and any other person traveling with you who might be in contact with the little one. I am not just talking about packing an extra shirt, I mean bring entire additional outfits FOR EVERYONE. All the way down to the undies and socks. You never know when that last feeding is going to rear its ugly head all over you or your seat mates.
  2. Extra wipes. I will spare you the details of the time we were on a nine hour flight over the Atlantic and our little baby had the worst diarrhea. I never knew something so foul could come out of something so sweet. Well that was the flight we ran out of wipes. It got to the point that our poor girl was being cleaned up with paper towels…her bum was bright red when we arrived. And then there was the clueless flight attendant who said, “Oh, aren’t you the cutest! You have a new outfit for every hour.” Did she really think I was changing my infant’s clothes every hour because it was cute?
  3. Order a bassinet. If you are traveling internationally you can order a bassinet for FREE on most airlines. They are offered on a first come first serve basis. Just know that passengers with higher status than you might come along after you and get the bassinet. The other great thing about the bassinet is that they are usually available in the bulkhead rows, so not only do you get a place to put your babe down and rest your arms, but most times you also get a better seat. Every airline is different on the rules around bassinets, so check with yours as soon as you book your tickets.
  4. Wear the kids. When they are little, wear your child as much as possible. This allows for free hands and simplicity when moving through the airport. If you are lucky, your kiddo might even score an extra nap out of it!
  5. Explore as much as possible. When they can walk, let them walk, run, play, skip, and adventure in the airport as long as possible before boarding. Even though most airlines let families board the plane first, send one parent at this time with all of your stuff. We used to split our resources. My husband would get on the plane at the family call with all of our bags, while my toddler and I played for another 20 minutes or so on the moving walkway. Just remember to keep your tickets and passports, if necessary, on you at all times. I tried my best to run my daughter ragged before loading. When the airlines made the last call for passengers we would board and all of our stuff was already stowed so we just sat down. Then I fed her during takeoff and next up was usually a nap. It worked great for everyone, except maybe for my husband who had to carry all the bags.

silhouette of a toddler looking out the window at a plane at the airport

Infant sleeping in a United airlines bassinet

mom pulling a toddler on a suitcase in an airport