Here we are, we are officially taking our first international trip with our infants. We are feeling a mix of excitement, joy, and stress…
To help, we’ve put together this checklist of things to do/think of before the trip and for the plane ride. We thought it could help you, too if you are getting ready to take a trip with your infant. And it will most likely help us again the next time we decide to go on our trip!
Pre-pre trip planning
- Photos in-person at the post office (one of our favorite photos ever – blank stare – this kid doesn’t even know what kind of adventures are out there yet!) – both parents need to be there or you need a notarized authorization from the one who can’t be there
- It takes time for them to process a new passport, so give yourself plenty of time or opt for the expedited service (but note this comes with additional cost)
- If you participate in the Global Entry program and appreciate the benefits, know that while TSA Pre applies to lap infants, all travelers must have their own Global Entry approved – including infants! (Pro tip: No time to get Global Entry approved before departing? The Mobile Passport app is another option to expedite reentry to the U.S.)
Visas, Masks, and COVID Vaccine Requirements for Infants
- Do your research! Rules for infants are oftentimes different than for adults and older children
- You can’t bring ALL THE THINGS like you can on a road trip, so think through what you’ll actually need, and then test it out before packing day. What can you live without? I know, I know, when you have a fussy baby, ALL THE THINGS (and your access to Amazon one-click shopping) feels essential. But traveling is a good opportunity to figure out what really is essential for you and your little one
- Review your packing list – What can you buy when you’re there? Food items, diapers, wipes can usually be purchased anywhere. Can you rent gear where you’re going? Big, bulky items in particular (crib, high chair, car seat) are helpful to have delivered to wherever you’re staying
- Does your accommodation offer babysitting or nanny services? You may be able to arrange this in advance so you can plan activities you’d like to do without your baby in tow
- Do you have any family members who might think it’s fun or special to spend extra time with your baby in an interesting place? They may even be willing to cover their own travel costs
Planning for the plane ride
What do you need with you?
- Bring all your HIGH-VALUE toys and snacks
- Pack a few new toys to keep your kid entertained (and distracted), and consider finding some new treasures on your trip so you have some interesting toys for the return flight
- A lightweight stroller is a lifesaver for travel around the airport – we also love the bag that came with our stroller so it can be packed for gate check
- No one wants to lug around the bulky car seat – if it doesn’t snap into your stroller, consider renting one at your destination instead
Inflight feeding and sleeping routine
- It’s often helpful to feed during take-off and landing – plan to keep needed supplies handy in your carry-on
- Sleep accessories, like a sleep sack and a lovey – anything that cues your kid to know it’s time to rest – can help create a sleepy environment even while stuck in an airplane seat
Get familiar with what it will be like to get through security
- TSA allows food for infants (even liquids) to go through security – it will likely get inspected, and you can request that it not go through the X-ray machine
- Bags often get turned on their side through the security process – plan to seal bottles with caps to avoid spills
Strategize where you sit on the plane
- Near the bathroom? Window seat or aisle seat? Invite some extra travel buddies for more built-in babysitters?
Make friends with the flight attendants
- They will often allow you to move around a little more because you have a child, and are usually very helpful in bringing things like hot water to heat a bottle, extra napkins, etc.
- You can even bring an extra gift for them to thank them for their support!
Give yourself grace
Something will inevitably be a disaster, so try to laugh about it
- Flight delay? Kids get a free for all in the airport
- Screaming kid? We know, it sucks, but just know you’re doing the best you can and give others grace the next time you’re on a flight
- Remember you’re giving your kid a new experience – whether they remember it or not, we like to think that seeing new things helps build flexibility, resiliency, and curiosity in our kiddos
Want to make sure you don’t forget anything the day of?
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