Car Seat Backpack and Air Travel

Updated on April 22, 2008
A.S. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
4 answers

Hi! I have an 8 week old adorable baby girl and I plan to be doing some traveling without my hubby. Since I plan to go alone, I need some advice on travel gear. I am thinking of buying a car seat backpack, any thoughts on which one or different style? What other travel gear makes life easier, such as an infant travel bed? What things were helpful to you and what would you bring next time? Last question, what airlines are the best that will give you an extra seat if available?

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answers from San Francisco on

Well, I traveled with my son on planes quite a bit his first year. Wherever I went I needed my car seat for the rental so I just took our seat from the car. If you're going to Oregon the flight is pretty quick, as you know. I would probably hold her in my lap at this age, that won't last long!! I know some rental car companies have car seats that you can borrow or rent too. One thing that happened to me was I took a longtime to disembark from the plane and by the time I got out, they had taken my stroller to the baggage claim. I had to rent a cart for the carry ons and the car seat. Push it down to baggage claim and carry him too!! I thought I was going to need an ambulance by the time I got down there. The next time I flew, before we landed I told the F.A. to make sure that they did not take the stroller away. That helped a lot! The key to air travel with babies is that they need to swallow during take off and landing so their ears pop. Otherwise you'll end up with a very unhappy baby girl. Also, I always take my baby bedding because I don't trust hotel linens to be cleaned properly.

Hope this helps,
mother of a 3yr and 8mth old



answers from San Francisco on

Hi A. - My daughter and I have taken 6 cross country flights between 9 months and 2.5 years. I adopted her, so I didn't have her at 8 weeks, but I'll give you my 2 cents.

To me - it's all about wheels. Make sure you have wheels getting from Security to the gate. At this stage I think I'd recommend checking the carseat at the curb or check-in, bringing your stroller through security (you'll have to fold it up and put it through the xray machine, so clean out the basket ahead of time, checking it at the gate, and keeping the baby in a pack (I LOVED my Ergobaby pack.)

When she reached 2, I purchased a "Go Go Babyz Travelmate" thing that attaches to her carseat, and has wheels on the bottom. While I'm STILL annoyed that it was $90, it is cool. (I wish I had come up with it!) It has an expanding handle, like luggage, and you can cruise the airport - either with your child in the seat and carrying one bag (I used a huge, zipping LL Bean bag with Everything in it), or they can be in the pack and your bag can be in the carseat. It's all about the wheels : )

I purchased a less expensive carseat at my parents house so I had options - as we go there often.

Make sure to carry an extra set of clothes for you. I brought the smallest outfit I could find (nylon workout pants, a short sleeve teeshirt, and underwear in a ziplock) I needed them on 1 of the 6 flights - soooo worth it.

Extra outfits for her in ziplocks too - one outfit and a diaper in each gallon bag. Bring 2. Easy to snag the bag and wipes if needed - and you have something to put dirty clothes in. The only bright moment in a bodily fluid incident :o

Bring your ipod or headphones - hopefully she'll sleep. Bon voyage.



answers from San Francisco on

Definitely a hands free carrier. When I travelled with my little one, I had her in a baby bjorn, and then I carried a hikers backpack to carry all my stuff. If you are good at balancing, a good hikers backpack is essential. It carried enough for me and my little one and I didn't have to worry about a stroller. As far as airlines, if there are seats available, it should be no problem, but if the flight is full, they won't be able to give you an extra seat. Forget about a travel bed, just have your little one sleep with you. Also, as for diapers, if you are travelling to a place where you can buy diapers as you need them, do that. I made the mistake of brining diapers to Australia, and they were just added baggage. Although, I had significantly less baggage on the way home!



answers from San Francisco on

I have a very good friend who just made the opposite move & is in Portland & loving it! Hope you're liking Berkeley. We visited our Portland friend & found it very similar to Berkeley. We live in El cerrito. So, back to your post....

My suggestion, in general, is to travel w/as little as possible, especially since you're alone. Have her sit on your lap on the flight & put her infant seat down the shute in the travel bag. We have one from Eddies Bauer. It's not a backpack style but works great. You just have to be sure the one you get fits infant seats. If you're going to rent a car, ask if they rent infant seats & if so, do that. The least you fly w/the better. Just be VERY clear w/them what style seat you need & be sure that the rental place in Oregon carries them. I say this cuz when our younger son was 2 months, we flew to Vancouver & I was repeatedly told on the phone that the rental company didn't rent infant seats but when we got there, lo & behold, that rental shop had infant seats! My husband was a bit pissed to lug that thing w/ us when we didn't need to! So, if you arrange the rental on-line, still call the 800 number to be sure they have the seat you need at your desination.

Some babies get pain in their ears due to the changes in elevation so make sure she's sucking on something at take off & landing....your boob, bottle or pacifier. If you're flying w/the intent of making bottles, you can now get the formula in individual packs so travel w/those & then ask the flight attendent to heat up the water for you. When my boys would have formula, I'd boil the water before I left & then put it in the bottle w/o the formula. That way, it was steralized & ready to go when needed.

Take your stroller & check it at the gate & also bring along your Bjorn or whatever front carrier you have. This way, if she doesn't want to be in the stroller thru the airports, you can put her in the front pack & then use the stroller to hold things.

Are you planning on staying in a hotel or w/friends or family? Either way, I'd avoid traveling w/the bed as they're heavy & cumbersome. Most hotels have cribs now so reserve one & just bring along your own sheets for it & if staying w/friends or family maybe they can borrow one from someone. If all else fails, the baby can always sleep w/you in your bed. If you're going to visit family & plan on doing this several times throughout the year, I suggest buying a pac-n-go to leave at their house. They're pretty cheap these can get one for about $40-$50. Sometimes less at re-sale store or on Craig's List or EBay.

As far as packing, if staying w/family or friends, remember you can do laundry while you're there meaning you can pack less for both of you. Bring along enough diapers & wipes for a day or so & then buy a small pack once you get there for the duration of the trip. And again, if staying w/family or really good friends you plan to visit frequently, you can leave what wasn't used & it will be there for next time.

Well, that's all I can think of. Hope this helps & happy flying!

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