First Time Traveler Lots of Questions Please Help

Updated on April 30, 2008
M.A. asks from Houston, TX
13 answers

Hello I need help! Im going to flight from Texas to California in a couple of months with my baby she would be 10 months in that time and I dont know a thing on what to do. To save some money we didn't buy her a ticket, so what parents do with a baby with no seat in the airplane? what are the options?
What can I bring to the airplane and what needs to be check in, like the stroller car seat? What do you do with the bottles and the water, lotions, etc can you bring anything? My big worry is the time I think its 2 hours earlier over there so do you stick with your own schedule or fix it with the new time?
Oh well thats all I can think about...but just give me some advices or share with me your experiences. Thanks

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answers from Houston on

I would call airline and ask them what you can bring on board for the baby. I know you can not have anything over 1-2 oz of liquid. You can bring empty bottles and get water for baby on plane. Would call airline that you are going on.

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answers from Houston on

Hi M.,

When We(Daugther and me) travel to Mexico, we do some of this things:
1. I buy (days before) a new toy but I will not let her have it until we are at the plane, so see has like a little surprise.
2. We are the last ones to get in the plane, even if they let mom and babies first, is to much time to be waiting inside the plane, some times it gets hot there, so I preferd to be the last one!
3. I also have a small bag to bring some things in case she gets anxious, things: Flap Cards with animals photos, finger puppets, cherrios and the new toy! surprise!.
4.The animal photo flap cards are great, we look at them and do the sounds of the animals almost all the time!, even at the waiting gate.

About water, becuase you are traveling with a baby, they will let you have it for the formula milk, but dont bring to much, you can always ask for water at the plane. Dont carry to much thing is not fun!

If you want to travel with the car seat and the stroller, you can, What I do is, the car seat goes with the rest of the luggage, and you will leave the stroller before you enter the plane, airline members will help you with that.

Good luck, enjoy your trip, relax, and have fun! I have been doing this for 2 year since she was 6 months, and now she is almost 2 years.

I friend of mine told me that sticker are also fun, I haven't try it but I will later.



answers from Houston on

Relax a little, it wont be that bad. I know that pressure of the up and down in the plane will affect her ears and might cause pain. When I would fly from MI to TX I would put some drops in my kids ears a half hour before the flight to "numb" their ears. I got it from the doctor. It is used to help with ear infection pain. It is called Auralgan,My kids used it when they were younger and they are now 9 and 6. I never had problems with them crying on the plane.
I would check in the carseat.You cant use in on the plane anyway. You will have her on you lap.
As for you stroller, use it to go thru the airport, but remember it has to go thru the exray machine, so you will need to take her out and carry her. Once you get thru there and get to load on the plane you will get a tag to check you stroller on and then they will put it on baggage but when you land it will be at the gate for you to use again.
You cant take water into the airport for carry on but once you get past the security you may buy bottled water for any
bottles you need on the plane.
I would try to get her to sleep if at all possible during the flight.bring her favorite blankie, toys ect.
As for a schedule, I would stay on your own time but it also depends on how long you are staying. But it has also been a while since Ive had to worry about that.
Good luck, I hope you have a good experience.



answers from Houston on

Airlines often have a "Traveling with child/infant" section on their website. If you don't find everything you need to know there, call the airline and ask your questions directly to them. Don't depend on blogs with this type of situation. You want to get on the plane.



answers from Houston on

I traveled from Houston to San Diego, my son was 9 months at the time. We did not buy a ticket for him. He was on our lap and the airline gives you an extention for your seatbelt.
We took some toys that did not make noise, you dont want to irritae yourself and others. Take a binky for the ears.
We took the whole car seat stroller system. they put it in the plane for you once you board the plane and give it to you once you land, its waiting for you once they open the door to the plane. That made everthing easier for us.
They made me dump out the water in the bottles. you can buy bottle water at the airport. and the stewardess where great when I asked for hot water. Dont forget to take the baby tylenol. give it to her right before you get on the plane. It should make the ride less painfull.
What ever you do have fun. good luck.



answers from Houston on

I've done this several times and have worried, mainly about if they'll keep quiet and not disturb other passengers. However, I found that my worry was not so necessary. You'll be surprised that a lot of passengers will understand and have compassion and some are also very willing to offer help. A lot of them have kids too. First, package powdered formula with you so that you'll have an extra bottle or two to feed your baby. Premixed bottles (in liquids) may be confiscated when you go through the check-point. You can always get your water on the plane or past the check-point. Remember to bring more than one bottle (like two since you're on the plane for 2 hrs) so you can mix it up on the plane when you get your water. If you're flying alone, don't take your carseat with you on the plane (if you're bringing that). You'll have your baby in one hand, and your carry-on bag (with all your baby stuff) in the other. You won't have anymore hands for anything else. Allow yourself ample time to talk to the staff at the boarding doorway so ask if the flight is full. It's first come first serve so don't be too late. Ask to move somewhere where there's an empty seat. At least you'll have an extra seat to put your baby if your lap gets numb or if you need extra space for yourself and your baby. If they are not able to move you then, you can always talk to the flight staff once you board the plane. They have always been accommodating to me when I asked. As for me, I don't change poopy diapers on the seats/lap since it may disturb others. However, I think pee would be fine and if you're super fast and diaper is not stinky, I think you'll probably get by without anyone noticing. Since your flight is only 2 hrs. You might want to change your baby right before you get on the plane, so that the diaper will most likely last you through the flight. Upon take-off and landing, feed your baby the bottle so that swallowing fluids will help ease the ear-popping. My baby at the time did not have any problems or pain when I fed him during those times. You'll know when the ear-popping stops by sensing your own ears. If your baby sleeps through the flight, all the better. Take your stroller with you past the check-point up to boarding the plane. You'll have to check the stroller in at the boarding gate with the airport staff at the desk. They'll give you a check-in tag to hang on the handle of your stroller. Actually, they'll hang it for you. You'll have to push it through that bridge and fold it up and leave it outside the plane's door. So at that time, you'll be holding your baby, your carry-on bag on your shoulder, and folding your stroller with one hand to leave it outside the plane's door. You'll do fine. Oh I forgot to say...when you go through the check-point (where they scan all your stuff), you'll have to fold your stroller again, while you take your shoes off, and also your baby's if he has shoes on too. I don't find many staff there at the scanners will help you much. So prepare to fold stroller, take shoes off, then unfold stroller, and put shoes on by yourself. I usually hold up the line a bit but people have been understanding. Also, make sure you go to the bathroom too when you change your baby's diaper before boarding the plane. It helps so that you don't have to bring your baby to the bathroom when you have to go. That's all I could think of but I wish your trip goes smoothly and worry-less. ps-i forgot about your concern on the time change. It's really not much, don't worry, I would kinda stick with her regular schedule or change it an hour ahead or back so that it'll match up a little better. Hope you understand what I'm talking about. Bring some small cheap new toys or toys that your baby really likes with you on the plane to keep him occupied when he's awake.



answers from Houston on


We have a little girl who is about to turn four and she has flown countless times. Her first flight was sometime around age 6 months. We prepared several bottles and made sure to pack extra of everything... wipes, bottles, diapers, food, change of clothes for daughter and shirts for us. Also, carry a light blanket or two. I think the airlines will let you carry the formula water but call to make sure ahead of time. They have a special set of rules for those traveling with infants.

If you have a carrier then I advise that you use it for the flight. You'll have to take your baby out of the carrier at the check points but it's invaluable on getting through the airport and getting on the plane. If you have a travel stroller then you might want to consider carrying one if you are going to have any amount of a lay over.

We always made sure to have a window seat when traveling. Still do. Depending on which arm you use to hold your child, that is the side of the plane I'd try to get on. It makes it so much easier to get your child to sleep when you can rest against the plane's wall and your risk of getting jostled by a fellow passenger and disturbing baby are lessened. I always used my left arm to get our daughter to sleep and so I always tried to be on the left side of the plane.

It may sound completely crazy but I always, always, always carry sanitizing wipes. I wipe down everything on the plane that is in my seat's vicinity... back of the seat, wall of the plane (window), tray, arm rests, buckle, air vent, etc. I started this little neurotic thing after getting sick several times after flying somewhere. We've not gotten sick after a flight since I've started doing this. You'll get several looks, be prepared, but it doesn't bother me anymore now that my family is spared an illness. The last thing you want is to look for an emergency care clinic because of an illness when visiting with family and friends.

You'll want to time a bottle with take-offs and landings. This helps to equalize the pressure in your child's ears and makes landing more pleasant. If she's asleep, don't wake her but be prepared w/ the bottle just in case. Pacifiers are good for this too. Also, if you're bottles are prefilled then loosen the caps / seals or you'll end up with a mess in your diaper bags. When the pressure in the cabin is equalized it makes the air in the bottles expand (or something) and you get fluid in you bags, not something you want to deal with when flying with a baby.

Not many parents are a fan of this but we used benadryl before each flight. If your child is even the littlest bit stuffy this makes things more bearable for them. My pediatrician recommended this to us and it's proven beneficial for us. Our daughter has allergies and we didn't want her to be in pain on the flight so we always gave her a dose before we boarded the plane. Make sure you know whether benadryl will make your child hyper or if it makes her drowsy. You'll want to be prepared for anything, even a hyper child.

I loved using the carrier with my daughter when we first flew with her. She would usually fall asleep and I could just unbuckle the carrier and lie her down in my arms from there. This is also helpful when you need to get up for any reason. I also happen to think it's safer than just holding your child during take offs and landings if you can't afford her own seat for her car seat. Not to mention the convenience when it comes to boarding the plane.

I cannot stress enough the importance of carrying double the items you need. You never know if you'll get stuck in an airport for a layover that takes more time that anticipated. The last thing you want is to get stuck somewhere and run out of food / formula, diapers, and such. I've yet to be in an airport that carries these necessary items.

Pack several days in advance as much as you possibly can. And, allow yourself more time than you'll think is needed for getting to the airport. It's more difficult traveling with a baby but it's not beyond enjoying. Preparation is key to a pleasant trip with a child.

As for the car seat / strollers, those are checked items, unless if you buy a seat for your child's car seat to fit in. Just make sure if your car seat is airline approved. Some seats are too big for the airplane's seat. We have a special bag that we got for our daughter's car seat. It has rollers on the bottom which makes getting it to the portter easier. You can find these at Babies r' Us. They even have bags for the stroller to fit into. We don't have one of those, just one for the car seat. You might want to invest in a cheap travel stroller for the trip. They're easier to carry and much less expensive to replace if it gets damaged.

Also, carry some quart zip loc bags along with you, in case of a stinky diaper. Hopefully you won't need to change a diaper while on the plane but it's better to be prepared for it. You don't want to stink up the area around you when you could easily put the diaper in a bag and seal it up. Time you're diaper changes till right before you board the plane and hopefully it'll last throughout the flight.

Sorry, I don't have any advice on the schedual. The most we did was trips that were an hour ahead of us. Not something that was difficult to work around.

Good luck!



answers from Houston on

we have travelled a lot with our twins and at nine months we went home to australia with them, on our laps. The domestic flight is the hardest because there aren't bassinets but I'd still ask for a bulkhead seat if you can - a little more leg room and no-one in front if they start to kick the seat in front! You acn take what you will need for the baby on the flight, minimise the lotions to small tubes/containers if you can, but you can usually take formula on board - they may ask you or your child to taste it to show it is formula. Adapt to the time where you are if you are there for a while, if it is only a week, I'd try to stick with home times for sleeps etc. Take lots of snacks on the flight and anything like a small book or two, a soft toy they like or is new just for the trip (novelty is priceless!). You can take your stroller up to the gate and they will check it so it meets you at the destination when you exit the plane, rwally helpful for trailing through airports! You will need to check the car seat and porta-cot if you are taking them. We used the skyways stroller/car seat which we have found great for travelling so we only need to take the cots as checked in luggage, taking the strollers which are their carseats all the way to the gate of the plane. Worth thinking about if you will be travelling a lot.
Best of luck,



answers from Houston on

I've been doing this "traveling with kids" thing, and my I add ALONE, for 12 years. I started with one baby on my lap and now travel with 4 kids (and they are all finally in their own seats!).

All of the advice I have read is really good, especially about getting through security and everything. There are only a couple of things I can add.

Most people you sit by are very gracious and helpful and like to see babies. At least this has always been my experience. That was always my biggest worry- annoying other passengers.

When you get on the plane, you need to relax and realize that whatever happens is going to happen and you can't do anything about it! If she cries, it'll be OK. But she will probably be fine.

I always bring a lot of snacks and books and toys. I try to wait until after the food service is over to try to get my baby to sleep because it usually wakes them up. Be prepared for her to stick her fingers in the ice of your drink and all other kinds of fun stuff! Bring a towel or a lot of wipes just in case you need it for spills or something.

I make and asserted effort to not let any of my kids, especially the one on my lap kick the seat of the passenger ahead of me. Sometimes it gets squishy if they lay their chairs back. The little ones also get very interested in the tray table (wanting it up and down, up and down) which can be annoying to other passengers.

Roll with the punches on the time change. She is very likely to adjust with ease. When my son was 10 months old, we took him to Europe with our 3 year old. That time change went just fine. It wasn't as easy as when we travel to see my parents, but they adjust to the time wherever you are. Just relax about it. She will come home and fall right back into routine. Usually they get so pooped out from the vacation and all of the chasing around that it isn't hard for them to fall to sleep.

I guess I would sum up my advice by saying, keep yourself relaxed. If YOU aren't uptight, she's less likely to be.

Have a great vacation! I'm jealous!



answers from Houston on


She will sit in your lap. Take her stroller and carseat to the gate with you. You can ask if the flight is full and if it isn't then they will usually let you bring the carseat on and fasten her into it in her own seat. If it's full, they will give you gate checks for each one and it will be in the jetway when you get off the plane. I would call your airline to check about bottles. I know they allow baby formula. Lotions less than 3 ounces are okay. If you are going for a short time (week or less), keep her on her schedule if you want to. She will probably let you know when she's hungry and tired. Infant Tylenol is your friend. Half an hour before the flight give her a small dose and be sure she is drinking a bottle on the way up and down in the airplane. That will give her comfort if her ears start to pop. I've traveled lots of times with infants and that's what our pedictrician recommended. We've always had good flights. Oh, and take TOYS and BOOKS for her to play with.

Good luck!



answers from Houston on

I used to travel with my kids(ALONE!) from Cali to Tennessee every year to see my family. (Now that we're in TX I just drive) You can check your car seat under the plane. (They will wrap it in plastic so it won't get dirty or damaged.) As for the stroller, you can take it all the way to the plane entrance. Then an employee from the airline will take it down to be stored under the plane until you arrive at your destination. When you arrive, they will bring the stroller back up to you so you don't have to carry your baby and your luggage.

Also, when you are waiting to board the plane, listen for the ticket checkers to call for pre-boarding(a.k.a.getting on the plane first). You can pre-board if you are elderly, disabled, or have children. It's very helpful, because you can get yourself(and your little one) situated before everyone else gets on the plane!!!!!

When I travel, I always bring drinks, snacks, etc. in my little soft cooler. I've NEVER had a problem with people telling me not too. You might want to bring a pacifier or nurse/bottle feed your little one during the take off and landing. It will relieve the pressure in his/her ears. You also might want to check with the airline you're flying with to see want they will allow you to carry as far as lotions, shampoos, and things like that are concerned. I always checked my toiletries under the plane. Make sure you take some hand sanitizer and some Airborne though, just to be on the safe side!!! :)

Now to the last topic.......In my experience, my babies were usually pretty tired after their "plane experience", and I never had a problem getting them adjusted to the time difference. Well I hope this helps!!! :) Good luck on your flight, and have a great trip!!!!!



answers from Houston on

I travel quite frequently with my kids and they both started traveling around 4 months old. One thing you really need to look at are the new changes in the airlines procedures. We are flying from Texas to Arizona this weekend and a lot of things have changed since our last trip out of state in January. You are now allowed only one checked bag per ticket. Any additional bags will cost you anywhere between $25 and $50. You will want to check your carseat rather than having to carry it through the airport and them making you check it at the gate (and charge you). We contacted the airline about the strollers because I've always gate checked it at no charge. Now, if you gate check anything, it will count toward your 1 checked item and they will charge you if it's additional. If you have an umbrella stroller, it can be carried on and placed in the overhead bin, however, you are only allowed 1 carry on item and once personal item (purse) and the stroller would count as a carry on.

When I flew with my daughter in January (4 months) they took away the baby water I had packed in her bag and I was forced to purchase bottled water on the other side. I was nervous as about changing her water because she was already not feeling well but she was fine. Find a place that will sell you the bottled water that is room temp rather than that from the fridge (then you don't have to go in the bathroom and warm it up).

I would highly recommend checking the airlines website and see what their travel guidelines are for flying with an infant. They will not take formula away from you but you will have to put all lotions, baby wash, etc... in your checked luggage unless it is less than a few oz.

Always make sure to take their favorite blanket, stuffed animal, toys, etc... to keep them occupied. Try (if you can) to schedule your flight around a time they will be eating so when you take off they are drinking, this will help with their ears. One thing my parents did with us was give us dimetap that would make us go to sleep...

Don't stress too much, the flight attendants are usually great and will help you when they can. When we flew in January, we got bumped to first class and my daughter was not feeling well but the flight attendant got her to smile and it was a plesant flight.

Best of luck!



answers from Houston on

We travel a lot with our two kids but the first time can be scary. If you are renting a car on the other end, check your car seat at check in (it may not count as a bag, just ask). Put the baby in the stroller. You will have to take the baby out of the stroller and run it through security, but it will be easier to check in with your hands free. Check the stroller at the gate (ask for a tag at the gate and they'll put one on for you). Then just roll the baby all the way down to the airplane door and fold up the stroller.
So what to bring... your diaper bag doesn't count as your carry-on so bring it (or a back pack). Put all your liquids in a zip loc and make sure they are smaller than 3 ounces each (including baby lotion). Think about what you'll really need and pack the rest in your suitcase. I always bring formula powder in those dispenser containers and empty bottles. Then once through security, get a bottle of water. Ask the sales person if there is any water that isn't in the fridge since it will make bottle making easier than cold water. Change the baby's diaper before you board the plane. You might have to do it on the flight so bring diapers, wipes and a changing mat. There should be at least one toilet on the plane with a changing table. You should bring a book for the baby, and some quiet toys. Hopefully the baby will eat and sleep but that might not happen. Give the baby a bottle at take off and landing to protect the ears. But don't give the bottle too early or it won't eat during take off (learned that one myself).
As far as schedules go... the first day may be off but after that, get on local time.
Good luck. You'll survive!

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