With the holidays quickly approaching, many new parents traveling with little ones can feel quite stressful and anxious. I have made two trips with Rhys so far and learned some great traveling tips for a new mom like myself. The first trip was when we relocated to Hawaii from NY for the winter, a direct 10.5 hour flight and the second was a quick island getaway to celebrate our anniversary on Kona. 

I was dreading the first 10.5 hour flight with Rhys… We purchased Rhys a seat and later found out car seats were not allowed in the United first class seats because they are lie flat and sometimes have issues with the configuration and car seat installation. The gate agent told me to always bring the car seat and we can gate check it.  There are two reasons for this, one is the seat may have worked in the lie flat seats and second if you didn’t buy a seat, but there are open seats they may allow you to have a seat for the baby at no extra charge.

We ended up keeping Rhys’ purchased seat (not to mention we needed the extra 3 pieces of luggage that Rhys got with his ticket) and brought along our DockATot which has been one of my best baby items to date. I encourage any mom to add this to their registry or bite the bullet and get one. I did hold Rhys most of the flight, but I also laid the seat flat and placed the DockATot on the seat and put Rhys in and buckled him in.  Rhys was a champ for the flight. So many people came up to me and complimented me on what a good baby he was, they hadn’t realized a baby was sitting behind them. Baby boy earned his wings and made his mama and dada proud!

As a former flight attendant and avid traveler, I always traveled light whether I went away for one month or for a weekend getaway. I had never understood people who traveled with a ton of luggage. My days of traveling with my Tumi carry-on are long gone.  You don’t realize how much stuff you need to pack when you have a little one.  I am constantly thinking how I can travel more efficiently with my little one. 

Here are some tips that made our journey less stressful:

Ditch the stroller and check it in with your luggage. (airlines do not charge to check car seats and strollers, so don’t think this is part of your allotted luggage).

Carry your baby in a baby carrier. I carried Rhys in my Baby Bjorn One carrier so that I can keep my hands free going through security, which is a huge game changer! (They will just swipe your hands to test for explosives and you will be on your way to the gate)

Be sure to pack plenty of diapers, wipes, a couple extra change of clothes for you and baby. After all, babies do have accidents. (Imagine having to wear those clothes for the entire flight, no thank you!)

Some of my favorite wipes are Dr. Browns Nose and Face Wipes. I always like to freshen my face when flying, why not the babies too, especially for long haul flights. 

Another life saver is the Pacifier and Bottle Wipes. We all know how dirty airplanes are.  A nightmare is having your babies bottle or pacifier drop on the floor of the plane. Ask the flight attendants for a cup of hot water to dip the pacifier or nipple in and then wipe with the Dr. Browns Pacifier and Bottle Wipes. Hot water may not be necessary, but I am a bit OCD about that.

Speaking of OCD, the first thing I do after boarding the plane is wiped down the seat, tray table and basically anything I will be touching with Clorox disinfecting wipes.  I have always done that pre-baby, but even more so now that baby has joined the family.

I breastfeed and bottle feed Rhys, so I was sure to bring my Dr. Brown’s original blue bottles.  This is one of the times I do wish I could exclusively breastfeed him, due to the stress of worrying about having enough bottles and formula/breast milk.  I packed more than enough; it’s better to be safe than sorry.  TSA will allow you to travel with breastmilk, you just need to announce to them before going through security.  They may inspect it in front of you. Because we were moving, I had a nice amount of frozen breast milk that I kept cool in Dr. Browns insulated bottle tote with ice packs. Because of the long flight, the ice packs melted, so I asked the flight attendants for ice and they gave me dry ice to keep the milk cold. 

Another tip so you don’t have to carry so much with you when you travel is ordering all the baby essentials (diapers, wipes, formula, etc.) on Amazon Prime to your final destination. Hotels will accept your packages, just note in the address your check-in date, for example:  Cindy Pearlstein Guest, checking in 12/20/16.

The Dr. Browns Microwave Sterilizer bags are also great when traveling.  If you are in a hotel, ask the hotel ahead of time to put a microwave in your room.  When we went to Kona for our anniversary, the Four Seasons Hualalai blew me away with how baby friendly they were. They had a crib set up with a personalized bib for Rhys and Johnson & Johnson baby toiletries.  Just when I thought I had it under control, I forgot to pack a bottle brush cleaner.  After one call to housekeeping they had one delivered to my room as well as a bottle of Dreft!  The hotel has washer and dryers throughout the property,  which is nice when traveling with baby so you don’t have to pack so many clothes.  Find out ahead of time if your property has one on-site so you can pack less. 

I hope these travel tips help make traveling this holiday season less stressful and the travel gods are with you for a smooth journey with your little ones!  Aloha