I’m not going to lie, my traveling with a baby in tow experience is limited, mostly because even though I have tried countless times, it is physically impossible for two men to have a baby. I have traveled with Bryce and her son Ben, however, and my sisters keep popping babies out like Oxycontin. Thus, I do have a little experience in the arena of traveling as a family unit. Here are five tips that might make traveling with your baby this season a little easier:
Distract them with flashing lights: You have to know here, that by flashing lights, I mean technology. Any Apple device such as an iPad or iPhone will work, and there are plenty of baby-friendly apps you can download ahead of time to distract your kid. You can load movies onto any tablet, netbook, or portable DVD player (if you are living in the stone ages). You may want to limit your kid’s exposure to technology in everyday life, but while traveling you should bite the bullet. The number of brain cells your baby loses from being distracted by electronics is directly proportional to the number of dollars you will lose if you are kicked off a flight for having a zombie-baby that won’t sit still.
Bring a birth certificate. We live in an age where airlines like to charge us extra fees for the air we breathe. If we are 30 lbs overweight, we have to pay for an extra seat (that may be an exaggeration, but I wouldn’t know since I only weigh 15 lbs). The worst is when airlines make you pay for you carry-on luggage (I am talking to you Spirit frickin airlines). Children over two require their own seat, so if your kid looks even remotely mature, make sure you bring that proof of birth so you can shove it in that haughty airline attendant’s face when she tries to rape you with extra charges.
Choose loose connections. Typically when I am flying, if I have to book a connecting flight I choose a longer connection. This is because I am normally in no rush to get anywhere, and that extra time allows me a moment to stretch out instead of stressing out. In that way, I am like a big baby. If you are traveling somewhere with your baby, chances are you will be there for more than a day (otherwise, leave the kid at home and just over-fill its food bowl). A longer connection gives you and your family time to relax, and your baby some time to decompress and tire itself out people-watching.
Don’t be afraid of germs. Any high-trafficked place, such as an airplane or airport is bound to be chock-full of people’s germs. In everyday life, you may be able to protect your baby from most of the world’s diseases, but when traveling you might as well give up. Feel free to swab your tray table and armrests with baby-wipes but chances are your kid will still find some way to touch something unsavory. In times of traveling, you might as well resign yourself to the fact that babies have strong immune systems, and if they aren’t exposed to it now, they will be eventually. So just sit back, relax, and have an antibody party.
Wear your baby. Strollers are a bitch. There, I said it. Even super convenient strollers like that Stokke Baby Xplory (the Ferrari of strollers) that we gave away last month can be cumbersome when you are traveling. Using a carrier, or one of those zip-up hoodies that hold your baby on your chest and allow its little head to pop out by your sternum is a much easier option when you are traveling. It will help you make connections easier, and the constant sound of your heartbeat will calm the child so it doesn’t act like a raging godzilla monster.