Normally, I would consider myself a fairly light packer. I can fit everything I need in my carry on bag. However, that was before we had a baby. Now, we’re so heavily burdened with luggage, we could use a Sherpa for hire! Isn’t it amazing how one tiny being can exponentially increase the amount of stuff you need?! That’s where I can help. Are you wondering what to pack when flying with baby? We flew a lot while living in Australia this past summer and have the packing list down to a science. Consequently, I’m eager to share our most helpful tips and tricks.
That said, be aware, flying with baby can look a bit comical!
In fact, each time we took our gear on Sydney’s public transit system to walk to the airport (we’re too frugal to take a cab), people would lean out car windows and shout… “Way to make her carry that!” (referring to my car seat bag below) or “You can do it! You’re almost there.” and “What happened to the weight restrictions?”
Car Seat Travel Bag (looks way heavier than it is!)
Our flight from Milwaukee, Wis. to Sydney, Australia was Hudson’s first time on a plane and a 17 1/2 flight (you can read more about it here). As a first-time mom, I had zero clue what to bring, what to skip or what TSA would permit. I did plenty of research to prepare, but some things you can only learn from experience. Hopefully, I can save YOU that trouble!
You can’t be holding your baby, they need to be on a white background (we used a bed sheet) and they must have their eyes open. (Let’s just say I have at least 100 outtakes on my phone’s camera roll!) You can find complete info from the State Department and a link to the necessary forms HERE. Important note: You must apply in person and both parents need to be present, or you will need additional documentation.
This is a life-saver if you are flying with your baby as a lap child. Let’s be honest, what parent wants to hold a squirming babe for more than 10 hours? Not me! Keep in mind, your child must be under 25 lbs and there are only a few bassinets per aircraft, so make this request early.
Initially, I assumed when we were flying with baby, we would use our car seat, In contrast, we discovered our model was way too big for the plane and wound up checking it instead and flying with Hudson as a lap child. Most airlines allow you to check your car seat free of charge.
I firmly believe a warm smile, quick verbal apology (if your child is being vocal or disruptive), and a sense of humor is all you need to placate other travelers. Most understand what you are going through and can empathize with your child. Any one that gets angry at a baby—and shows that anger—doesn’t deserve your time and certainly doesn’t deserve a treat!
In addition, having a backpack-like bag like this one will make carrying your car seat and other bulky items to and from the airport MUCH easier. We used them for extra storage too, especially our stroller bag. By tucking in items we couldn’t fit in our checked luggage, we were able to avoid additional baggage fees.
Whew… That was a long list! Traveling with a baby is certainly an adventure, but you will probably find it less intimidating than you were expecting. Furthermore, you will be creating lasting memories your family will appreciate for a lifetime! If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.