Summer is round the corner, which means a lot of families will be flying home for the holidays. If, like me, you’ll be travelling alone with a baby, you may be stressing about the prospect of flying alone with your baby. I know I am. However, I’ve come to the realisation that while it’s going to be a trip filled with crowds, irritated passengers and perhaps the odd meltdown, it doesn’t have to be horrendous. I’ve talked to friends, family and scoured the best parenting forums to come up with this list of tips to make the journey as enjoyable as possible. Happy travels…
Tips For Travelling Alone With A Baby #1: Do your research before you arrive at the airport
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been though an airport, if this is your first time flying solo, you’ll be seeing it through a new pair of eyes. Before you arrive, have a quick scoot online to see where the family restrooms are located. Also, check to see if there are any leisure facilities available for children. Dubai International Airport has a play area located in Terminal 3. There’s also the Zen Gardens, near gates B7 and B27, which is a tranquil place to rock babies off to sleep or calm a super-wired toddler before boarding.
Tips For Travelling Alone With A Baby #2: Book with a family friendly airline
Etihad Airways offers a Flying Nanny service, which starts at the boarding gate and continues until you disembark. All the nannies have been trained at Bath’s Norland College, and are on hand prepare your bassinet, refill bottles and keep toddlers and older children entertained with face-painting and magic tricks.
Tips For Travelling Alone With A Baby #3: Have a dress rehearsal
Collapsing your stroller and popping baby into a carrier is probably something you do on a daily basis, but normally you’re not in a busy airport, trying to keep track of luggage, passports and tickets. Have a practice run beforehand to make sure you can do everything seamlessly.
Tips For Travelling Alone With A Baby #4: Make a list
I love a good list, so I recommend that a few weeks before you fly, you begin making a list of all those brilliant parenting travel nuggets people give you. You’d be surprised how many handy hints you come up with.
Tips For Travelling Alone With A Baby #5: Book your seat wisely
If you can afford to book an extra seat, this is definitely something worth considering, as you’ll welcome the additional space. However, if that isn’t an option, be sure to book a seat at the front of the plane and request a bassinet. Be aware that bassinets are available on a first-come-first-served basis, so it’s advisable to book in advance.
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Tips For Travelling Alone With A Baby #6: Pack light, if possible
It’s really tempting to over pack, especially when you’re travelling alone with a baby, because you want to plan for every eventuality. However, with carry-on luggage, any extra weight is a burden, so opt for a roller bag with non-flight essentials and a well-stocked diaper bag. I recommend a backpack, as opposed to a shoulder bag, as this enables you to keep your hands free to push your stroller.
Tips For Travelling Alone With A Baby #7: Bring new toys
If you’re on a long-haul flight it’s incredibly difficult to keep you baby entertained for the entire time, but a few toys that baby has never seen before will certainly buy you extra time. iPads, cell phones and in flight entertainment are also useful, if your little one is at an age where they can focus on cartoons.
Tips For Travelling Alone With A Baby #8: Pack a pillow
Even if your little one isn’t breastfeeding, if you’ve got the room in your carry-on luggage, pack a breastfeeding pillow for the flight. Plane seats are cramped and uncomfortable at the best of times, but a pillow will allow your tot to sleep comfortably on your lap and avoid awkward armrest bumps during the flight.
Tips For Travelling Alone With A Baby #9: Board first
The majority of airlines give priority to those travelling with babies and small children, so board as early as you can. Not only will you be thankful of the extra time to get yourself settled, but you’ll bypass the mad scrum which ensues once general boarding commences.
Tips For Travelling Aone With A Baby #10: Get the gear
There are a few key items that make travelling alone with a tot easier. I can’t recommend the BabyZen Yoyo enough. This flight-friendly stroller is easy to fold up one-handed and you can take it onto the plane with you. A good carrier is also an essential item. As well as being highly convenient, it’ll also help your little one to feel safe and secure at a time when they can easily feel overwhelmed.