More Tips on Traveling with Baby

Swinging at grandma and grandpa’s in Arizona.

(Read my top tips for traveling moms at National Geographic Traveler.)

Here’s a bonus batch:

#1 Bring large Ziploc bags for soiled items.

Our very first trip taught me that flying with a baby is all about poop management. I was wholly unprepared for this phenomenon where the air pressure on takeoff forces everything out of the baby. After experiencing this on three out of four legs of our trip and then talking to other moms, I found out it’s a thing. Don’t be caught off guard as I was. The first time it happened, I thought I smelled something and stuck my hand down the side of my son’s car seat to see if I felt anything wet, feeling pretty confident that he’d prove to be dry. Cue Janice from friends – Oh My God. When I pulled my hand back out it was completely smeared with poop. And my son was wearing a diaper (obviously) and a onesie and pants! When I brought him into the bathroom, I found that not only did he soak through three layers, he was soiled from shoulders to toes. Sadly, with no resealable bag and a completely unsuccessful effort to rinse his clothes in the lavatory sink, I had to throw his clothes away.


• Consider Southwest. It may mean more connections, but they offer infant discounts of around 50% depending on the flight, and probably more important, your seatmates choose to sit by you and your baby.

With credit on American Airlines that was about to expire, we didn’t test this tip. We did, however, happen into another great baby-friendly seating option – the back of an MD-80. One side of the plane has two seats instead of three, so he got the window and I got the aisle. No one got stuck in the middle and no one got stuck next to us, the least popular passengers on the plane. Plus, being at the back of the bus meant easy access to bathrooms and trashcans, and the sound of the rear-mounted engines drowned out his crying and my off-key rendition of Hush, Little Baby.

#3 Consider bringing an inflatable tub. I didn’t have one of these, but I was able to use my sister’s when we visited, and it made things much easier. Obviously this isn’t necessary, but if you have room, why not? I’m not buying one for our next trip, however, because at six months, my son is sitting up now and should be fine in the full bath soon.

#4 Look for a baby gear rental store in the city you’re visiting. Did you even know this kind of thing exists? I didn’t. My mother-in-law found out about one and is going to borrow a crib and high chair when we visit. I’ll let you know how it goes.

#5 Get the White Noise app by TM Soft for your phone. If you’re dealing with time changes or noisy hotels, you’ll thank me for this come naptime and bedtime.

#6 Prep with an airport book.This is actually something my mom got me when I was a baby, and believe it or not, I loved it so much that I still remember it. My son is too young to appreciate this just yet, but I sent Airport to my sister and best friend and they were a hit before those momentous first trips.

 #7 As cute as the National Geographic photo is, don’t let your baby play with germ-covered safety cards!



  1. My son (who’s 2 years 1/2 now) already has 17 flights under his belt, from 1 hour hops in regional turboprops to 10 hours on 777s, and these are a few other tips we found out while traveling:
    #1 tip for peace and happiness – give the little one something to drink while the plane climbs and descends! His/her ears would get stuffy and poppy otherwise and almost always kids will start crying.
    There are a few more tips that can help when kids are a little older:
    - colored pencils & paper to draw on (triangle shaped crayolas roll less and are less likely to fall from the tray table); kid’s books, a few toys (but ones you wouldn’t mind if you forgot on the plane)
    - get a window seat for him – even if it’s “ooh, look at that cloud” or “let’s look for another airplane” or “let’s try guessing what goes on on the ground 7 miles below us”, it’s a source of peace & quiet for you and the people around.
    - while long haul flights have personal tv’s with cartoons & shows for kids, you can also take a portable dvd player/tablet/laptop with his favorite shows to watch.
    - be prepared for delays! Delays happen, so always have in your carry on food & drink for the young one (as well as extra diapers), even if it’s supposed to be a short 30 minute hop.

  2. Thanks, for the added tips, Ted! How great that your son is already so well traveled.