By Kaeli Conforti, Budget Travel
We've all been there. Trapped on a flight next to exhausted parents and their soon-to-be-mid-tantrum bundle of joy. Or perhaps it's your own tot about to have a meltdown in the middle of a piazza. In either case, you share a wan smile with your fellow travelers, close your eyes, and channel serenity for all of your sakes.
Malaysia Airlines has recently gone as far as banning babies from flying in certain sections of the plane (first class for long-haul flights) but as long as child-exclusive seating is the exception rather than the rule—on planes or anywhere—here are some helpful tips for keeping kiddos content while traveling.
- Having the right supplies on hand can be the difference between an easy trip and a disastrous one. BootsNAll travel writer Jenn Molholt describes her experience in her article, "The New Parent’s Guide to Travel with an Infant," offering suggestions on what to pack, how to plan your trip, and valuable in-flight advice—Molholt recommends bringing along a Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe for infants, available for $9.99 on Amazon.com.
- TravelingMom.com offers what it calls "a survival guide for moms who travel," with tips on where to take young children, product suggestions, inspiring tales of family travel, as well as listings to family-friendly restaurants around the country. Be sure to check out the site's "Deals" section, and its "Free things to do in the 50 states" page.
- Bringing your child's favorite toys along for the ride can be a bulky adventure in itself. Toy designers at Melissa & Doug have come up with a fun way for kids to play with—and store—their vacation toys with Trunki, a toy–suitcase hybrid made especially for travel. Available at retailers for a suggested price of $39.99, Trunki has enough handles, wheels and decorations to work wonders for kids both on vacation and at home.
- For those needing inspiration to take their infant out-of-bounds, look to "Bambino on Board," by writer Jerry Soverinsky, for some guidance and inspiration. In search of bonding time with his wife and 9-month-old son, Max, Soverinsky booked a month-long trip for all three of them to explore Italy and Switzerland this summer. Rather than enduring dirty looks because of a fussy baby, the trio was embraced by locals who were charmed by Max, whether being heartily welcomed in the corner cafés or being invited to a private Italian villa simply because its owner had taken a liking to the kid.
When traveling with an infant, the most important thing to remember is that the trip should be fun for all of you, a chance to create once-in-a-lifetime memories. With a little planning and forethought, you'll be well prepared to enjoy yourselves.
More from Budget Travel: