Ashley: Now that I’ve taken Eleanor on about a dozen flights, I’ve figured out how to navigate the airports in a way that works really well for me. I hope some of these tips help you as well!
1 – Bring a baby carrier or stroller: I use a baby carrier to get through security and to the gate. Most of the time I am able to leave her buckled in while going through security, but be prepared for the TSA to ask you to remove the baby. Its happened to me a few times in different airports and it’s a bit inconvenient, but I would never argue with TSA!
A stroller is great for families that don’t use baby carriers or families with multiple children. The kids will have to get out through security but can ride the rest of the way. Your stroller will be taken as you enter the airplane and will be waiting for you when you exit.
2 – Check your luggage: Check as much of your luggage as you can. This makes getting through security and the airport much easier. I like to carry a backpack with a change of clothes, diaper/wipes, a full first aid kit, entertainment, and snacks. This leaves my hands and front side free for carrying baby in my arms or carrier.
3 – Know the rules: Know the TSA rules ahead of time so you don’t have to rummage through your bags all flustered at the last minute. Have your bag of liquids in a convenient spot as well as your electronics. I was required at one airport to have all electronics, including my cell phone, separated out due to heightened security.
4 – Organize your carry on with Ziploc bags: I put all clothing items in a large ziplock bag to prevent them from getting dirty and so they don’t go everywhere while I’m looking in my bag for other things. Use bags to keep like items together such as charging cables and headphones, small toys and books, diapers and wipes, etc. If you have to empty your bag to find something, packing a few Ziploc bags back into your bag is much quicker than all of the individual items.
5 – Carseat: I bought an inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to install car seat for our travels. Its easy to get though the airport with it, especially when the rest of our bags are checked, and it keeps a cooperative child safe while they read, watch movies, and sleep on the airplane. Car seats can often be used in place of a baby carrier or stroller if you have a car seat travel cart.
6 – Bring a comfort item: Airports are full of fun, new, exciting things! But when a toddler gets overwhelmed by all the excitement, having something familiar can be very calming. Things like a stuffed animal, blanket, or favorite toy can do the trick!