Boarding flights, crossing time zones, and adapting to hotel rooms are challenging enough tasks when traveling alone, but what about when you've got a really little one (2 and under) in tow? Best friends Emily Brands and Jennifer Garcia-Alonso (intrepid travelers and Co-Founders of The Purple Passport website), who both have young children, share their insider tips for smooth(er) sailing each step of the journey.
Utilize airport lounges
Whether you're waiting to take off or stuck on a layover, it's a good idea to exploit your airline's club lounge, especially if they have a family room (with amenities like games, toys, books, comfortable seating, and changing stations). Check your airline website for information about facilities and entrance requirements/fees. Designated children's play areas are also a huge score, as Emily learned once when traveling while 7 months pregnant with an active 15 month old.
Choose airplane seats wisely
When booking your ticket, ask for a bulkhead seat and a bassinet. The bulkhead offers more leg/breathing room, and the bassinets are lifesavers, especially on long international flights (as Jenn found flying with a 2 month old to the Middle East). They offer a place for you to lay the child when it's time to eat or rest and let you actually enjoy the flight instead of balancing a baby on your lap for hours on end. The bassinets are also significantly more cost effective than purchasing an additional seat and hauling your car seat.
Invest in a good child carrier or umbrella stroller
Once on the ground, make sure you're well prepared to transport your little one. Whether you're a fan of Ergobaby (like us) or other brand, such carriers are easy ways to strap in the baby and set out for a day of adventure. If your child is a bit older, a lightweight umbrella stroller (we like the super-light Uppababy) is the ticket. It's lightweight and easy to maneuver through whatever obstacles your itinerary throws in your path. The foldable stroller is also ideal for checking on the flight−no need to worry about it getting crushed on its way to the baggage bin.
Line up hotel kid amenities before checking in
Inquire about a hotel's kid amenities before making your reservation. The most kid-friendly hotels not only offer a range of children's goodies, but they'll also prep them for you upon request so what you need is available upon arrival. At luxe hotel chains like the Four Seasons and The Ritz-Carlton, we've had everything from a crib and baby toiletries to a stuffed animal and bib waiting for us in room as part of the kids' welcome package.
Dine on the early side
Just because you're with child (or children) doesn't mean you have to completely skip out on the foremost fine dining establishments in your destination. Of course, you don't want to disrupt the refined decorum at such restaurants, so take the earliest possible reservation. By getting there early, you'll find less crowded dining rooms, space for that highchair, and fresh servers who are bound to be more patient than at the end of their shifts. Plus, your wee one won't be so tuckered out that you have to cut the meal short to avert a sleepy-eyed crying spell.
The Purple Passport is a web-based collection of chic, one-stop-shop guides to experiencing the world's cities in style. The site provides the full range of urban travel planning needs, from researching a trip start to finish, to reserving hotels, to creating an itinerary to be shared with travel companions. The Purple Passport team personally visits every spot that it reviews and never accepts compensation for featuring a venue on the site. First-person accounts of the team's travel experiences can be found on the companion blog, The Diary of The Purple Passport.
Posted on Mon, June 24, 2013
by Elise Edwards filed under