We brought our baby girl of 5 months back to Ireland, our home, for 6 weeks during Christmas. We currently live in Vancouver, Canada. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights to Dublin from Vancouver during the Winter.
Our first tip would be to book your flights early especially if you are planning on travelling a long-distance during holiday seasons. We did not book our flights early enough & paid through the roof for flights. Learn from our mistake. We flew with Air Canada and had to call them after booking our flights to inform them that we would be travelling with our baby. They booked us into bassinette seats, which meant more leg room & a bassinette which attached to the wall for the baby. We would not do this again. Our baby sleeps on her belly so the bassinette was a no go, she would not go into it at all. In addition, the bassinette seats are by the toilets so there are constantly people and noise by the seats. We are lucky that our baby loves white noise which blocked it all out for her, she slept the whole flight (11 hours). However, for myself, it was a further distraction from trying to get some sleep (did not happen).
Honestly, we will be booking a seat for baby from now on, just for the comfort of the long journey. She is more mobile now and needs more space. Yes, it’s more expensive but it’s worth every penny for an easier flight.
Our next tip would be, bring only what you need. Make a list of the must-have items for each person travelling and use this as a checklist. Check in the majority of your luggage (1 suitcase per person worked for us) Only bring the essentials as carry on and avoid having to carry lots of bags. Our essential list for carry on luggage is:
- Stoller (Brilliant to use in the airport & a must for the baby when at your destination, the airline crew will store the stroller just as you are boarding the flight & it will be waiting for you as you exit the flight at your destination)
- Baby carrier (arms get tired carrying baby up & down the aisle, handy in the airport too)
- Changing bag with diapers etc.
- Change of clothes for baby & parents just in case child poo’s or vomits everywhere
- Baby food & bottles depending on if that applies
- 1 -2 toys (empty water bottles entertained our child so she needed very little toys)
- Mini travel kit for emergencies (Band-Aids, baby Advil etc.)
- Snacks & Reusable water bottle(We are vegan & vegetarian so we bring our own snacks just in case we don’t like what’s on offer, the water bottle was constantly refilled by the aircrew which was great)
We managed to fit everything under the stroller & 1 backpack so it meant our time in the airport was not stressful and this worked really well when I had to travel solo on the way back with a baby.
Next tip would be to ensure you are completely packed the night before leaving & returning. Be organised, have as little stress the morning/day of flying. Nothing eliminates stress more than being prepared. Ensure you have passports in an easily accessible bag, have your ride to & from the airport arranged & confirmed, know what terminal you fly out from…. eliminate the stress of forgetting something by being prepared the day before. Nothing is worse than trying to pack under pressure with a baby.
If you can, book yourself into an airport lounge. They may be a little pricey but if you have a long layover or arrive at the airport super early like us, the lounge is a nice area to relax. They generally have showers, food, drinks & comfy chairs. Also, great changing areas for babies.
Next tip, look to see if the airport you travel from has a breastfeeding/bottle feeding room. We used this in Dublin airport on the way back & it was amazing. It’s a private room with comfy chairs for feeding and a microwave if you need to heat milk or food. Highly recommend. This is a cool service.
Finally, as you are checking in your bags ask the person at the desk if the flight is busy if not ask if you could be seated in a row where nobody else is seated. I did this on our way back as the flight was very quiet. We got a whole row of 4 seats just for us. It was great as baby could play and had lots of room to stretch out. It’s always worth asking, it rarely happens on short flights but it’s better to ask, we always do this even before the baby arrived.
The above is our top tips & which we will do for every flight moving forward. Keep it simple and the experience goes much smoother. We hope this was helpful. If you would like to share your tips we would love to hear them.
Thanks so much,