For many parents, the prospect of traveling abroad with an infant might seem more than a little intimidating. There are many things to consider, from important documentation to your baby's comfort level. With ample preparation and planning, however, going overseas with a baby can be a relatively easy and stress-free experience.
Gather your infant's necessary documents. Babies, just like any other people, require passports or visas to travel to different nations. A few months before your trip, begin the process for getting a passport or visa for your baby. Some nations only require passports for entry, while others call for both passports and visas. Call the country's consulate or embassy to be certain.
Book your plane tickets. Babies are known to get cranky on airplanes; take that detail into consideration when booking your flight. Try to reserve tickets on a plane that isn't full with fellow passengers. If possible, purchase tickets for a flight during the week, or for a flight that travels during an infant's typical sleeping hours. Airlines do not require parents to purchase seats for babies, although that extra seat can be convenient when it comes to feeding and diaper changing.
Contact the airline and ask about reserving a bassinet for your baby. In some instances, bassinets may be booked before the flight.
Bring a car seat. Although a car seat is not vital for a baby's plane ride, the United States' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advises parents to bring one. The safety seats are useful for child-restraint purposes, particularly in shaky situations such as turbulence.
Pack wisely. Traveling overseas involves a lot of walking, whether you're walking between airplane terminals or from hotel to hotel. Bring just the basics, knowing you can always purchase additional items at your destination, if necessary. Invest in a baby carrier that frees your hands for carrying other things, such as luggage.
On the day of departure, arrive at the airport approximately one to two hours before your flight. This window allows you sufficient time to check your stroller at the gate, change your baby's diaper if necessary, and make final arrangements to get a bassinet on board.
Be prepared for your baby's in-flight needs. Bring extra clothing for your baby while on the plane, as cabins tend to get cold. During takeoff, offer your baby a pacifier to decrease building ear pressure. The movement of the plane may immediately lull the infant to sleep. During the flight, do not be afraid to ask the flight attendants for items such as extra blankets. If you're flying solo, ask an attendant to watch your infant while you use the restroom.
- FAA; Child Safety on Airplanes; August 2011
- Parents; Traveling Abroad With Kids; Lori Morris
- BabyCenter: Flying With Your Baby
- Family Education; When Can Infants Fly On Planes?; Shari Nethersole
- Ciao Bambino; Flying Overseas With Babies; February 2010
- Traveling Today; A Baby Abroad; Danielle Hamilton
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images