Navigating International Travel with an Infant: Tips and Advice

Traveling internationally with an infant can be a thrilling yet daunting experience. As you embark on your journey, you’re faced with a myriad of questions and concerns, from what to pack to how to ensure your baby’s comfort throughout the trip. In this blog post, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to help you prepare for your adventure and ensure a smooth and enjoyable international travel experience with your little one.

Choosing the Right Food for the Flight

When traveling with an infant, it’s essential to plan your baby’s food carefully. Airlines typically have varying rules and allowances for baby food, including formula and baby cereal. To avoid any issues, check with your airline for their specific policies on carrying baby food in your cabin luggage.

Packing Formula and Cereal

Most airlines do allow formula and baby cereal in cabin luggage. However, there might be restrictions on the quantity you can bring. Make sure you’re aware of and adhere to these limitations to ensure a hassle-free journey. You can carry enough food for 2 weeks in your cabin luggage.

Preparing for Boiled Water

To prepare formula and cereal or simply to keep your baby hydrated, you’ll need boiled water. In most cases, airlines allow this, but be aware of the restrictions on the amount of liquid you can carry in your cabin baggage. You can carry hot water in thermos bottle, normally airport security ask you and might allow you to carry. Sometimes, they may ask to pour the water down the sink or sometimes, they will ask you to drink one mouth full of water to ensure that its not a dangerous liquid.

Most important thing is, you can ask for hot water with the flight attendent in the flight anyway.

Securing a Seat for Your Child

For international travel, infants(i.e. below 2 years) usually require their own ticket. But, you do not have to pay for ticket like adults, just need to pay a nominal fees like $100 that makes up for insurances and service charges. Infant will have their own boarding pass. In my case, adult fare was $1000 and I paid about $100 for the infant. The infant will be sitting on your lap. They will give you a seat belt which you will first attach to your seat-belt and the wrap it around the infant.
infant seat belt

Selecting the Ideal Seat

Choosing the right seat can make a world of difference when traveling with an infant. Seats near the bulkhead are often preferred as they offer more space and may have a bassinet option. Contact the airline during booking or check-in to reserve a bulkhead seat.

Make sure to keep the bag with baby items with you and put it under the seat so that its easily accessible to you when needed.

Soothing Your Baby in Flight

Air travel can be unsettling for babies, so it’s essential to have strategies to soothe them during the journey. Options include breastfeeding, bringing your baby’s favorite toys, and packing earplugs for noisy cabin situations. You can feed the baby a little bit to relieve them from discomfort during flight. They may experience ear pain.

Continuous vs. Layover Journeys

In most cases, a direct or continuous flight is preferable when traveling with an infant. Layovers and terminal changes can be exhausting for both you and your baby.
transit airport

Bottle Sterilization on the Flight

Consider packing extra bottles for your baby during the flight. If you need to clean or sterilize them, the cabin crew can often assist you by providing hot water.

Choosing Baby’s In-Flight Attire

Dressing your baby in layers is a practical choice for flights. Ensure you have multiple sets of clothes in your cabin baggage to adapt to changing cabin temperatures.

Post-Arrival Meals

Once you reach your destination, consider continuing with familiar baby food to help your baby adjust. You can either bring your baby’s usual food in your checked luggage or purchase ready-made baby food at your destination.

Traveling with Medicines

It’s a good idea to carry essential medicines for your baby, along with a prescription. Consult your pediatrician before your trip to get advice on necessary medications.

Medical Documentation

Keep a medical file for your baby in your cabin luggage, including prescriptions, in case of emergencies.

Choosing Appropriate Clothing

Check the climate at your destination in advance and pack suitable clothing for your baby. If you’re traveling to a location with a similar climate, your baby’s current clothes may suffice. Otherwise, you can purchase clothing at your destination.

Bringing a Stroller

You can bring a stroller with you, but you’ll typically need to check it in. Many airlines offer the option to have it returned to you at the aircraft door upon arrival.

Coping with Jet Lag

Jet lag can affect both you and your baby, and it often takes a few days to adjust to a new time zone. Try to get back into your regular routine as quickly as possible by exposing your baby to daylight and staying active during the day.

Ultimate Checklist

Certainly! Here’s the list of essential items in a markdown checklist format:

  • Travel Documents:

    • Passport for your baby (if applicable)
    • Your baby’s visa (if required)
    • Your own passport, visa, and any required travel documents
  • Flight Tickets:

    • Tickets for both you and your baby
  • Identification:

    • Birth certificate for your baby
    • Copies of important documents (stored securely)
  • Baby Essentials:

    • Diapers (enough for the entire journey)
    • Baby wipes
    • Changing pad
    • Baby lotion and powder
    • Baby food (formula, baby cereal, and snacks)
    • Baby bottles (with pre-measured formula if needed)
    • Baby bibs
    • Baby utensils
    • Baby blankets
    • Pacifiers and toys for distraction
  • Feeding Supplies:

    • Baby formula (if not breastfeeding)
    • Bottle warmer (if needed)
    • Sterilizing equipment (if not provided on the flight)
    • Insulated bag for storing milk or formula
  • Medications and Health Essentials:

    • Baby’s prescribed medications
    • Baby thermometer
    • Baby pain reliever (if recommended by a doctor)
    • Nasal aspirator
    • Baby first-aid kit
    • Medical documents (prescriptions, medical records)
  • Travel Stroller:

    • A lightweight, collapsible stroller for convenience
  • Car Seat:

    • Check the airline’s policy on bringing a car seat
  • Clothing:

    • Weather-appropriate clothing for your baby
    • Extra sets of clothing (in case of spills or accidents)
    • Baby sleepwear for comfort during the flight
  • Travel Diaper Bag:

    • A well-organized diaper bag with compartments for easy access
  • Travel Crib or Portable Bed:

    • If your accommodation doesn’t provide one
  • Travel Essentials:

    • Baby travel-sized toiletries (baby soap, shampoo, lotion)
    • Baby nail clippers and emery board
    • Travel-sized laundry detergent
  • Entertainment and Comfort:

    • Baby carrier or sling for convenience during layovers
    • Baby’s favorite blanket or toy for comfort
    • Earplugs for noise reduction
    • Portable baby changing mat
  • Jet Lag Solutions:

    • Travel blackout curtains for better sleep in your destination
    • Baby headphones for a quiet, calm environment
    • Familiar bedtime story or lullaby
  • Important Contact Information:

    • Emergency contacts, including pediatrician’s number
    • Your accommodation details
    • Local emergency numbers at your destination
  • Snacks and Supplies for You:

    • Snacks for yourself during the journey
    • A reusable water bottle
    • Any personal medications you may need
  • Travel Insurance:

    • Verify that you and your baby have appropriate travel insurance coverage
  • Comfort Items:

    • Comfortable baby carrier or sling for carrying your baby while in transit

Feel free to customize and adjust this checklist to match your specific needs and requirements for your international travel with an infant.

Remember, while international travel with an infant can present its challenges, it’s also an opportunity to create cherished memories. Stay well-prepared, exercise patience, and embrace the adventure with your little one. Safe travels!

For more valuable travel tips and resources, you can explore BabyCenter’s Travel section, where you’ll find additional advice and insights to make your journey as smooth as possible.