Traveling with Little Ones Can Be De-stressing!

The Travel Guru

Grandma and Grandpa are expecting you and your 18-month old bundle of joy for a summer visit from Capital Hill. Let’s face it, air travel can be stressful, but wrangling a toddler and boarding a plane can be particularly challenging. In my practice I work with quite a few young families that travel. I’m not a parent myself, but I’ve observed my share of TSA line and gate meltdowns.

First get yourself familiar with TSA procedures for traveling with children. A great place to start is https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures/traveling-children. But I have what I consider the best advice of all, and it relates to getting on the plane with a car seat or infant carrier.

The boarding process can be truly nerve-racking. Most carriers still allow families with small children to board first. The trick is for one parent to board early with the car seat and one or more carry-on bags. The other parent and child stay at the gate. Parent #1 stows the bags, installs the car seat and then stays on the plane to await Parent @2 and child; OR exits and retrieves the family. Either way when you’re actually boarding with your “bundle,” it’s a quick and easy walk onto the plane and into the seat(s)!

Now I know that many parents are still relying on the “lap child” rule: the abiity to keep your under two year old in your lap and not purchase a ticket for him/her. Please don’t do this. ou’d be surprised at how easily an infant – even one held closely in loving arms – can become a projectile in a plane. The best way to travel with a child is to buy a ticket and seat that child in a car seat. Aside from being safer, it is a lot more pleasant for all of you. If you have concerns about lugging a large car seat, I’ve found the CARES safety harness to be a great alternative. I’ve had clients use it and I’ve seen it in action on planes.

Have a great trip and arrive at Grandma and Grandpa’s calm, cool, and ready for a great visit!

Mindy Milliron is a Travel Advisor/Owner of Red Head Travel and is working from her home at Eastern Market. She is associated with MacNair Travel Management American Express in Alexandria. Mindy specializes in custom vacations to Italy and Europe as well as European River Cruises. She has been awarded “Italy Travel Insider” status by American Express -. She can be reached at 202-640-5793 and mmilliron@macnairtravel.com.


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