We’re right in the thick of Labor Day weekend. And even though USA Today counts the holiday among its 10 worst times to travel, that hasn’t stopped a record 17.5 million passengers from booking flights.
Preparation is key for dealing with the masses and a fussy little one.
CHECK OUT THESE 8 LABOR DAY TRAVEL TIPS TO REDUCE STRESS:
1. REACH OUT TO THE AIRLINE IN ADVANCE.
My husband did this for us when my son, Donovan and I were preparing for our first trip together, and you’ll want to follow suit. Let the airline know you’ll be traveling with an infant. Send a copy of the baby’s birth certificate electronically, and also bring it and a printed boarding pass with you when you travel just in case there are any mix-ups.
2. GRAB A WEARABLE BABY CARRIER FOR LABOR DAY.
I only used a wearable carrier my baby’s first two flights. It freed up my hands and made sleeping on the plane easy breezy for the baby and I, but I will say my shoulders started to hurt carrying the baby through multiple flight delays and a gate change. A light stroller would have helped, and you’ll need one anyway if you have multiples or older children, said Jerusha Washington, a mother of three.
3. USE YOUR TIME WISELY.
Even if you can only afford a few minutes, allocate some time right before you travel for self-care. You’re traveling with a baby Labor Day weekend. You’ll need loads of patience. You can not be stressed out before even leaving home, and neither can your baby. So use that down-time in the airport to help your little one run, stretch or play himself weary. So that when he’s up in the air, he’s ready to chill, and so are you.
4. TAKE NOTES ON HOW TO PACK BETTER NEXT TIME.
Traveling with a baby is not a science, but it can be if you keep notes on how to improve. Your goal is to pack strategically and minimize your luggage needs. Just don’t forget to keep waterproof bibs and spit-up cloths where you can quickly grab them.
5. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES AND CLOTHES.
This goes for you and the baby. I recommend pants, socks and long-sleeved shirts even in the summer. Airports and planes can be cold, and I don’t like fiddling with jackets in the airport. I also like to attach the baby’s pacifier to me so I can somewhat protect it from germs.
6. AVOID THOSE AIRPORT CHANGING TABLES ON LABOR DAY.
OK, so maybe they’re perfectly sanitary to use, but who really knows? I used our changing mat on seats at a pretty empty gate, and I wasn’t escorted out of the airport by the collar. So that’s my new normal.
7. BRING SNACKS.
My little one wasn’t old enough for snacks on our first trips. But if your child is, you’ll want to bring plenty of snacks. “As soon as they see airport food, they’ll want something to eat,” Washington said.
8. BE SURE TO HAVE A BOTTLE READY FOR TAKEOFF.
Our pediatrician and Honeycomb mom Judea Dee-Steele reminded me to do this to help the baby’s ears pop. Donovan was sleep when we reached the flying altitude where my ears popped, but I think he must have felt the pressure too because he woke up abruptly crying. A couple sips of his bottle, and he was back down.