On the plane
Babies under two years still travel free on the lap, though there are rumors that this perk may soon be coming to an end. Most airlines charge a hefty service fee ($100 on United) for overseas flights for the same privilege, of traveling with babies. Before you even consider buying that extra seat until they are over two, remember that the baby will probably be on your lap anyway during the entire flights. So, unless you need an expensive place to keep your unread newspaper and magazines, take advantage of this free ride for as long as possible, while traveling with your baby. Don’t forget the sippee cup, bottle and binkey. If you do, the plane ride will be a descent into hell, because little ears often can not handle take-offs and landings without sucking on something. If mom is there and still nursing, you’re in luck; you can read the paper in peace. If not, you’ll be playing hot potato with the baby for at least a half hour up and a half hour down. We lost the sippee cup one time on the way to the airport and were able to get one at Travelers Aid at the last minute.
One gadget (and we love gadgets) you may want to consider sticking at the bottom of the diaper bag, while traveling with babies, is a water bottle adapter. This small piece of plastic allows you to use a soda or water bottle as a baby bottle and includes an extra nipple. At $.99 on eBay, its value to you, while traveling with babies, as an always prepared dad, would be immeasurable.
While often harried, I’ve always found airline service staff to be very good at warming bottles or fetching hot water for formula, when you’re traveling with your baby. Don’t expect them to wait on you, but they can be very helpful.
A word to the wise on diapers for the plane: carry many extras while traveling with babies. Planes get delayed or cancelled, and some end up sitting on the tarmac for hours. Don’t become a horror story of a panicked parent down to the last diaper with a diarrhetic baby leaking all over you and your neighbors. We have asked strangers to borrow a diaper when really stuck, but wouldn’t want to start bartering for one in a closed market environment where demand might really far exceed supply.
We’ve eaten at dozens of great restaurants over the years, sometimes with a dozing child on our lap. However, the biggest caveat here is that kids will behave in a strange restaurant the same way they will behave at home. If you know your child will never sit through a dinner at home, don’t do as we do. We’ve never been afraid to finish up a dinner quickly if the kids have really had enough, but we’ve also never shied away from having a full meal. Go to eat as early as possible, while the staff is fresh and accommodating. We’ve always found wait staff to be super-understanding and welcoming to our kids.
A day with baby
Finally, you’re now traveling with a third person who has input into the activities of the day. Luckily, babies enjoy many things parents do: a walk through the park, a trip to a museum, or just people-watching from the luxury of their stroller. And, unlike us, they can just close their eyes and nod off whenever they get bored or tired. If you time it right, during those moments, you and your wife might even have a little bit of time to yourself to muse about life before children and all the freedom you had.