Tips from Readers: Anonymous

This one comes to me from "Anonymous" (thank you whoever you are!)

I have had extensive travel experience flying by myself with our son, from when he was two months until today, on several long haul flights. His passport is filled with stamps from all over the world. When he was just a baby I always reserved the bulkhead seat when buying the ticket, checked in early and asked if the flight was full. If not full, I would ask if the staff could switch my seat to a seat with the next seat free (that they could block for me). I would walk with the stroller base and car seat up to the airplane doors, but get only checked the base at the gate, keeping the car seat with me (if I had that extra seat beside me). I found this easier than the bassinet,
as my son could be awake and still comfortable in the seat (as opposed to the bassinet where he did not always like it). It would allow me to have a meal beside him even if he was awake. Also remember that in a bassinet, the baby has to be picked at every take off, landing and turbulence, which can be quite disruptive if you have a child who has trouble falling asleep in a plane (and Murphy's law is always so effective to get a turbulence 15 minutes after he fell asleep!)... A bassinet, when travelling alone, is not so convenient (specially with american flight carriers, as they put it on the floor (Europeans have them hanging on the wall) (but drawback for an older kids as it can be dangerous for a fall). A bassinet on the floor means less foot space for you and the person next too you, which might be embarrassing for your fellow traveller. Also a young baby who is learning to crawl might not be encouraged to sleep if so close to the floor - it was the case for our son. Also remember to buy a car seat "that can fly". There is something written on them, some logo and abbreviation - can't recall what exactly - we had a Graco and it was approved by the international air agency or something similar. Finally, my experience, for long flights, bring more than you need - 2 extra change of baby clothes (pj with foots are the best), wipes,
diapers, jarred food (sometimes airlines might be able to provide - or you might want to ask when booking to get a baby meal some serve it). Also for toddlers, videos (I am not a tv person, but hey that makes such a difference when traveling), books and other games make it easier. when going through security, you will find that some countries, or some states have more friendly staff. it is never simple to go through the security and handle the baby and the luggage and stroller, and I learned that what works in one place does not always work - for example, in some cases, I was asked to discard my 100 ml baby bottles - they only had water not milk, even in the right required amount, but
the staff was not helpful. Other times, I had to prevent the staff from opening all my jarred food - and I had brought lot (no limit on the number of jars, so I was carrying half a dozen as we where heading to a place I was not sure I could find them). Other times, at the opposite, I walked with evian water bottle (larger than the required
min amount) in my diaper bag, as the staff thought it was for the baby (and I had forgotten about it). hoping this helps,

Tips from Readers: Isabelle

Here's a great tip from reader, Isabelle:

I found it helpful to be prepared for extended wait times due to possible flight delays etc. I brought a thin (easy and small for folding) yet large enough blanket
when I traveled with my twin infants so they would have a clean space to roll around on, play, get some tummy time in and stretch their legs instead of the nasty airport carpeting. I also requested to board last so we had the maximum freedom before the
restrictions of a plane seat...the other way around may be more comfortable for others who may wish to get on first to get settled...either way, airport staff are very willing to accomodate [sic] your needs. I even had the pilot carry one of my babies to baggage claim...he volunteered! I do support, also, a previous poster who wrote of the importance of having a binky or a bottle ready for take-off and landing as it will help the baby's ears resist the pressure...I found a bottle worked better than a binky as it also soothed the tummy with milk. As soon as the plane begins the fast part of the taxi give your baby the binky/bottle and all should be fine :-)

TRAVEL TIP: Unusual Suspects

When shooting photos on vacation, in addition to the traditional shots of the family in front of famous landmarks, and those landscape shots you swear you're going to frame, but never get around to it, but try taking a few alternative angle shots too. Its fun!

What do I mean? Well, try an other vantage point, like looking straight down a curving stairwell, or up at a beautiful cornice, like this shot shot I took in Annapolis, Maryland. You just might find they become some of your favorite snapshots.