Travel advice? — The Bump
January 2016 Moms

Travel advice?

Hi there!  So, we're getting into the holiday season and I figure it might be good to have a place to share tips and ask for help.  We are potentially traveling for the very first time with LO and I have so many questions!  Anyone who is experienced with baby travel care to help out?

1. If you stay in a hotel, do all hotels have cribs?  Or only some?  Do they have standard crib mattresses, so that our sheets will fit fine?
2. Plane travel!  If you're doing the lap baby thing - do you check your car seat?  Or can it be a carryon?  Can you have a carseat and a stroller as a carry on?  If you're buying the baby a seat, do they sit in their carseats?  Or if they're sitting up fine, can they just sit as normal in a seat with a seatbelt?
3. Car rental - do they ever come with car seat bases or do you have to bring a base? (or install a seat without a base - I hear this can be done, though I need to look into it more.)

Btw the whole thought of traveling with a baby is so intimidating to me!  I'm not even worried about crying on the plane at this point - there's just so much gear!  

Anyway, thank you!!!

Re: Travel advice?

  • I've done a lot of research on this topic, because I'm flying with my LO in just two weeks. Cross country. 
    1. Not all hotels have cribs. I would contact the hotel and see if yours does. 
    2. You can check your car seat. Most airlines allow you to check a car seat, a stroller, and one piece of luggage for the two of you, if baby is traveling as a lap child. The other thing you could do (especially is you're traveling Southwest Airlines,) is check at the gate to see if there are open seats on your flight. You could potentially board with your car seat, and baby can travel in that. If you want to purchase a seat, a lot of airlines will offer a discounted rate. If you purchase a seat, a car seat is not required, but strongly encouraged. If your LO has reached 22 pounds, there's a 5 point harness that you can purchase.
    3. Car rental--Again, I think this depends on the company, and the availability at the time. I would worry about the base being universal--meaning it might not fit your seat. You could affix the base to the seat and check the whole thing (bag it up,) and then you'd have it. Otherwise, I would just go with the non-base installation. A lot of Uber drivers have car seats/boosters, so that could be a temporary fix as well.  We are traveling to my family's home, and LO is outgrowing her infant seat, so we just ordered a convertible to be shipped directly to my mom via amazon. That way, it's installed when they pick us up from the airport. She'll mail it to us once we head back home.

    Finally, a little bit of my opinion on lap children.
    We are traveling with my LO as a lap child because if we didn't we wouldn't be able to afford to go at all. From what I read on the FAA website, the reason that lap children are allowed is because: If a regular seat is required, it would prohibit some families from using air travel, and opting to drive. Statistically (Still FAA here,) that is far more dangerous than air travel.
    If we had more money, I would absolutely purchase a seat for LO, but right now it's not doable. 

    I look forward to hearing what other people say on the subject, since we're leaving soon!
    maureenmce
  • This is right up my alley! We have been to 10 countries with LO and I feel like I have it down pretty well now.

    1. Many hotels offer a pack and play, but not all of them, so definitely check with the individual hotel. Also, consider an AirBnb. They are often comparably priced with hotels and you get a kitchen and more than one bedroom. If LO has been in their own room for a while it can be rough to share a room again as you rolling over and moving around will disturb them.
    2. What you can take on the plane is totally dependent on the airline. Google traveling with an infant on *name of airline* and they all have slightly different rules. Check your car seat, I have yet to find an airline that doesn't check it free. Buy a car seat bag to protect it and keep the base attached. It's so much quicker than trying to fumble to get it in a car when you have a cranky kid to deal with and you just want to be at your destination. If you want to use your car seat on the plane it has to have FAA approved on it somewhere. We have always traveled with LO as a lap infant and the flight attendants are fine with you getting up and walking them in a carrier. Just be sure you bring plenty to entertain them. 
    3. I would not trust a rental car car seat as far as I can spit. You have no idea what kid was in it last, how well it was cleaned, or if it was in an accident. Always bring your own. Also, for UBER, they count as a taxi service in most places, so kids don't need to be in a car seat. Definitely check with wherever you are going though.

    If you have any more questions let me know! I'm probably forgetting something....
    stephanienjermaureenmce
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  • l4rkl4rk member
    edited November 2016
    1. Every hotel we have stayed in has had a "crib" but 90% of the time it's a pack n play. I always just call ahead to confirm.

    2. You can gate check a stroller and a carseat on most planes. We gatechecked a carseat on Delta and then LO sat on our lap. Paying full price for an extra seat is just too outrageous for me.

    3. We brought our own Click Connect car seat (re: gate check) and used the non-base setting. Our local car techs taught us how to install the seat with just a seatbelt. If you have these guys in your city, they are totally worth the appointment time.
    maureenmce
  • We have been traveling a bunch with baby and it's totally worth it, even though it can seem overwhelming or tiring at times.  Based on my experience and what I've heard from others here are my answers to 1 & 3:
    1. Most hotels have cribs (pack & play), but def ask ahead when making your reservation. If they have it and you request it then they'll usually set it up so its already in your room and set up when you check in.  The baby bed is usually made and has sheets and even a baby pillow and comforter, so you shouldn't need to worry about sheets!  Usually it is provided free of charge but we've had a few places charge a small fee for it (~$10 per night).
    3. Regarding car rental and whether to rent a car seat, I haven't dealt with it yet but will this summer.  I have been strongly recommended against rental car seats.  Apparently they are often dirty and not great.  Also I've heard the rental companies usually do not install the car seat for you (for liability reasons). If you don't travel with your car seat (though it sounds from others' answers here like that would be the best option), what people have recommended to me is to buy a car seat at location.  I've been told you can get a decent one at Walmart or Costco for ~$50, so if you are renting a car for more than 3-4 days it would be cheaper that way too!
    Hope your travels go well !!
    maureenmce
  • @l4rk is your car seat the Graco brand click connect?  I am curious because that's what I have and I wasn't aware of a setting that did not need the base... That could come in quite handy! 
  • 1. Some do, some don't. Most cities have baby product rentals that you can use if the hotel doesn't have anything. It's been really hard having a crib in the same room though and it doesn't end up working for us. We have been pushing the mattress against the wall and just co sleeping with LO... not the best sleep either, but better than battling her to sleep in the strange crib next to us. 

    2. We've done both ways, and I prefer LO having her own seat if you can afford it. She is just so squirmy and its nice getting some extra space. I don't think they are big enough to just sit there without a car seat for takeoff and landing though. 

    3. We rented a car with a car seat and it was a really aweful experience. I won't go into it, but I highly recommend just bringing your seat and learning how to install it without a base. 
    maureenmce
  • @l4rk is your car seat the Graco brand click connect?  I am curious because that's what I have and I wasn't aware of a setting that did not need the base... That could come in quite handy! 
    Yes, it is. The seatbelt only version is in the manual so you can look it up. It definitely came in handy on our trip!
  • Thanks, all!  SUPER helpful! 
  • I can't speak to hotels, but when we travelled we opted to use a rental agency car seat and immediately regretted it when we arrived. We had to install it ourselves without a manual so we had absolutely no idea how. And it was probably the cheapest seat on the market, LO HATED it and just looked uncomfortable in it, and we couldn't figure out how to adjust the angle so if he ever fell asleep in it he almost choked himself on the buckle because his head couldn't stay upright. Would definitely advise against it, from experience. 

    That being said, we brought our stroller and gate checked it and it was so simple and easy, I would definitely recommend doing this with both stroller and car seat, totally worth lugging it through the airport, plus the stroller can act as a luggage carrier when LO has had enough of being strapped in it. 
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