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My family took our first plane trip with our toddler last month. Before we left, I read so many articles about traveling with children searching for any tips or hacks that would make the experience easier. While I’m no expert (or superwoman travelling with multiple infants!), here’s what we did that I would absolutely do on any future trips.
Car Seats on the Plane
It’s a hotly debated topic, but we felt that it was safest for Ada to have her own seat. Plus, who am I kidding, Ada would go bananas as a lap child and everyone would arrive in Oakland hating life. That includes anyone with the misfortune to sit near us. Thus, the kiddo got her own seat.
To make things easier (ha!) we got her this car seat. It’s light-weight, cheap, and highly recommended by just about everyone who travels with tots. Bringing a car seat not only contains the kid on the flight, but it also solves the transportation issue once you arrive. We were renting a car in Oakland, and while I’ve heard you can rent car seats, I’ve also heard horror stories about dirty, out-of-date seats. Plus, the Cosco was $34 on sale, so it was cheaper than the $15 a day the car rental company wanted for whatever car seat they were offering.
After traveling with the Cosco Scenera Next, I cannot possibly recommend it more. Why?
- It’s lightweight. That has to be the biggest plus for this car seat. When travelling in general – and especially when you have a kid in tow – the last thing you want is to drag a bulky, heavy car seat around the airport. This one easily attached to my stroller with my Mommy Hook carabiner.
- It’s easy to install. You know how airplane seatbelts attach in the middle (rather than on the right or left side like in a car) and have that flap you have to lift up to release? No sweat. This seat fits easily on a plane and is installed in a snap. I had visions of people waiting in the aisle while I wrestled with a car seat, but the Cosco saved me from that fate.
- It’s easy to clean. Plane trips mean snacks. I was glad to throw the cover of this car seat in the wash when we got home!
Seriously, if you have a trip coming up, take a look (sometimes certain colors go on sale, so if, like me, you don’t care about the cover pattern, grab one when there is a sale!).
Bringing the Stroller
We knew we wanted to bring our stroller with us, so we looked into how to transport it. Most airlines let you gate check a stroller, so it would be convenient for getting Ada through the airport right up to the gate. Our problem was that our stroller is fairly fancy. It was a gift from my in-laws and probably the one item on the baby registry I researched more than any other. I love that thing. I didn’t want it to get messed up, so we bit the bullet and got our fancy stroller its own fancy travel bag. Holy moly, I know, but it comes with the guarantee that UppaBaby will make things right should the airline mess up your stroller – a kind of stroller insurance. People in my Facebook Stroller Group (yes, I’m in a Facebook Stroller Group) said the bag was a must.
Honestly, I should have practiced at home so I knew how to get the stroller in the bag before it was go-time. You have to remove wheels and detach the seat. While that’s not hard, something about doing it at the gate right before Family Boarding ended was a little stressful. The stroller made it without a scratch, though, so worth it in the end.
I am very glad we had the stroller with us on our trip. We walked all over Oakland and it was nice to have that large basket underneath the stroller to carry everything (and a place for Ada to nap). With the snack tray, it served as a high chair for breakfast every morning and was even her bed the first night when we learned Ada can now escape from Pack n Plays.
On the flight home I had more time to pack up the stroller and it was (comparatively) far easier than the pressure of the audience at the gate!