Ten Tips For Flying Internationally With A Baby


I hope you enjoyed the posts this week on flying with a baby. I thought it would be helpful to wrap up this series with a distillation of the mom-tested words of wisdom from the series.

  • Don’t over pack, have a diaper/nappy bag with just nappies and wipes in it. That way you’re not digging through a lot of stuff just to reach the wipes. Pack a second bag with clothes, toys, etc. Don’t forget to pack a clean shirt for yourself. On one memorable occasion, BigB barfed all over me while we were boarding a flight from Seattle to London. 10 hours in a stinky t-shirt is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone else.
  • Breastfeed your baby if possible, it makes managing feeding while traveling very easy. As Trish said, the moment her baby stirred on a flight she picked him up and fed him before he’d even woke up fully. Nursing put him back to sleep so the net result was he slept for the majority of the flights.
  • If you’re traveling with a spouse or partner, agree to work together for the flight. If you start out arguing you’re likely to continue to do so for the entire flight. It doesn’t matter who packed or didn’t pack whatever or who got to eat their meal first the last time or who’s turn it is to change the baby!
  • Expect to be awake for the entire trip. Even if the baby sleeps most of the time,  you will constantly check her to make sure she’s comfortable.
  • If the main purpose of your trip is to visit relatives and you’ll be mostly staying with relatives, book a couple of nights away by yourselves regardless of how short your trip is.
  • People have babies all over the world and baby products such as diapers, wipes, etc are therefore available everywhere. Pack what you need for your journey plus the first couple of days of your trip. If you are visiting somewhere new, your mission on day one of your visit is to find a supermarket where you can buy supplies.
  • Expect jet-lag to be difficult to manage with a young infant. Plan ahead on how you will manage it with your spouse, partner or host.
  • If you have a long stop-over, check out rates at airport hotels. Being able to take a shower and relax in a private space is a great way to break up a long journey.
  • Bring a roll of sticky tape!
  • Remember that all flights have to come to an end. Even if your child is upset from take-off to landing, most people on the flight will be sympathetic to your plight and even if they’re not, you will likely never see those people again.

Related Posts
Flying with a baby: Pre-trip planning
Flying with a baby: On the flight
Flying With a baby: rrival and jet-lag.
Ten Tips For Flying Internationally With A Baby

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About wandermom

". . .life is short and the world is wide" - Simon Raven I'm not sure I've ever consciously planned a trip based on this sentiment, but it definitely influences my subconscious! I've been traveling as frequently and widely as possible since I finished school. And I love it. I love the research, the planning, the fervent packing and the curiosity of exploring somewhere I've never been before. My husband & I are both Irish - as in born-in-Ireland. But we live in Seattle. We have two boys: wild, boisterous, regular boys. So, since becoming a Mom, I've been a WanderMom. Given our slightly-unusual family situation, routine "visits-to-Grandma" are international trips requiring passports, 10hr-flights and (oh joy!) airport transfers. I have rants, raves and opinions about how, where & why to travel with kids (start them as young as you can, I say!). I hope to learn even more by researching topics which other wandermoms may be interested in reading about on this blog. Passports, pacifiers, diapers and gameboys at the ready - off we go! Contact Info: Email Michelle: michelle (at) murphnduff (dot) org

18 thoughts on “Ten Tips For Flying Internationally With A Baby

  1. Jacques

    You forgot the number one tip: do the rest of us a favor and stay home until the baby isn’t a baby anymore. Thank you in advance for making my trip a living nightmare with your screaming kid along with the smell of crap filled diapers.

  2. wandermom Post author

    @Jacques: We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. It may help to remember that sometimes families need to travel. For example, my younger son was still a baby when my Mom was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. We flew to Ireland to see her before her surgery. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

  3. Colleen Lanin at Travel Mamas

    It isn’t a baby who ruins your trip, Jacques. Your sour attitude probably ruins your good time wherever you go, no matter the location or the company. The baby is just a convenient excuse to be unhappy. Best wishes on finding a more optimistic outlook on travel and life!

  4. Anj (@1writergrrl)

    Um, Jacques, there’s no need to be rude. Babies don’t cry and void their bowels to make your flight “a living nightmare”. Might I suggest some earplugs and ambien for your next flight?

  5. Jackie

    I would never tell someone to stay home and not travel with their children. Although my son was age four before he took his first plane ride, I think all families should be able to fly with smaller age children if need be.

    I have been on planes with crying children, loud talking adults, and worst. Plane rides are never totally drama free. Travel blogs like yours are needed to help families make travel as pain free as possible. Keep up the good work.

  6. Jody

    Apparently Jacques has no kids of his own… One can only hope that he doesn’t contribute his bad attitude to the gene pool.

    Traveling with kids is easy if you prepare. I agree with not packing too much- I often ship items to our destination because, though they can be found worldwide the exchange rate can make diapers cost as much as a good meal!

  7. Corey T

    Jacques – We’re putting up with your screaming, crap-filled comment, so lighten up.

    As a traveler without kids, I am much more sympathetic to parents who show they recognize their child may be bothering others. That doesn’t require repeated apologies, but it does mean actively trying to make the situation more bearable for everyone.

    I’m having a flashback to the mom who had her mommy ears on and seemed to be the only person on the flight who didn’t hear her child screaming bloody murder. When the flight attendant asked if she needed any help, the woman said, “Oh, if we ignore her, she’ll quiet down.” That was an hour into the flight.

    Thankfully, that one passenger doesn’t represent most traveling mums.

  8. Meg

    Wow, someone must have crawled out from under a rock an adult. Why would some who clearly doesn’t like babies read a family travel blog? Maybe to write a flaming comment for attention? I bet someone hasn’t had this much attention in a long time.

  9. patricia

    Corey – you are absolutely right, the reason I did so much planning for this trip was so my son wouldn’t get distressed or upset and distrub a whole plane of people.
    Jacques- hopefully you have no kids of your own. And I agree with Colleen your attitude probably ruins your good time wherever you go. Go back into your cave you Muppit!

  10. Sarah V

    Jacques–First of all, why on earth would I want to do YOU a favor?

    Secondly, I’ll stop bringing my daughter on flights when rude adults stop snoring, sniffling, talking loudly, and farting.

  11. wanderdad

    I see what you did there Jacques. You said “thank you in advance…”, but you didn’t really mean it. First I was all confused, but now that I get it, my mirth knows no bounds.

    Looks like you’re not just a gracious troll, Jacques, but quite a witty one to boot.

  12. familyonbikes

    Hmmm… I can’t imagine anybody being that bitter toward a baby! I mean – a baby?!?! Yes, I did have one of those horrid flights with my twins when they were little – one of them screamed the whole flight. It was torture for me and for everyone else!

    But, I flew with my boys all the time when they were little and there was only one out of how-ever-many flights that it was a problem. Basically, kids are a delight to travel with and I wish more families could get their kids out to see the world – the world would be a much better place.


  13. Corinne@ Have Baby Will Travel

    Betcha Jacques, for the entire duration of the flight and at the slightest peep from a baby, overtly rolls his eyes, tsks and then sighs loud enough for for the entire plane to hear.

    Adults who act out in public are way more annoying than a crying baby will ever be.

  14. Amy @ The Q Family

    @Jacques, I hope you will never have to travel in any kind of public transportation in third world country where you will be thankful to find enough space to breath! I’m so surprised that you spend your time leaving a comment on a great blog that aims for TRAVEL with CHILDREN!!

    With a commenter like you that gives us family with kids even more of a reason to go out and travel with our kids!!

  15. Tara Brown

    Guys! Ignore trolls! It totally negates a blog post when you acknowledge them.

    I am doing a big BIG trip with my 3 month old. We are traveling between Asia and Europe for the next 7 months.

    Ripley was amazing on his first flight all the way from LAX to SIN which is about 20 hours with a stopover in Narita.

    My husband and I are seasoned world travelers and I think that makes a big difference when traveling with a baby – you know how to take care of yourself by default and can focus on ensuring your kid is OK.

    I was pretty disappointed in American Airlines because I really tried hard to book a baby bassinet in the bulkhead seat and they said we couldn’t book ahead of time. Turned out someone that booked thru a codeshare airline could book it. Makes no sense, I need to look into this more because with a mountain of flights ahead of us, I want that baby bed!

    We’ve been in Singapore for a few days and are definitely suffering jetlag which is unusual for me, but I suppose it makes sense because we were still working on a sleep routine before we left LA.

  16. Maggie

    Thanks for this. I wonder about the point you made about visiting relatives and booking a couple nights away, do you mean with or without the child(ren)? Thanks!

  17. wandermom Post author

    Hi Maggie,
    I actually meant with in one of two ways: with my children we found it easier to stay at a hotel on the first night or two so that our kids got over their initial jet-lag before going to stay with grandparents (and disrupt their sleep schedules). Also, if your trip is your family vacation but you spend the whole time staying in other people’s houses you can come home feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation. I found that even a night or two without extended family helped that feeling a lot – even though this can be tricky to arrange when you’re only visiting for a short time.
    I hope that helps

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