So last month, when the little one and I took our first plane trip together (to Phoenix), I was obsessed with figuring out how to travel efficiently with her and our stuff. I devoured Shelly Rivoli’s Travels with Baby book and her website. My goal in traveling is always to pack as light as possible, while not forgetting anything I might need. So with a baby, that’s somewhat ridiculous.
The biggest question was what to do with the carseat. Originally I had planned to check it (most airlines allow you to do so for free) — but in doing some research realized this wasn’t a great option. First there’s the possibility it doesn’t make it on the plane with you or gets lost in transit and then you are stuck when you arrive at your destination. Then (and more of a concern) is whether the carseat will actually survive all the jostling. Most info I looked at was in agreement — carseats are made to withstand one major crash — so if it is dropped, etc while in transit, it could be damaged structurally and you wouldn’t necessarily know it. Since carseat safety is one of the 2 issues I’ve decided to be neurotic about as a mom, this was out.
Then on a few websites, we spotted a few different brands of carseat dollys. Great idea, right? Except that, as is the case with almost every product marketed to parents, it cost 2-3 times what other similar products cost that are marketed to normal people.
Turns out this “hand truck” is sold on Amazon for $25…or less than half the price of the “Carseat dollys” — yet still holds up to 150 pounds. Yes, please!
Getting through security is still a pain, as you have to unstrap the carseat, put it through separately, then bungee everything together again. But when is going through security not a pain, right? Just arrive at the airport a little earlier than normal and take your time. Then you can either gate check your car seat (and carry on the dolly), or if you purchased a seat for your baby, bring it on the plane (Assuming your seat is FAA approved).
Here’s how we traveled with all carry-ons on our recent trip to New Orleans. It made it pretty easy to navigate through the airport — and we even took public transportation all the way home (the “El” + 2 buses + a half mile walk to our condo) with no major problems.
What are your favorite travel tips? We’d love to hear them!