Growing up, it seemed like traveling was almost a sport in my family. I can remember taking many road trips, riding the train across several states and soaring the skies aboard 747’s. I took my first flight alone when I was 10 years old. I’ve been to a total of 15 states over the years. I even traveled during both of my pregnancies. So of course having children wasn’t going to change my love of exploring new cities and new cultures. My older son, Christian took his first flight at 10 months old. My youngest son, Carter, traveled even earlier than that at just 7 months old. Since then I’ve traveled several times with both of them. And let me tell you, traveling with two small boys is quite the adventure!
To make family travel flow a bit more smoothly, there are several things you can do to prepare for the plane ride, the hotel stay, and any attractions you may visit. There’s also a few things you can do to prepare for the unexpected as well.
First, you definitely want to check the airline you’re flying on and see if they provide any accommodations for babies or toddlers. You’d be surprised at the amenities available on board. For example, if flying American Airlines, US Airways, United Airlines, or Delta Airlines, you would be able to request an in-flight bassinet for your baby that is 20lbs or less, on select aircrafts. Unfortunately for me, I did not discover this information until earlier this year, when both of my children were over 20lbs. On the bright side, I learned there are also changing tables in the lavatories of select aircrafts (so you don’t have to change a poopy diaper in your lap!)
If you have a child younger than 2 who you will not be purchasing a seat for, be sure to also check your airline’s website for required documentation necessary to get the child a Boarding Verification Document. From experience I can tell you that you will at minimum need the child’s birth certificate for sure. I can also tell you that traveling with an 18 month old while being 5 months pregnant and trying to fly with him or your lap is probably not the best option–so in those cases, just buy the extra seat! You’ll be glad you did, TRUST ME!
If staying at a hotel in your destination city, you can call ahead to arrange a portable crib (aka a Pack n Play) be placed in your room. They are available on a first come, first serve basis. There are also quite a few hotels that have complimentary shuttle service between the airport and the hotel. So if you’re lodging is near the attractions you’ll be visiting, check to see if the hotel has a free shuttle service. Doing so will help you avoid having to rent a car or pay a taxi driver just to get to/from the airport.
Depending on what city you’re going to, there is usually a nice amount of family friendly activities. However, if you’re visiting Las Vegas for the first time, or the 5th, I don’t think I’d recommend bringing along the babies/toddlers. One of my favorite cities to visit with my children is Wisconsin Dells, WI.
Wisconsin Dells is one of those places that has something for everyone, but they make a conscious effort to cater their youngest visitors. They make the Top 20 list of most family friendly destinations every year. Boasting the nation’s largest waterpark (Noah’s Ark), over 60 kid-friendly restaurants, and almost 100 attraction, activity, entertainment and recreation options, there’s no wonder why they always make the list!
I’ve been to WI Dells a dozen times and now that I’m a travel agent as well, there’s no doubt I can create an exceptional and AFFORDABLE vacation package for your family. Simply send me an email at email@example.com with your preference in travel dates and I’ll do all the heavy lifting for you! For other travel deals, visit us online at www.4CornersTravel.org !