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Archive of the first 10 posts to the

Travels with Baby Tips blog



Here are the first 10 posts to the Travels with Baby Tips blog, celebrating it's 7th year! These posts were originally published through Blogger and syndicated through Amazon Daily.


The award-winning Travels with Baby Tips blog is now a self-hosted Wordpress blog at www.TravelswithBaby.com/blog - please check out the latest posts!



Travels with Baby Tip #1:

Pay the Extra for the Pool

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On our recent road trip (1400+ miles with a toddler and preschooler), we made an excellent decision to pay about $10 more for the night to stay at a hotel with a swimming pool, as opposed to another nearby hotel that did not have a pool. The entertainment value proved to be worth far more than the extra ten bucks, especially since the stop wasn’t near any particular point of interest other than gas stations and a restaurant. Better yet, both children burned off so much energy splashing at the pool that they went to bed exhausted and happy, and slept soundly through the night—in spite of having spent hours on end sitting in car seats during the day. In the morning, we spent another 30 minutes of high-impact splashing at the pool before checking out, and no one complained when it was time to climb back into the car for another stint of driving.

Safe journey,

Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children




Travels with Baby Tip #2:

Relieving an Infant's Ears on Airplanes

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

To help relieve the pressure in your infant's ears during the airplane's ascent and descent, you can plan to nurse during these segments or give a bottle to help encourage the swallowing that usually leads to ear pressure relief. But be prepared that infants don't always want to nurse or take a bottle when you are counting on them to do so--especially if it's a short flight and they aren't yet hungry after feeding during take-off, if they ate well earlier and are soundly sleeping to the hum of the engines, or if they are already sensing a strange feeling in their ears and are getting upset by it. Enter the magic cup: Any airline beverage cup will do, or the cap from your baby's bottle, plus a little drinking water. When presented with the intriguing open top cup and the little drizzle of water that comes forth, presto, magico, most little ears--and parents--are quickly relieved.


Safe journey,

Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children



Travels with Baby Tip #3:

Weigh Your Suitcases Before Flying

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


When traveling with babies and small children, suitcases fill up faster than ever before. You will likely have extra items to juggle through the airport as well—a car seat, stroller, possibly a play yard or travel bed, or a child carrier… and of course, a diaper bag. All of which may bring you to the logical conclusion to pack the biggest suitcases you can to reduce the number of individual items you will be responsible for. Watch out. Many airlines, including Delta and United, have reduced the baggage weight limit from the 70 lbs standard of the past to 50 lbs per checked bag—and that’s per bag, not the average weight spread over your family’s sum total of checked bags. If 50 lbs. still sounds like a lot to you, be sure to weigh your suitcases before heading off to the airport. The extra weight may cost you around $25 extra per offending suitcase. And if you’d like to spare yourself the added expense, you may prefer to redistribute contents between bags at leisure in your living room rather than in front of the check-in counter in the airport.


Safe journey,

Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children




Travels with Baby Tip #4:

Bring Boxed Milk on Your Flight

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Travelers with babies and small children are, in spite of liquid and gel restrictions, allowed to bring more than the standard 3 ounces of baby formula, breast milk, or juice through the security checkpoint “in reasonable quantities for the duration of your itinerary,” as stated by the TSA (see http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/formula.shtm for details). Though formula may be hard to come by otherwise on a flight (though a few foreign carriers will supply formula by request), juice is generally available on any aircraft with beverage service. Cow’s milk, however, is often unavailable on airplanes, especially on evening and red-eye flights where no coffee is provided. Since fruit juices tend to have high sugar content, you may want to avoid giving them to your child during the flight. As an alternative, you can bring boxed (also known as “shelf-stable”) cow's milk, soy milk, or rice milk onboard for your child in your carry-on baggage, even though the milks are packaged in 8 ounce quantities. Milk boxes may be found in many health food stores, and sometimes boxed cow’s milk may be found in the baking aisle of your grocery store near the powdered milk. I have also seen shelf-stable organic cow’s milk at a Babies R’ Us store and in the refrigerator case at Starbuck’s cafes. Boxed milks are clearly labeled and come with straws just like juice boxes for children, but you may prefer to bring an empty sippy cup or baby bottle onboard for serving it to your child. Though boxed milk requires no refrigeration, you can chill yours ahead of time in your refrigerator, and it may keep cool in your diaper bag for some time. If you like, ask for ice as the drink cart rolls down the aisle and serve it over cubes in your child’s sippy cup or baby bottle. As with the baby formula, breast milk, or juice for babies and small children, the TSA asks that you only bring a reasonable quantity with you per your itinerary, and present it at the security checkpoint, separate from your other liquids and gels (which should be in quantities of 3 ounces or less in your clear plastic zip-top bag).


Safe journey,

Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children


Tip #5:

Beware the Bulkhead Bassinet

Thursday, September 27, 2007


For long-haul and overseas flights with a lap child, an airline bassinet can be a major blessing—after all, without the bassinet, where else would you put your baby while you eat? Most bassinets on airplanes (or “skycots”) attach to the bulkhead wall in front of the parent passengers, though a handful of airlines have additional locations where bassinets may be attached. The bulkhead may seem like the obvious placement for bassinets, with the extra leg room, of course—until you realize that the movies and news will be projected with bright flashing lights onto a screen that’s all of 3 inches above your baby’s bed, and everyone visiting the lavatory beside you stops to smile and coo at your baby even though you are trying nurse and “shoosh” her to sleep, and the banging in the galley on the other side of the bulkhead wall isn’t helping things either. Be warned: It could happen to you. Especially for babies 4 months or older, the bulkhead ambience may be too stimulating for them to rest when needed. Fortunately, projectors seem to be fading out in favor of flat screen TVs (better) and personal TVs (much better) on aircraft. You can ask your reservations agent or check SeatGuru.com to see if you can find out ahead of time if your aircraft will have projectors, and see which bulkhead rows may be more favorable for your family’s placement (away from the kitchen, fewer lavatories, etc.). If you opt for other seats, you may be able to enjoy a more peaceful flight (though there are no guarantees!). Also, if you’re traveling with another adult, you might also be able to have one of your meals held until a later time, so you can take turns eating and holding your child on a lap.

Safe journey,

Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children



Tip #6:

Flying with Twins on Laps

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Airlines allow only one lap child per traveling adult, so if you’re traveling alone with twins (my heart goes out to you), you will need to purchase a seat for at least one of your children. Two adults may travel with one lap child apiece, however, there is usually only one lap child allowed per row in the aircraft, since there is usually only one extra oxygen mask available in each row. Some oxygen masks may also need to be reserved for the crew members in the event of an emergency, so be sure to contact your airline to let them know that you’ll be traveling with a lap child—or lap children, so they can assign appropriate seats, and still seat you as close together as possible. If you will flying with just one twin on a lap at a time, with the other twin in a car seat, you may prefer to sit in the bulkhead row where you’ll have more room to attend to the children, be able to access both the car seat and lavatory more easily (important when you change twice as many diapers as most!), and more quickly get the attention of flight attendants if needed.

Safe journey,

Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children




Tip #7:

Appropriate ID for Domestic Flights with Babies and Children Under 2

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


For domestic flights within the U.S. with infants (all children younger than 2 years), airlines usually request that you bring a notarized / certified copy of your child’s birth certificate as valid identification. However, you may be surprised (and a little disturbed) if and when no one throughout the entire airport asks to see her I.D. At the same time, many parents who have already flown domestically with their child are startled—and sometimes delayed—when they are suddenly asked for the child’s I.D. at check-in and have nothing more to offer than the brag book in Mom’s purse. Don't let it happen to you. Much of the confusion comes from the actual reason why the airlines request the birth certificate for domestic travel--not as proof of the child's birth place, not to verify the name of the child, not even to prove the relationship of the child to you (all of which can take on great importance when flying internationally with your child, however). For domestic flights, the airlines simply want to be sure your child really is the qualifying age to fly at the free or discounted rate you may be taking advantage of. If your child is not yet capable of sitting up, the reservations agent may feel it's pretty obvious that she hasn't celebrated her 2nd birthday yet and crossed the line from qualifying infant fares to what is most often a full-price ticket. But agents who don't spend a lot of time around toddlers, in particular, may be quick to check for ID, as is their right. Don't get caught unprepared, always travel with your child's birth certificate, if not her passport. And for help finding airlines that make it worth keeping track of the extra documents (standard infant and child discounts, baby), use my Airlines Table in Chapter 14 of Travels with Baby.


Safe journey,

Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children



Tip #8:

Stop Your Mail Without Stopping at the P.O.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Before taking off on your trip, arrange to have a "mail hold" while you're away. While you used to have to stop by the post office to fill out a form for this service, you can now just swing by USPS.com to arrange your vacation mail hold in about three minutes (or call 1-800-ASK-USPS). The post office will hold your mail from 3 to 30 days, until your chosen date to resume service. Then all accumulated mail will be delivered to your home (and usually without the loads of junk mail you might have received otherwise).

Safe journey,

Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children




Tip #9:

Be Prepared for the Car Seat Police

Thursday, October 25, 2007


My teeth almost hit the floor of first class this week when--for the first time in MY experience--a flight attendant stopped me to verify that my daughter's car seat was FAA-approved for use in aircraft. (Granted, I've heard plenty of horror stories from other parents about getting stripped of their car seats upon boarding, but this was the first time I'd been approached.) I wanted to chuckle, as I assured her it was definitely approved for use in aircraft, and that I wouldn't have bought it (or recommended it to a whole bunch of traveling parents) if it wasn't. She was not the chuckling sort, however. After corralling me under the luggage rack of the bulkhead row in coach, I confidently turned the car seat onto its side to show her the labels, one of which I was sure had the FAA status. But as I searched the fine print, I realized it wasn't there! I turned the car seat onto its other side, hoping the labels in Spanish would say something about the FAA--but no such luck. I switched the car seat back onto its other side again, and shared my frustration that not all car seats print the statement in bold red lettering like they used to, and I scratched my head. Then, as if she'd known the answer all along, she turned the car seat upside down where a "bonus label" explained it was indeed approved for flight. If you will be taking your car seat onto an airplane, save yourself some potential time and stress by locating the statement ON your car seat before you get on the plane, so you'll be ready to quickly point to it and pass on your merry way. And if you will be flying with a car seat that converts to a belt-positioning booster, be aware that the labels on the car seat might not actually state that it is approved for use in aircraft--even if it is FAA-approved for use as a car seat with the 5-point harness. In that case, you may need to show a flight attendant the page in your car seat's manual where it states that it may indeed be used in aircraft, so keep it handy.


Safe journey,

Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children


Tip #10:

Bring Waterproof First-Aid Tape

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Our first morning on the Mayan Riviera was turned upside down when our Adventure-Tot Rozzie somehow landed a nasty cut on her index finger. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I assure you, it was upsetting for all of us, including the lifeguard who was brought into the hotel to help us. I thought she’d need stitches for sure, but the prognosis was that if we kept the wound clean and closed she should heal nicely. I thought, “Sure, if this were me, or Tim, or an older child who would actually let the wound stay clean and closed, that might be the case.” A 20-month-old on vacation in Mexico—in sand, sea, swimming pools, and toddling around the Mayan ruins—is another story. Sure enough, Rozzie’s diligent digits quickly stripped the lifeguard’s neatly wrapped Band-Aids and strip of first-aid tape, and we were bleeding again. It was a constant battle just to keep any Band-Aids on her at all, and we tried every method we could think of for double-wrapping, grouping fingers with Band-Aids, etc. My travel supply of Band-Aids was quickly depleted and we bought a nice large souvenir box of curitas (Spanish for “Band-Aid”) which will hopefully last our family for some time to come. But what really would have been helpful is a nice big roll of waterproof first-aid tape. I could have used the stuff to fashion a nice mummy-style mitten over the Band-Aids and around her entire hand. Sure, she probably would have chewed through it eventually, but it certainly would have slowed her down—and we’d have fewer blood stains on our travel clothes. Fortunately, we had that amazing toddler super-cell-rebuilding-power on our side, and Rozzie’s finger is much better already. But the next time I pack the suitcase? Waterproof first-aid tape, Baby.

Safe journey,

Shelly Rivoli, author of Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children



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The Ultimate Guide for Planning

Travel with Your Baby, Toddler,

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Travels with Baby blog

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Featured on BlogHer.comFeatured Family Travel Blog on Raveable 

"99 of the Best Travel Blogs" from TravelBlogs.com


"10 Best Family Travel Blogs" from Blogs.com


Repeat winner: "Top 10 Family Travel Blogs" from TripBase.com


Repeat winner: "Top 25 Travel Blogs for Families" and "#2 for Insider Tips and Tricks" from Babble.com



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