One of the most stressful situations during traveling is definitely trying to survive the airport security with a baby. Long lines, frowny-faced workers, and the overall rush of everyone trying to push their way through and make their flights on time equals one very intense and not-so-fun way to begin your trip! Here are a few lessons that I have learned (the hard way) for getting through that airport security the easiest way possible:
1. Bring Baby’s passport AND birth certificate
Some airlines require a birth certificate and can give you a hefty fine if you get caught without one. Have all of your paperwork handy, where you can easily grab it while also holding a baby in one arm, a toddler in the other, pushing a stroller, trying to pick up the dropped toy with your toes…. I digress.
2. Forego the Stroller and Wear your baby!
Airport security allows you to wear your baby through the entire process as long as you don’t have a coat on underneath. Wear your baby, with a sweater over the top. This makes it SO much easier to get through security than tugging around a stroller (they DO make you fold up your stroller, on your own, and put it on the x-ray machines. Ugh.)
3. Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off WITHOUT hands
You’re going to have your hands full with baby, diaper bag, stroller, luggage, etc. If you can’t get through the First Class line (where they only swipe your hands and you don’t have to remove your shoes or anything) it’s easiest to have shoes that you can take off without using your hands, or at least just using one hand. My go-to shoes are Toms. They’re comfortable and great for almost all sorts of weather.
4. Pack Bottles with water already in them!
Obviously, you aren’t allowed to bring in your own water bottles, but if you have water in baby bottles then it’s okay. You’re also allowed more than 3oz of liquid if it’s for baby, just expect them to be tested quickly when you get through the x-ray machines. Make sure to separate the bottles from your bag and place it in it’s own bin while going through the x-ray machine. Bringing water that is already in the baby bottles is much more cost effective and it’s quick and easy to prepare the bottle once baby gets impatient and starts to fuss. There’s nothing worse than having a SCREAMING baby the entire security process. You’ll want easy access to a bottle – trust me. If baby drinks formula, have a ziplock baggy of formula (with a scoop!) ready to go in your bag as well! If you are going to carry bottles of breastmilk, remember not to bring gel-filled freezer packs to keep them cold because they aren’t allowed. Here’s a tip: bring a small bag of frozen peas instead!
5A. Put baby in easy-access clothes
As much as I LOVE rompers that pull right up, without any buttons, these are NOT what you want to put your baby in when you’re traveling in an airplane. When baby has a dirty diaper, you’ll have to take the entire romper off and it’s a huge hassle. Put baby in a shirt and pants. I don’t like having to deal with any buttons, so if I HAVE to do a onesie, then I will choose one with a zipper. Quick and easy.
5B. Have an extra pair of clothes in your diaper bag for baby
Babies ALWAYS have the worst timing for diaper blowouts. BELIEVE ME I have dealt with more than one blowout on the airplane and one time I did NOT have an extra set of clothes. Wow that was a disaster. Please learn from my mistakes and don’t make the same mistakes that I did! HAVE. EXTRA. CLOTHES. Ok that’s enough, I hope I made my point clear 😉
6. Have mess-free, quick snacks available
My favorite snack to bring are those squeeze-it fruit pouches. They are cheap and virtually mess-free. They don’t need refrigerated, unless they’ve been opened, and they have an easy twist off top. They’re also easy to eat and make minimal to no messes.
Believe me, traveling with kids is no walk in the park! But follow a few of these tips and you’ll save yourself – and your little ones – a ton of headache and make your trip so much smoother. Is there anything I left out? Let me know in a comment below!
Janiel Green is a Travel Guru with 21 years of National travel experience in the USA, and 17 years of International Travel experience. She is a highly educated, courageous, driven and dedicated individual to both her professional and personal life. She is the Founder of Culture Trekking LLC, and is dedicated to bringing a celebratory passion for humanity into her writing to make meaningful, useful, and heartfelt recommendations for a culturally enriched travel experience. For inquires please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org