Family Travel Question:
Q | What are tips for flying solo with a toddler?
I am going to be traveling by myself to Italy with my 20-month-old son. We have traveled by plane before but I have always had another adult with me. Any tips to make the whole process - from checking in to collecting luggage - more bearable as the single adult? -Paola, PA
A | What should I take on board when flying solo with a toddler?
Good for you for wanting to get out and see the world with your son! Flying with a baby can be trying at the best of times, but with the right amount of preparation and organization, it needn’t be a nightmare. Start out with a comprehensive carry-on packing list and go from there.
Now, you won’t be taking either a stroller or a port-a-cot on board, but you may decide to gate-check your stroller. Double check with your airline to see what their policies are about gate-checking. Most will take care of any stroller so long as it folds down, others – like American Airlines – require you to check your stroller as baggage if it’s over a certain weight.
Whether or not you decide to bring along a port-a-cot, or a portable crib, depends on where you’ll be visiting and if they’ll have anything available for your son to sleep in. Also depending on your airline, they may check a portable crib as baggage free of charge. So long as you don’t mind lugging it, it might make financial sense to bring your own. Otherwise, if your hotel or destination cannot provide one, you might investigate renting baby gear or checking with friends and family who live nearby on Facebook to see if they could lend you stuff.
Since you’ll be traveling solo, and your son will very likely be an active toddler, you may wish to consider purchasing a seat for him on the plane. If you do, you’ll have to bring along his car seat or a CARES harness. Not only will he be safer, depending on the length of your flight, you may save your sanity as well