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Flying with a Baby? Travel Bag Essentials

If there was ever a survey done among airlines for the heaviest passengers, luggage included, I would wager a bet that it’s a baby. 
For such little things, babies probably pack the most stuff. Never mind all the equipment they need, it’s all the spare clothes and nappies, the food and bottles, the toys to keep them occupied on the airplane, the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘we’d better bring that just in case…” items that parents convince themselves they need. And the thing is, you do need it all – everything! Because the thoughts of what would happen if there were flight delays or anything that could mess with “the routine” sends most parents to a dark place... Ironically, all this stuff is supposed to make life easier, somehow, and in a world where we weigh our bags 20 times before getting to the airport to make sure we’re not overweight, parents have two cheats up their sleeve in the shape of the baby bag and the lesser known big brother, the pram bag!

With most airlines, children under the age of 2 do not have a luggage allowance, but parents are allowed to take an additional bag on board (be it a laptop bag, a duty free shopping bag or a baby bag). So really, you’ve got to be smart about what you pack in the baby bag. There is a parental loop hole however – the Pram Bag! Most airlines prefer you to pack your pram into a protective cover, and from what we’ve witnessed, we’d recommend it too. The handy thing is, you can back a lot of additional “padding/protection” into that pram bag in the form of nappies, towels, dried formula and spare clothes.

You can either check it in or if you’re bringing your pram to the gate, bring it through security too. It will have to go through the scanning machines of course, and all the usual liquid restrictions etc apply but consider it an extra free bag!

So then, now that we’ve sorted the spare nappies and clothes into the pram bag, what does that leave for the baby bag? If like me, your handbag is choc full of who knows what and it takes ten minutes of routing in the abyss to find your keys, that’s just gonna add to your stress level at the airport. Trying to change a nappy in a cramped airplane toilet, while hanging on to the baby with one hand and searching through the baby bag with another is something I’d do, but would definitely not recommend! Keep it to the basics, for your own sanity.

I would argue that enough nappies and wipes for the flight, a spare baby grow in case of emergency, your baby blanket and food / drink are really the essential essentials. Of course if your baby is taking medications bring them too but basically keeping your baby hydrated, comfortable and well fed should make for a better flight. Everything else can go into checked luggage or the pram bag. For more expert travel advice, check out our travel experts, the Stork Exchange.
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About the Author

I’m Olivia Mai, founder of The Stork Exchange and Mum to two small children. The Stork Exchange is a children's equipment rental service that was born from a dearth of options for parents traveling with infants and small children. It's not easy to travel with kids, much less lug everything with you and speaking from personal experience we found the car seats and cots etc that are provided by many car rental companies or hotels etc are not great quality... so we set up The Stork Exchange!   We offer everything from isofix car seats, holiday 'buggy-in-a-bag', travel cots and highchairs, all quality brands, sanitized and safety-checked before every single hire. Our staff are trained and insured and will install the car seat into your car for you.

We work closely with a number of airlines and car rental companies and have spent several years developing and investing in our product range. I am constantly asked questions by parents about travelling with kids; what equipment to bring, what not to bring, what’s allowed by airlines, what’s not. Being at the airport day in day out means I am pretty close to it all and as a result have built up loads of knowledge, tips and nuggets of practical and useful information I'm happy to share. We also learn from the experiences of other Mums and Dads. It’s genuinely great to be able to help make the journey and holiday a bit easier for parents. 

Want to get in touch? Email us at info@thestorkexchange.ie. Check out our website and social channels at the icons above.

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