I must had Googled a hundred times “how to travel with a 16 month old?” - “what you can pack when flying with a baby?” - “how much milk or liquids can you bring when flying with a baby?" etc etc. The amount of conflicting information that l found was so disheartening and what l was left with was going on my first international trip with my baby with 5 suitcases and no knowledge what so ever.
It was hideous l tell you, just hideous.
What l can tell you now is that l have all the answers to those questions about getting through security with a baby, because l can assure you l asked every security guard both here and in Fiji the same questions and the answers were all the same. So ladies and gents, if you are lucky enough to be prepping for a trip that requires a plane and a little bubba under the age of 3 - here is all you need to know!
PS: once you know the rules, travelling with a kid under 3 means VIP service BABY! I am going to miss it when she turns 4!
Read on, you’ll see why!
Question: How much liquids can l take on the plane when travelling with a baby or toddler?
The simple rule is ‘UNLIMITED’ as long as your kid is under 3. The security guard said to me, that if you do get any push back from someone about your water supply, you just tell them that they water is ‘distilled’ for your baby. As you know you cannot make formula in advance, so l needed to bring my perfectly tempered water to mix with my formula on the plane. l would have to say this was the biggest stress leading up to this trip as l would have died if l was forced to lose my thermal water bottle.
When leaving Fiji at their airport l purchased a bottle of none other than Fiji Water and the guy at the counter said to me to make sure l drink it whilst we were at the gate as there’s another round of security before getting on the plane. However, l knew that now l had found this miracle travel partner, my ‘baby’, that l could bring the water on board with me for her ‘formula’. And l did and when they went to check my bags just before walking on the plane, l said l had water for my baby and they didnt even bother opening my bag.
Question: Can l bring homemade food for my baby or toddler on the plane?
YES you can! No special sealed packaging is required as long as it is for your kid under 3! Bring on home cooking!
Question: How do l get through airport security with a Baby or Toddler?
Now this is when the Gods started to smile when we got to the airport. As soon as we hit that silver sliding door at Tullamarine airport to get through to security, the guard looked at my little baby and said “Y’all can go left”, whilst everyone else was going right. This is when l discovered the VIP line for familias! I could not believe it. You all know what it’s like going through security when the guy in front of you has a back pack and bumbag and they ever so slowly empty the contents of their bags and pockets and locate their laptops and you are thinking “for the love of God, could you not speed this up, l have a plane to catch?”. Now imagine that guy is 2 parents and a baby with a pram, 3 over head luggages that are filled with liquids and food. Mate l was already feeling sorry for the poor people that would be waiting impatiently behind us. But this never happened. We had our own guard, our own security line and an endless amount of owwwing and ahhhing from the staff at my cute kid. I thought, this was too good to be true, wait till we get to the Immigration line!
Question: How do l get through Immigration at the airport with a Baby or Toddler?
You guessed it - we got our own Family Line!!!!!!!! After 20 odd years of international travel on my own, l never knew this VIP service existed when traveling with babies. Guess what - it gets better.
So now we are at the gate early and l am trying to tire my 16 month old out, so she passes out on the plane. And as soon as the airline staff arrived at the gate, they came up to me and let us in front of the queue so we would be the first on the plane. No queues here either!
So a couple of tools of the trade when flying:
Try the Mountain Buggy Bag rider - it does not hold much inside as only one side is available for storage, but boy oh boy will your kid love riding on this thing in the airport. Also, it will immediately make you one of the cool kids, as you will hear a hundred “OMG look at this kids ride!!”
If travelling with a second adult, try booking the aisle and window seat and pray that no one books your middle seat. We were lucky on both legs that the middle seat didn't get taken and it was a god send.
If you airlines has it, try upgrading to economy X or +. For an extra $59 we got the additional leg room with Virgin Airlines and this allowed our kid to play around our feet for a couple of hours. In fact on the way home, we had the wall in front of us and l made up a bed for her. These things all add up to a manageable international travel experience.
Happy travels peeps. Let me know how you go!
Mini - BabyTravelWhisperer