About 3 years ago we decided to take the first family vacation trip and we decided to brave getting through an airport. My husband hates traveling by air, because he does a lot of it for business purposes and he constantly sees families struggling with it. However, I managed to “convince” him with the promise that if it turns out to be a disaster we wouldn’t do it again. So, I set off like a true project manager and planned the whole process through the airport. And here are my recommendations.
First of all you will want to come up with a time schedule for the days that you arrive at the airport. I decided that it would be safest to arrive at the check-in desks 3 hours ahead of schedule, so this meant getting to the long term parking facility 3 ½ hours before. This is mainly to account for the potential of delays during security clearance.
Next, you want to pack your carry-on bags as wisely as possible. There are very clear restrictions on liquids and I recommend that you check the TSA website before you leave to get the most up-to-date information. There are exemptions for baby food and liquids, but I would advise to keep it to a minimum and pack all your baby’s stuff in a separate bag, e.g. the diaper bag.
Now for the big tip, that will save you a lot of hassle. My husband had experienced many occasions where he got stuck behind a family during the TSA checks where there were problems with getting strollers through the scanning equipment. This can lead to an awful lot of hassle and time delays. The solution is to get an umbrella stroller.
These types of strollers are absolutely ideal for travelling with a baby. They fold up into a very compact format, like an umbrella, and they are also very light weight. This makes it ideal for getting through security and also to fold it down before boarding the plane. After a lot of research we took the advice given at Baby Wheels and we bought the best lightweight stroller to suite our particular needs. The stroller we went for is a Bumbleride and we have it to this day. Despite being made of very light materials, and now having been on several vacations, it is still functioning as well as it did the day we got it. It is just so easy to use, that it is now even my go to stroller for short trips to do grocery shopping.
Because the umbrella stroller is so small when folded down I can quickly throw it in the trunk of the car and always have plenty of room left, even when using the small Toyota. It is simply great.
Anyway, all my airport planning paid off and we managed to get through security without a glitch. We then went to one of the airport lounges and decided to pay for access to a quiet environment, and that was also well worth it. Had we been majorly delayed by the TSA we wouldn’t have bothered, but we had just over two hours of time to spare, so it was nice to get somewhere calm and quiet.
On the return trip things went just as well and my husband had to concede to the fact that it was wasn’t so bad and that we would indeed be doing it again. As always, I was right