For many parents the idea of traveling with an infant or toddler can be overwhelming to say the least. The amount of necessary items for the comfort and safety of a child must always be considered before you go. One of the most common dilemma's when flying with a child is whether or not to bring along your baby stroller.
A baby stroller can be a big help on a trip that will entail a good deal of walking or transporting a young child. However, be sure to remember to check out whether or not your destination will be stroller-friendly along the way.
Here are 10 tips for flying with a baby stroller.
1. Make an educated decision about bringing a baby stroller. First check with your airline for their policies on bringing along a baby stroller. This may determine whether or not you will consider it a hassle or an asset for your trip.
2. Know the area you will be walking around. Consider the terrain, the width of the aisles and doorways as well as the amount of stairs you may be subject to climb. Pushing a stroller on a bumpy stone path or transporting it between subway rides may well be more difficult than simply carrying your child.
3. Before you even get to the airport be sure to properly label your stroller (on the handle bar or side bars) with a permanent marker or paper label. Write down your contact information, destination and flight information. You will be given a tag when you check your stroller but it is better to use BOTH to insure you get your stroller back once you have landed.
4. Have a Plan B for those times when you will need to leave your stroller outside or in the trunk. For babies that weigh no more than 20/30 lbs. keeping a baby carrier, sling or backpack is a good second option. For older children who can walk themselves, consider a harness to keep them tied to you in crowds and strange places. If you do not like the idea of a harness for your child just be sure to start explaining to them a little each day about the importance of staying next to you or other caregivers when you are in a different place. They should understand who it is safe to talk to and give them something that has your contact information to wear when you are out in public.
OK Now you are ready to head to the airport!
5. It will be easiest to employ your stroller throughout the airport and just check it at the gate of the plane. Most airlines will let you stroll right on up to the gate of the plane before having to check it in.
6. If you would like to count your stroller with your luggage at check-in be sure to find out if you will be charged an extra fee. Some airlines do not count a baby stroller as a part of the luggage you are allowed to bring on and may have a rate that you do not want to pay.
7. If you are loading at the gate you will be asked to remove your child yourself and fold the stroller down to be stored. (It is nice to have a helping hand available to hold your child (ren) during this part.) Bringing duct tape is a good idea if your stroller is not compact enough to store in the overhead compartment on the plane. Simply tape the sides of the stroller shut tightly or wrap the stroller entirely around it's center. This will help to keep it closed while it is being loaded and unloaded into the cargo area therefore minimizing possible damage.
8. Your stroller will then be tagged and given a corresponding receipt that you will need to hold on to, in order to retrieve your stroller once you land.
9. Be sure to confirm with the attendant at the gate check where you will pick up your stroller upon landing. Most airlines will return your stroller at the gate as you exit but it could be sent along with the other luggage to the baggage claim.
10. Upon your exit present your receipt to claim your stroller or head to the baggage claim to retrieve it there. Remember to take advantage of your stroller and load it down with whatever baggage you can to alleviate the strain on your arms and shoulders.
It is important to note that if you are bringing a light umbrella stroller that can be folded compactly enough to fit into your overhead carrier (find out the dimensions from the airline) you will not need to gate check your stroller. Simply fold it and carry it to your seat. There are certain things you may want to consider before choosing between your lightweight, .standard stroller and your heavier, fancier stroller. Here is a list of pro's and con's for both.
Basic Umbrella Stroller- Between 10-13 lbs.
- Compact, easy to fold and store.
- Lightweight and easier to carry if you have to.
- Can likely be stored in overhead of airplane so there is less opportunity for damage during the flight.
- Cheaper to replace should you have any damage.
- Easier fit through standard doorways, aisles, sidewalks and stairs.
- Not much storage to hold bags, or toys or anything acquired during an outing.
- Not as easily maneuvered on rocky or difficult roads or terrain.
The BIG Stroller- The One With All the Fixin's!
- Good amount of storage for diaper bags, purses and shopping bags.
- Usually has a canopy and plenty of accessories to entertain and protect from the sun or rain.
- Much easier to maneuver due to the bigger wheels and design.
- May be compatible with the car seat you are using or renting, therefore making a complete travel system.
- Takes up more space in trunks on sidewalks or buses.
- Heavier to carry.
- Needs to be stored with luggage on plane.
Based on this list you should pick the stroller that you feel will serve you and your child the best. There is nothing like having a stroller to help out when it comes to toting your children. A stroller is the next most important item to the crib when it comes to having a baby.