Fodor's editor Alexis Kelly recently chatted with Lisa Furuland, founder of the DockATot, a secure, portable spot to rest your little one on a hotel bed, in an airplane seat, or even on your lap. The cover is washable and the raised border prevents little ones from rolling out; there’s even a super handy travel bag for it. Furuland, a mother of two, created the DockATot to make traveling with her kids less stressful. “When my son Ilias was born in 2006, I searched unsuccessfully for an alternative to the blanket, the cot, and the baby lounger,” she says. “I craved something more snug and at the same time more versatile.” We asked Furuland for a few other tips on how to make travels with kids easier. She said, “First of all, don't panic! Secondly, there are some smart steps you can take in order to fully prepare yourself and your family for traveling with a baby. Whether you're headed to a beachy getaway or a low-key but busy stay with extended family, the best thing you can possibly do to ensure a stress-free vacation with the baby is to plan ahead.”
Here, are a few more tried and true tips from Lisa Furuland for traveling with babies and toddlers:
1. Bring an Extra Change of Clothes for Your Baby
Accidents happen, especially when you travel. In case you have a milk spill or diaper explosion, always pack an extra set of clothes for baby. I love the cheap white onesies you can buy in sets. If there's a diaper explosion or a major spit-up, you won't feel bad just tossing the onesie in the nearest trash can.
2. Bring an Extra Changes of Clothes for You
If said poop or throw-up lands on you, you're going to want to get those clothes off pronto, otherwise you’ll be stuck smelly or with a souvenir t-shirt purchased in the gift shop at the airport.
3. Invest in Noise-Canceling Headphones
There's nothing worse than a sleeping baby being awoken to an announcement on the loudspeaker letting everyone know that the seatbelt sign is off. If your baby is old enough to wear headphones, pick-up a set for babies/children before your trip.
4. Book Flight Times That Coincide With Your Baby's Sleep Schedule
If you have some control over your flight times, try and book the flights according to when you think your baby will most likely be napping.
5. Bring a Well-Packed Diaper Bag
It may sound fairly simple, right? But in the rush of getting ready to leave for a trip, things sometimes get overlooked. Write out a complete list and cross check it with your diaper bag before you leave. And always bring extra—pacifiers, burp cloths, diapers, books, quiet toys, etc.
6. Reserve Your Seating
If at all possible, reserve your seats ahead of time. Ideal seating is the bulkhead with extra leg room and aisle seats that make it easy to get up and walk around with your baby.
7. Check the Car Seat, But Bring the Stroller
If you have a young baby, it’s easiest to check the car seat and keep your baby in a smaller stroller that can be checked at the gate before you board the plane. When your baby’s not riding in the stroller, it doubles as a handy holder for your handbag, diaper bag, and more.
Read More: 10 Tips for Traveling With Kids