Good Questions: Flying With a Baby

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Veronica has a question - do you have some advice?We're gearing up for our first flight with our 13 month old. We're planning on being away for almost 2 weeks.

Must haves for travel on our list are a car seat and umbrella stroller (the Chicco C6, pictured at right). The in-laws will provide a high chair and pack and play for sleeping. Are we forgetting something? And how exactly are these large items packaged and checked-in for flight?

And while I'm asking, are there any other flying-with-a-baby/toddler tips that we need to know?

As a matter of fact, we do have some tips, via the International Adoption community - if anyone knows about flying with a 13 month old, it is these people, who easily spend 15-24 hours in transit with children in the 13 month range while flying home. Check out their ideas, below:

• Check with your airline, but most let you take the stroller all the way up to the gate with you. Then you 'gate check' the stroller, and it gets stored under the plane. At your destination, you are given your stroller back on arrival. That way, it doesn't cut into your checked bag allowance, which may be eaten up a bit by checking the carseat in as baggage.

• If you gate check your stroller, make sure you put identifiers on it! Yours may not be the only stroller on the plane, and a good luggage tag makes sure you get the right one. Maybe photo luggage tags?

• Consider using a Child Aviation Restraint System (CARES) on the plane, rather than bringing a carseat. The less you have to carry, the better!

• If your inlaws don't have toddler toys, consider packing up a box and Fedexing it to arrive a day before you do, rather than lugging a suitcase filled with baby toys. Or see if you can convince them to stock kid's toys at their house as incentive for you to visit more often. Same with diapers, if you use disposables - either ship a box in advance, or have them pick some up. The less you are carrying in the airport, the better.

• Inflatable baby bathtub! We never travel without one.

• The rule of thumb for diapers is have one for each hour you are in transit. Then throw in a few more, for safety sake!

• If you can, buy new travel-sized baby supplies for the trip. Otherwise, you have to unpack the second you get home to get to the wipes, the butt cream, the binky, and all the other stuff you need to have handy.

We know there must be more great ideas out there to make your trip a pleasant one, and no doubt over the month of August we will see lots of great travel ideas being blogged, but in the meantime... AT readers, what are your secret strategies for successfully flying with babies and small children?