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This is one of those posts that may not necessarily be interesting to a wide group of people. But if you’re traveling by airplane with an infant anytime soon, the following tips may give you a little peace of mind. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  also has a page of information for those traveling with a baby internationally.

PS—Don’t forget a copy of your baby’s birth certificate. You’ll need to show that, along with your driver's license, to a check-in agent so they can print your boarding passes.

Allow Yourself Plenty of Time to Pack the Diaper Bag
Think through every possible scenario so you can be prepared when the inevitable happens.

Suggested contents for a well-packed diaper bag include:

  • At least 5 diapers
  • A travel container of wipes
  • Disposable changing pads
  • A “wet bag” for soiled cloths and clothing
  • Sealable trash bag for dirty diapers
  • An extra outfit
  • Bibs
  • Burp cloths
  • Blankets
  • Toys
  • Pacifiers
  • A bottle if not breast feeding
  • A bag of formula (enough to make 3 bottles) if not breast feeding

Pretend you’re going to be traveling for much longer than you really are. Then, if for some reason you get rerouted or have a delay, you’ll be more prepared.

Prepare for the Cold Shoulder From Some Passengers
Many people feel that since they spent a lot of money on their flight, they should be able to enjoy it in peace. They feel parents should not fly with babies until their children are older and more controllable. Although I can understand their attitude, they should realize that the parent of a screaming child is about 100 times less thrilled about the situation than other passengers. It might not be a leisure flight—they could be flying out of necessity to visit a sick relative or for a cross-country move. The nature of children is that they are unpredictable. On one flight, they might be fine and on the next, they might be "that screaming baby". Just keep in mind that no parent wants their kids to make someone’s flight unpleasant.

Buckle Up Your Baby
New moms need to know that both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly urge parents to use car seats on the plane. It may be somewhat inconvenient, but it is much safer. This is especially true in cases of extreme turbulence, which are more common than people think.

However, mandatory use of a car seat in flight is not yet the law. The AAP is pushing for changes to this policy, as it seems inconsistent that airlines make you stow your laptop but allow babies to fly unrestrained. There are also times when federal regulations require that you cannot “wear” your baby in a personal carrier—including ascent, descent, and whenever the seat belt light is on. During these times, your baby needs to be properly restrained in their own seat. Remember that if you’d get thrown forward for whatever reason while holding an infant, your baby would unfortunately become your airbag.

Practical Tips—Or Helping the Odds To Be “Ever In Your Favor”
About 15 minutes prior to boarding, it might be a good idea to change your baby’s diaper. Then, board during the "family boarding" time and once seated, try to get everything you’re going to need out of the diaper bag. This should include burp cloths, a blanket, a spare bib, pacifiers, a full bottle, and toys.

Just prior to takeoff, consider feeding your baby. If they have a bottle, feeding on the ascent makes a lot of sense in order to help your baby’s ears pop. A pacifier may also help with ear popping. After your baby is finished eating, burp your baby and do a temperament check. Usually, a baby will fall asleep within about 20 minutes of finishing a bottle either way. The white noise of the plane, along with a full belly, often makes for a happy, sleepy baby. Otherwise, playing with a toy for a few minutes might do the trick.

For dirty diapers mid-flight, you should use the changing table in the restroom in the rear of the plane. It’s usually a fold-down changing table that should be small enough to comfortably handle babies 6 months of age or younger. Dispose of the soiled diaper in the waste receptacle, not the toilet—and never, ever change your child on a seat or a tray table. Also, please don't hand a flight crew member a dirty diaper. Since they handle food/drink for most of the flight, handling your baby’s dirty diaper is not sanitary or part of their duties.

Finally, during the landing phase, try to get your baby to take the pacifier again to help with ear popping. However, if your baby’s still out cold, let him/her sleep.

Overall, there are some challenges to traveling with an infant. But given the proper level of preparation, it doesn’t need to be a huge deal, and most people are willing to provide help if you need it.

Traveling with pets is a growing trend, but even the cutest family pets don’t necessarily make good travelers. Are you considering bringing your pet along for the ride on your next vacation? If your answer is “yes”, you’ll want to check out this list of helpful tips and resources.

Think It Over
Bringing your pet on vacation may seem like a great idea at first, but it may result in added stress which may prevent you (and your family members) from getting the most enjoyment out of your vacation time together. If you can’t find someone to “dog sit” in your home, and you don’t have a friend or relative who can take them in, there are excellent kennels that will pamper your pooch and give them lots of attention, along with days full of activities. Your pets will still love you just as much and remember you when you return.

Cost Could Be A Major Factor
Figure in your crates, air and hotel surcharges, toys, pet food, unexpected vet bills away from home, and other incidentals, and you’ll realize traveling with your pet might be cost prohibitive.

Still Saying “Yes”?
Make sure you check if pets are allowed at your vacation spot. Many destinations just don’t make bringing your pet very easy or efficient. For instance, you might not realize that the state of Hawaii has a quarantine period for dogs and cats of up to 120 days.

Make Sure Your Pets Are ID’d
Tag your pet's collar with essential information, including vaccinations (especially rabies), your name, address, phone number, and contact info for where you’re staying on your vacation.

Traveling By Air
A good pet travel crate is not something you should buy “on the cheap”. It should be sturdy and correctly sized for your pet. If your crate’s too small, travel will be very uncomfortable. But if it’s too large, your pet could be tossed around and injured during handling. If you’re bringing your pet on a plane, be sure to read your airline's requirements regarding size, weight, material, and design. Airline-approved crates must have ventilation on the sides (in addition to the door) and have food/water trays that are refillable from the outside in the case of a delay. Also, if your pet is house-trained, consider putting a blanket, liner, or cushion in the crate for comfort (if not house-trained, don’t do this unless you want a huge mess).

Sometimes, airlines permit pets weighing 10 pounds or less to fly in the cabin, usually not more than two pets per flight. But be considerate of other passengers and keep your pet in their carrier for the duration of the flight. Keep in mind that fees for the convenience of having your small pet nearby are usually in excess of $100 and you’ll need a health certificate for your pet, usually issued within 10 days of your flight. Your veterinarian can supply you with this.

Direct Flights Are Best
Try your best to purchase a non-stop or direct flight. Your pet is at the most risk for mishandling during connections, especially tight connections. A direct or non-stop flight is your best safeguard against these types of problems.

Traveling By Car
There are a lot of "don'ts" in the world of pet owners. “Don’t ever leave your pet alone in the car” is one of the biggest. Even if temperatures are mild, a car can get dangerously hot (or cold, depending on the season). In most situations, you're putting your pet (and your car’s interior) at risk by leaving them alone in a car.

Potty Breaks, Please
For obvious reasons, avoid feeding your pet large meals before long period of travel. If traveling by car, you still need to plan to stop on a regular basis. Most pets love to get out and explore, and, because of the excitement and stress of traveling, they’ll need to go outside to relieve themselves more often than when they’re at home.

Provide Adequate Water and Food
You must keep water and food with you in the car. The heat of the car, the stress of traveling, and your pet's excitement will often cause increased thirst, so don’t be caught off guard.

Fend Off Carsickness
Yes, pets get carsick, too. And it’s rarely mild. You may be able to prevent this by partially opening windows and stopping for frequent walks, plus there are many remedies available from pet stores and vets as well.

Find Pet-Friendly Hotels
Many hotels gladly accept pets. Do your research online and seek them out. Also, keep in mind it's far easier to get your pet in and out of the hotel without incident if you are on the ground floor--no elevators, stairs or altercations with other guests. When taking your pet outdoors, you should be sure to wipe off any mud, dirt, poop, and water from your pet’s fur before bringing your pet back inside the hotel. Some pet dirt can stain floors and linens, and you could be forced to pay for cleaning or replacement costs.

When you’re at your destination, try to keep your pet in their crate as much as possible. Your pet can relax in familiar surroundings, and your room will also stay cleaner. Absolutely do not ever leave your pet loose and unattended in a hotel room. Pets can react in crazy ways to feelings of abandonment in unfamiliar territory. Many animals are comforted by simply leaving the radio or television on, which breaks the silence and makes them feel like humans are nearby.

Change Your Mind At The Last Minute?
What would you do if your pet became sick right before your vacation and you couldn't line up a good boarding option? If your pets, like mine, are treated as members of the family, it’s important to take their happiness and well-being into consideration. The Cancel for Any Reason option on a travel insurance policy lets you stay home and take care of your pets without worrying about recovering costs from your canceled trip. We have a Travel Insurance Select Elite Option that includes Cancel for Any Reason. Get an instant quote and take the worry out of traveling with your pet.

My wife just gave birth to our first child. If you’re like me, you don't have the time or the money for a vacation this summer, but maybe you can spare a few hours for a day trip here and there. If economic or other reasons (such as a screaming baby) are keeping you from enjoying that long flight, faraway drive, or overnight hotel stay, short day trips might be just what you’re looking for.

On Hotwire, they refer to this kind of vacation as a "straycation," or "travel that's within a close proximity to the customer's origin," according to its president, Clem Bason. As a big Beatles fan, I like to call it Day Tripping. But how does one make the most of a day trip? Here are some suggestions.

Put Yourself in the Role of a Tourist

I’m from the Philadelphia area and I thought I’d seen just about everything worth seeing, but there’s a lot more to do than I initially considered. Your closest metropolitan area probably holds at least a few hidden gems for you to discover. By assuming the mindset of a tourist, you start to think like a visitor and can seek out things like ballpark tours, free outdoor concerts, roller skating, visiting a museum you haven’t been to before, or simply going for a hike or bike ride on a beautiful trail. The only limit is your ability to work the search engines.

Speaking of Search Engines, Use Them

Your local Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) website has a wealth of information about day trips in your area. I searched for "convention and visitors bureau" and "PA", and my first three results brought me Philadelphia tourism, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and York County, PA (apparently the Factory Tour Capital of the World - who knew?). And be sure to click (safely) on links that bring you to other tourist sites—you never know what undiscovered treasure you might find (see Crayola Crayon Factory tour).

Don’t Go Too Far

If you feel trapped in the city or suburbs, then get out of town, but not so far that you feel like you really should be spending the night. Typically, three hours is pretty much the maximum you’ll be able to travel each way without feeling really tired and losing the enjoyment of the trip, especially with kids in the car.

Plan a Visit to a Park

The big national parks like Yosemite and Grand Canyon tend to get all the attention from vacationers, but thanks to the growing popularity of day trips, state parks have found themselves to be popular destinations as well. State parks across the country are pushing the concept of day trips with an advocacy group called America's State Parks which promotes state parks as "smart vacation" choices because closer destinations cut down on vehicle emissions and will also save you money.

Consider Your Budget

Staying at home doesn't mean you have to skip the fun, especially with tweens. Consider a day trip to a local arcade, amusement park, or a Dave & Buster's. The kids will have a blast and you won't need to spend a fortune. That’s the whole idea behind a great day trip. And although you might have to wait a year or more for that “real” vacation, you might as well have some fun in the meantime.