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Strollers, Wagons, and Car Seats, Oh My! What to Know When Flying with Baby Gear.

Flying with your little one can be an adventure in itself, but navigating the logistics of bringing along baby gear can feel like a whole other journey. But fear not my friend! I've got you covered with some essential tips and tricks to make flying with strollers, wagons, and car seats a breeze. Important Disclaimer: Using the links on this page may provide Traveling with Babies with a small commission for qualifying purchases.

1. Do Your Homework

Before you even begin to pack, check your airline's policies regarding baby gear. Each airline has its own rules and regulations when it comes to strollers, wagons, and car seats. Some may allow you to gate-check certain items for free, while others might require you to check them at the ticket counter. Knowing these details in advance can save you a lot of stress at the airport.

For my guide to US airlines and their written policies, you can find them here.

2. Car Seats

Car seats are essential for keeping your little one safe during the flight and while traveling in a car at your destination. Most airlines allow you to bring a car seat on board for infants and toddlers, either as a seat for your child or as checked baggage. However, some airlines may require you to purchase a separate seat for your baby if you plan to use the car seat on board.

Helpful Tips:

  • Invest in a lightweight and compact travel car seat that meets safety standards and is approved for air travel.

  • Consider using a car seat travel cart or strap to easily transport your car seat through the airport.

  • If you plan to use the car seat on board, check with the airline in advance to ensure it meets their requirements.

For more on all things Car Seats and Flying, check out my blog post here.

3. Strollers

Strollers are a lifesaver for navigating airports, especially if you have a little one who prefers to be on the move. Many airlines allow you to gate-check strollers for free, meaning you can keep it with you until you board the plane. However, larger or non-collapsible strollers may need to be checked at the ticket counter.

Helpful Tips:

  • Opt for a lightweight and collapsible stroller that is easy to fold and maneuver through crowded airports.

  • Consider attaching a brightly colored tag or ribbon to your stroller to make it easier to spot on the jet bridge or at baggage claim.

  • If you have a layover, ask the gate agent if you can keep your stroller with you during the connection to avoid having to check it again.

4. Stroller Wagons

Stroller wagons have become increasingly popular for families with multiple children or lots of gear to haul. While they offer ample storage space and versatility, not all airlines allow them on board or for gate-checking. Be sure to check with your airline in advance to see if they have any restrictions or requirements regarding stroller wagons.

Helpful Tips:

  • If your airline permits stroller wagons, ensure it meets their size and weight restrictions for gate-checking.

  • Consider using a wagon cover or bag to protect your stroller wagon from damage during transit. For my favorite wagon and bag options, check out my Amazon Storefront.

  • Don't overpack your wagon before you get through security. Everything will need to be emptied onto the x-ray belt and although uncommon you should be prepared to collapse or fold your stroller wagon if necessary for screening.

5. Protect Your Gear

Regardless of how you choose to transport your baby gear, it's nice to try and protect it from damage. Investing in durable travel bags or covers specifically designed for strollers, wagons, and car seats can really help. This will help shield your gear from scratches, dirt, and rough handling by airport staff. Plus, they often have convenient carrying straps or handles, making it easier to transport your gear through the airport.

6. Plan Ahead for Security

Navigating airport security with baby gear can be a bit tricky, but a little preparation goes a long way. I actually prefer to keep baby in a carrier during security to keep things moving because you'll need to take them out of the stroller anyway. Arriving early can also give you extra time to navigate security without feeling rushed. Be ready to collapse and fold your stroller or wagon for screening, empty all loose items from within and remove any accessories or attachments that might trigger alarms. Keep your car seat accessible, many times taking them out of any carrying bag, as TSA agents will likely want to inspect it separately.

7. Consider Alternatives

If the thought of lugging around bulky baby gear stresses you out, consider renting equipment at your destination. Many cities and tourist destinations offer baby gear rental services, allowing you to travel lighter and avoid the hassle of bringing your own gear. Just be sure to research rental options in advance and reserve any necessary items ahead of time.

Our personal go to is Babyquip.

8. Don't Forget the Baby!

Amidst all the logistics of flying with baby gear, it's easy to overlook the most important thing: your little one! Keep your baby comfortable and entertained during the journey with plenty of snacks, toys, and cozy blankets. Consider baby wearing as an alternative to a stroller or wagon, especially if you'll be navigating crowded airports or tight spaces.

Flying with baby gear may seem daunting at first, but with a little planning and preparation, it can be a smooth and stress-free experience.

Safe travels, my friends!


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