Long-Distance Travelling with a Baby

Since our son Rafael has two homes, in the Czech Republic and in Peru, when he was 16 months old, we decided to fly him to his other homeland for the first time, from cold and rainy winter to sunny and hot summer. What to focus on when traveling halfway across the planet?

Rafael was born in August 2022. When all his basic vaccinations (including measles) were completed, we flew him to Peru. The trip, which lasted a total of 24 hours and included a 12. 5-hour flight from Amsterdam to Lima, went in general very well.

The itinerary was as follows:

1. 1.15 hours by car from home at 2:30 in the morning, so the baby practically lost a night’s sleep, because our son, if he wakes up once, only falls then asleep in several long hours, maybe 5 to 6. Some standard 3- to 4-hour intervals common for this age do not apply to him…

2. 2.5 hours waiting at the airport for the plane to depart.

3. A 1-hour flight from Prague to Amsterdam.

4. 5 hours waiting for a transfer in Amsterdam.

5. 12.5 hours on the plane to Lima.

6. 1.5 hour at the airport in Lima, where we waited a long time for our suitcases, and then found out that three of them were damaged – so delays in claims.

7. 0.5 hour by taxi from the airport to the hotel.

During all this time, our son (whose sleep pattern is truly exceptional and no sleep counsellors or doctors could change it) slept half an hour in the pram at the airport in Amsterdam and 1.5 hours on the long flight to Lima. So, good news for all parents – if your kids are standard sleepers compared to our son, you’ll be fine with the trip, as the three of us made it with virtually no sleep and our active toddler was in a constant need of being occupied with some fun activity. Thank God, the KLM staff was tremendously helpful.

What to Know When Buying the Flight Tickets

When buying the tickets, it is essential to know that a child under the age of two does not have to have his own ticket, which means that he or she is not entitled to a seat. They will only get a seat if a ticket is bought, the price of which is practically the same as for an adult ticket, only about 3000 CZK cheaper.

Up to the age of two, the parent is therefore not obliged to buy a ticket, only the airport fees etc apply. It is obligatory to purchase a seat from the age of two.

If a child is smaller than 74 cm, he or she is entitled to a cot, which is provided by the airline and which is firmly attached to the designated seats. No more is paid for such a child than the airport fees. It is essential though to mention the demand of a seat with a cot when buying the ticket.

Parents traveling with a child taller than 74 cm, but under the age of two, thus have two options if they do not wish to buy a seat for the baby (which they may buy once the baby can sit well on their own): either the child will be on their lap, or they may hope that the flight won´t be full and ask the airline if they could provide an extra free seat in the event of an unfilled flight. We were lucky that the flight attendants inside the long-haul flight moved the passenger on the third seat to another place and we thus got an extra seat for free…

For families with a small child above 74 cm, but under two years old, airlines usually leave (at no extra charge) seats with more legroom at the very back of the plane, where the flight attendants have their lockers with food, etc. This was great for us, because our child always had “where to go for a walk” and what to examine (safety locks on lockers, etc.).

If the child has a seat purchased, it is possible to place a car seat upon it. But honestly – who would want to carry it…


Bedbox is a small suitcase that can be folded into a sleeping part that is attached directly to a seat and allows the child to sleep relatively comfortably in a 180-degree position. It costs about 5000 CZK and it only makes sense to buy it if your child will have a purchased seat on the plane and if you don’t mind carrying extra hand luggage…

We didn’t buy it because our child didn’t have an officially purchased seat. At 86 cm, he fit comfortably in the middle vacant seat, which the flight attendants kindly provided for us, in a horizontal position (head on my lap, feet on dad).

What about the Stroller?

In the case of long flights, don’t get disheartened by misleading information such as:

You have to have a one-piece stroller or a special stroller for the plane.

They don’t give you the stroller back at the transfer but only when your trip is over.

None of that is true!

In the case of short flights, it may (or might not, depending on the aircraft you fly with) be true that you can take the pram all the way to the gate, but then you may only get it when you pick up your suitcase.

However, for long-haul flights, this rule does not apply if you have purchased the entire journey on one ticket (I don’t even recommend anything else for traveling with small children; simply one check-in, one ticket). You can take the stroller (any type, even a two-part one) all the way to the gate and they will give it back to you at the exit of the plane (similar to a wheelchair). The stroller will be marked at check-in and that’s all you need for the whole journey. Of course, if your child is already sitting, I recommend a sports-type stroller, one-piece. Just less work. Choose a stroller that suits you for the country you’re going to. In Peru, I have a lightweight and well-storable one (not only in regards to the flight, but also to moto taxis and taxis) but at the same time it’s an off-road, so it can deal with the bad sidewalks with all kinds of drainage holes.

What to Take with You onto the Plane

Wet tissues, diapers (disposable), butt cream, changing pad.

Medicines. For children older than two years, I recommend kynedryl or a similar type of medicine (not only because of the nausea, but also because it calms down and helps to sleep). All it takes is a quarter and drugstores today already sell boxes that have a small knife inside for cutting pills.

Don’t be afraid to bring water! I took warm water in a thermos, two eco-bottles of water for us and two baby bottles of water and everything was perfectly fine! No one threw anything away during the check.

Toys. Airlines usually provide some crayons and pocket games, but they are unsuitable for smaller children.

A blanket, a hat, and cosy warmer clothes because of the air conditioning.

Baby food and snacks such as crisps etc.

Children’s earplugs for take-off and landing. Our son rejects them and had no problem with pressure (and he didn’t suck or drink anything), but not all children are like that. Definitely, no airline will allow you to breastfeed your baby during take-off or landing! For safety reasons, the child has its belt attached to yours and is seated on your lap (if it does not have its own seat) facing forward. You can, of course, give the baby some tea or water to drink or something to suck on.  

What if My Child Starts Crying Hysterically on the Plane?

If none of your standard approaches help at that moment, or you just can’t apply them (such as breastfeeding during take-off and landing above), you’ll just have to manage those few minutes mentally. Maybe some fellow passengers will frown at you, maybe they will give you unsolicited (often stupid) advice, but just handle it with your own bravado.

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2 thoughts on “Long-Distance Travelling with a Baby

  1. Dearest Martina, happy Birthday my beloved friend. Just found this great page while thinking of you. Be blessed and have a wonderful day today.
    Lots of love from north Germany.
    Jane Meyer

    1. Thank you, Jane, lovely to hear from you and many thanks for the wishes. Hope you´re well. Blessings, Martina

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