This is a sponsored guest post.
If you’ll be traveling with your baby, there are certain things you’ll have to do when traveling with a stroller. Traveling by car is easy enough for the most part but traveling on a plane involves a little more preparation. You need to know the procedures for checking a stroller and getting it through security to ensure everything goes smoothly. Here, we’ve provided an invaluable guide that will answer all your questions about traveling with a stroller, whether you’re traveling by plane or driving.
Traveling by Plane
How do I check in my stroller?
When you get to the check-in counter, the agent will allow you to check in your stroller with your luggage. If you don’t, you can check it when you board the plane after you attach a tag. Large foldable strollers and those that don’t collapse can usually only be checked. Be sure to contact the airline if you’re not sure. If you do need to check it, get a bag from the agent so it doesn’t get dirty in the luggage area.
How do I get it through the security scanners?
When you arrive at the security checkpoint, you’ll have to take your baby out and put it through the scanner. Some airports have lines for families, so there’s less pressure to get through security quickly.
How do I gate check my stroller?
Make sure you get to the gate early enough pre-board the plane. This allows the airline staff time to load strollers that have been tagged to be checked as passengers get on the plane. It also ensures parents can board the airplane and settle their babies and children before everyone else boards. After landing, airline personnel will bring the strollers back up to the jetway so that passengers can get them as they get off the plane.
How do I store it on the plane?
If the flight is partly empty, airline personnel may allow you to put an umbrella stroller in the overhead compartment. This makes it easy for parents to get to their stroller. It also cuts down on the chance the stroller is lost as in transit to another flight or its destination.
What if I must change planes?
Changing planes with a stroller can be difficult. Be sure to write the connecting flight number on the gate-checked stroller tag. That way you’ll receive the stroller again when your connecting flight lands at your destination.
What if my stroller gets lost?
If the airline loses your stroller, there are several things you can do to increase the odds it will be returned to you:
- Check at the airplane door after you get off the plane – checked strollers are usually left there just after you leave the aircraft. Don’t leave the area until you have the stroller, or until the staff is completely certain no more gate-checked items are on the plane.
- If the airline has lost your stroller and you can’t physically get your child beyond the gate area for whatever reason, request wheelchair assistance and/or a golf cart to get you through the airport. If your child is so tired they can’t walk, or if you’re having problems carrying your baby and your bags at the same time, airport personnel should be able to provide a wheelchair or golf cart so you can get your family and your baggage where they need to go. Some airports may have strollers, but that’s less common.
- Check at baggage claim. Some people do check strollers, and sometimes they don’t come off in the same area as other luggage. You mind find them with other bulky checked items like car seats and skis.
- If the stroller isn’t in either of those places, talk to the airline representative in the baggage claim area. They might be able to find your stroller using your claim ticket. If they can’t, stay calm. The airline may have strollers they can lend to you while they’re locating yours. Don’t leave the airport until personnel has documented your stroller is lost and ask if they have one you can borrow.
- If you leave the airport without a stroller and you need one, go someplace where you can buy one, and save the receipt. Airlines do sometimes fight against being responsible for damaged strollers, if they lose your stroller, they may pay for a replacement. If they don’t, the credit card you purchased your ticket on may be able to reimburse you under a lost or delayed baggage benefit. If your stroller is only a few months old, your credit card company may be able to cover you under a purchase protection benefit.
- Keep in touch with the airline. The odds are very good that your stroller will be returned to you. Of course, some things end up in a lost baggage black hole and are never returned. At the end of the ordeal, one of three things should happen:
- You get your stroller returned to you.
- You get reimbursed for a new stroller.
- Both above.
How can I protect my stroller when packing it in my van or SUV?
Wrap a bungee cord around the backseat headrest. This saves space, so you can fit more than just your stroller in the trunk. To keep your stroller from getting dirty, keep shower caps or a cheap plastic bin in your vehicle. This allows keeps your vehicle from getting dirty if the wheels on your stroller get dirty.
Do you have any additional tips for traveling with a stroller?
Yes, here are a few:
- If you’re flying, consider buying an all in one stroller/car seat system. Research seat measurements ahead of time to determine if your car seat will fit in the airline seat. You’ll then be able to use your stroller for taking your baby off the plane and getting to your connecting flight or to your destination.
- Use a rolling cart to transport your stroller and luggage easily. Hotels often have these, and airports may have them too. Contact the airport ahead of time to find out if they do. If not, you may be able to purchase a rolling cart that folds down easily so you can store it in the overhead bin on the plane.
- Consider renting travel gear at your destination. Rather than taking your baby’s stroller with you, see if you can rent one when you reach your destination. This is a good option for a parent who has an older child that will be ok on the flight but still need something to ride in once they reach their destination.
- Consider purchasing a stroller when you reach your destination. If it will cost too much to check your stroller, you may want to consider purchasing a lightweight one at a big box store when you reach your destination – they’re relatively inexpensive. This may be a good option if you’re staying with friends or family who won’t mind holding onto the stroller so you can use it when you visit.
These are a few tips to keep in mind when traveling with a stroller. If you know you’ll be traveling a lot, you could also look for a stroller that’s made for traveling; this may make your life simpler. If not, following these tips and preparing in advance will ensure things go smoother for you.
Hope you enjoyed reading this important article, brought to you by Car Seat Mom.
Keren Simanova is a busy mommy by day and a passionate writer by night. While
spending countless hours researching car seats for her children, she created an educational car seat blog, CarSeatsMom.com to educate other mothers about the importance of car seats. Further, along the way, the blog became an invaluable source for research of a variety of car seat brands, unique features, and mommies’ reviews.