Is Investing in an Additional Plane Seat for Your Baby a Valuable Budgeting Choice?

Traveling with the tiny tikes is no stroll in the park, folks. Many parents out there know that voyaging with your young’uns doesn’t always leave your wallet unscathed. Way back when, my hubby and I were globe-trotting on the regular, with plenty of greenbacks left to stash away for our golden years and make a dent in that pesky credit card debt.

Then, our little bundle of joy arrived on the scene. We were all revved up to hit the road with the little tyke but dreading the extra expense of adding a third wheel to our adventures.

But let me tell you something, dear readers, the beauty of having a wee one in tow is that some of the typical travel expenses suddenly go AWOL. Take, for instance, our penchant for museums – those bastions of culture and knowledge. Most of ’em don’t bat an eye at kids aged 3 and under, meaning no admission fee. Restaurants, my friends, they cut you some slack too, with cheaper kiddo menus. No more fretting about scoring a larger hotel room because the tiny tot can snug up in a complimentary travel crib.

And here’s the kicker, airlines don’t demand a separate ticket for a child under 2, which is basically the universe saying, “Hey, enjoy your savings!” But then, we hopped on a flight with our pint-sized 1-year-old, and let me be the town crier on this one: Get that extra plane seat!

Flying with young’uns is a feat, no doubt about it. Before I took flight with my little sidekick, I did my homework, folks. My lad made his grand entrance into the world right at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, so I couldn’t quite predict how much jet-setting we’d do while still dodging the extra ticket bullet. But then, my fella landed a gig in Colorado, and presto, we were trucking it 1,608 miles away.

I dived into the research, and let me tell you, flying with wee ones is akin to a trapeze act without a net. I’d gather tales of tots squirming like squirrels on a sugar high, or belting out a symphony of screams during liftoff and touchdown. One heart-wrenching account featured a parent tap-dancing on their offspring’s regurgitated lunch during a layover, and another poor soul who forgot to pack herself a spare set of clothes, wafting through the air with a less-than-rosy aroma after her tyke had a diaper disaster. The annals of aviation are stacked with such yarns.

I couldn’t possibly brace for every airborne calamity with a 1-year-old in tow, but I soaked up these stories like a sponge and conjured up a checklist, a grand checklist, for the inevitable cataclysm.

Apart from the extra layers we required for the frosty Denver climate, considering our move from balmy Florida, my inventory included all things toddler. Extra pacifiers, a stash of books, beloved toys, UHT milk, enough snacks to feed an army, backup clothes for both of us (learned that lesson the hard way!), and an iPad loaded with episodes of Cocomelon.

The one conundrum I couldn’t quite crack was the car seat dilemma. Gate-check it? Sell it and procure a fresh one upon touchdown? Or take it onboard? After weighing the pros and cons, I bit the bullet and decided that investing in the extra plane seat for my tyke and his trusty car seat was the way to go.

Let’s talk cash when it comes to traveling, folks. The expenses can pile up faster than a Jenga tower. Plane tickets, hotels, dining out, attractions, and any kiddo gear you need – they all eat away at your budget. But it’s more than just a numbers game, isn’t it?

In my world, the ultimate question revolves around the financial toll versus the emotional and physical toll. Travel is pricey, no doubt about it, but us parents, we’re wired to consider more than just dollars and cents.

So here’s the scoop, should I splurge on that extra plane seat for my little rugrat or make do with him on my lap? The budgeting brain cells kicked into overdrive, and I decided that allocating funds for that third seat was money well spent.

Shelling out for that additional seat ensured we didn’t have to fret about renting or shopping for a new car seat when we landed. But it wasn’t just the pocketbook that benefited. Flying with my 1-year-old snuggled in his car seat, in his own seat, was a game-changer.

Why, you ask? The extra moolah wasn’t just about financial prudence; it was about easing the voyage with a youngling in tow. My tot knew that his car seat equaled “adventure time,” and he settled into it like a pro. While I was fretting over how he’d handle his first flight, the familiar confines of his car seat smoothed out the ride, for him and yours truly.

So, budgeting when you travel with kiddos, it’s as essential as sunscreen in the Sahara. My two cents? Add that extra plane seat to the ledger, even if your munchkin’s in the “lap child” club.

Now, picture this: parenting and globetrotting – two challenging feats, no doubt about it. When we whisk our little rascals off to new horizons, it’s about unveiling the world’s wonders and sprinkling some magic dust on our offspring.

Despite the extra bucks it cost us, I’m patting ourselves on the back for snagging that extra plane seat. It may have left our wallets lighter, but it greased the wheels of our journey and spared us a heap of stress. When it comes to air travel with babes and toddlers, I’m game for anything that makes the journey a tad less hair-raising.

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