By Travel columnist
updated 6/25/2005 3:26:58 AM ET 2005-06-25T07:26:58

Traveling with kids, little kids, can be a hassle. They’re hard enough to transport in a car, but almost impossible in an airplane, all the paraphernalia that infants and toddlers need — extra changes of clothing, blankets, diapers, bottles, cribs, strollers, safety seats, booster seats, toys and more.

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Add in the fact that it doesn’t matter whether a child is two months old or two years old, he or she will want to be held, especially when heading on a new adventure. So, if a Sherpa can’t be hired to carry all the child’s things, what’s a parent to do?

Anything that takes the hassle out of travel with children becomes a Godsend. Thankfully, others have gone before us and come up with several ingenious ways to leave the hassle at home, or at least a big portion of it, when traveling with youngsters.

Don’t carry it. Have it delivered or rent it — For various sundries, such as diapers, bathing supplies, baby food and baby medicine there are two solutions that will keep your packing to the minimum.

www.babiestravellite.com is an internet shopping service that will do your shopping and have whatever you order sent right to your vacation condo or hotel. Or, to save money and save headaches, do it yourself. Shop at home and ship your box of extras to your hotel or condo via FedEx , UPS or the US Mail. A little planning ahead will make traveling much easier.

Baby’s Away (www.babysaway.com; 800-571-0077) focuses on the rental of baby equipment for parents. If you need a stroller, a crib (including sheets, blanket and bumpers), swings, beds, backpacks, toys, play pens, car seats, gates, joggers, humidifiers, high chairs, room monitors, rocking chairs, beach umbrellas/chairs, Baby’s Away can get it to your condo or resort at about 60 locations across the USA.

Don’t carry your kids, roll them through the airport — A new stroller, perfect for infants and toddlers, that converts into a car/airplane infant seat is called the Sit n Stroll. This contraption gets rave reviews, but there have been some problems having the safety seat fit in some airplane seats without moveable armrests. In any case, it normally works fine and can be left at the plane door for pick up when deplaning.

Another new invention is the Ride-On Carry-On (www.rideoncarryon.com) designed by a flight attendant. This seat, designed for toddlers, attaches to your rolling carry-on bag and lets you roll your toddler through the airport and security lines. The seat easily folds up and will fit into virtually any airplane’s overhead.

Keep kids entertained in the air — Several airlines have started to play individually controlled, in-flight television and movies on monitors set right in the seat backs. This is a boon for haggard parents and makes airline travel literally fly by for toddlers.

Jet Blue pioneered this individual TV on domestic flights. Their programming includes Animal Kingdom, Nckelodeon, The Learning Channel and the Discovery Channel.

Song introduced a similar system but added video games. For toddlers, the video games aren’t that important, however for kids a bit older they can make or break a trip.

Frontier Airlines’ Airbus A319s and A318s are equipped with TV programming with live television delivered to each seat with plenty of programs that are family- and kid-friendly.

Virgin Atlantic, the first to have individually controlled, back-of-the-seat video screens, provides scores of recorded TV programs and movies. Plus, their latest version of the video game system allows passengers to play against other passengers on the aircraft.

Finally, take your own computer along on the trip. Most laptops have DVD players these days and many airlines (especially American Airlines) have power plugs that will extend the battery time so you can make it through a long flight. All you have to do is bring the kids’ favorite shows along with you.

Charles Leocha is nationally-recognized expert on saving money and the publisher of Tripso. He is also the Boston-based author of "SkiSnowboard America & Canada." E-mail him or visit his Web site. Want to sound off about one of his columns? Try visiting Leocha's forum.

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