Q: I'll be flying to Europe with a 17-month-old to meet my husband and I'm wondering if it is even possible to think of making this trip without another adult!
A: There are several things you can do to make this trip easier, starting with the flight reservations. If you can reach your destination on a nonstop flight -- New York to London, for example -- that is your best bet as the connections can be the hardest part of traveling with infants and small children. If you do need to make a stop, make sure you have enough time at the connecting airport to comfortably manage going from one terminal to another, clearing security, and moving through passport control.
As for the flight itself, young children are usually most uncomfortable during the take-off and landing due to the change in air pressure. Chewing gum or swallowing liquid are good ways to relieve the pressure, but a 17-month-old is likely to be too old for a bottle and too young to chew gum. Instead, try having your child suck on a pacifier (if he uses one) or sip from a sports bottle.
Some children do sleep on overnight flights, but if you think your child won't, investigate day flights, which have the advantage of getting you there in time for bed. That way, your jet lag will be minimized on the first day.
Good luck with your trip and remember that a goody bag full of inexpensive trinkets and treats, doled out one at a time, can make even a long trip go more smoothly.