I see this topic a lot in mommy groups I belong to, so I decided to write about it! I guess it’s also timely as we have long weekends ahead and also the semestral break from school. Yey!
Like most moms, I was anxious and excited too before our first trip. I was even more anxious when I had to do it “alone” for an 8-hour flight with a 14-month old explorer. So here are my top tips!
(“Alone” – I was technically with an ex-officemate who I met up with in the airport. I still had to do all the diaper changing and baby stuff myself… unlike when your husband is with you and you can ask him to do stuff for you)
- Choose your flight schedule wisely. It may be a good idea to choose a flight schedule that coincides with your child’s regular nap or bed time. That way, he would be sleeping most of the time. When I travelled “alone” with my son, our flight was at 8pm and he was asleep the ENTIRE flight until our taxi stopped infront of the hotel. Lucky me!
- Request for a bassinet if applicable. My little one is on the lighter side so even when he was >12months, we were still able to use a bassinet. Now, what are the benefits of requesting a bassinet? First, you’ll be able to put your little one to lay down when asleep. More comfy for him, and more comfy for you too! Second, bigger leg room because you’re seated infront! NOTE: Some airlines would gladly accommodate you and your companion (i.e. hubby) in the front seats, while some would only allow you, and you have to pay extra for your companion (as this is considered a premium seat). And oh, call them early because there might be other babies in flight who would need one too.Here are some snaps from one of our trips.
- Ask about the food. In our first international flight, I requested for baby food for my then 13-month old son. I was surprised when we were given 3 bottles of Gerber. That time though, my son already eats real/table food, and well… I’ve never actually given him Gerber. I just shared my food with him and on our way back, I requested for a “post-weaning meal”. I thought I hit a jackpot, but then when the food was served, I knew I was sharing my meal again! Apparently, post-weaning meal consists of mashed fresh food like broccoli, chicken, etc. So don’t make the same mistake… Ask the airline!
- Bring toys and other things that would keep him busy. I read somewhere that you should bring something that’s new to him. So yeah, I bought new small toys (doesn’t have to be expensive) to bring, as well as some activity books (be careful with the stickers, he might stick it to the airplane windows like what my son did! LOL.). If you’re okay with using gadgets (i.e. tablet), also consider installing new games that don’t require internet connection.
- On a sheet of paper, print or write down ALL the important details you need. I did this on our 2nd trip when I was traveling alone with the little one. I realized that during my first trip, I had to pull out both of our passports every time I need to fill out forms. So the next time we traveled, I prepared a sheet that had all the pertinent information needed for the trip – passport details, itinerary, hotel address, flight details, visa details, etc. This way, every time I need to fill out forms, I just need to grab that piece of paper. 🙂
- Ask your pedia for a prescription of all first aid medicines you’ll need. And of course buy and bring those. 🙂
- Get travel insurance (Bluecross is pretty convenient to get)
- If you can, get a luggage that has four wheels and that would move in any direction. Easier to push, pull, maneuver.
- Babywear! You’d want to have your hands free to pull your baggage, push the cart, write stuff, get stuff, etc. You need to take this off though when you pass through the scanner thingy.
- What I brought with me at the airport (when it was just me and the little one)
- My own cross body bag – my personal stuff, our documents, plus small versions or smaller quantities of the little one’s stuff – small sippy cup, 2pcs diapers, travel-sized toiletries (wet wipes, diaper cream, etc), ballpen (super important!), first aid medicines, toddler snacks
- Carry-on bag / handcarry (with wheels) – extra set of clothes for me and the little one (because when your baby has booboos, mommy’s clothes might get messed up too!), blanket, more diapers, bigger pack of wet wipes, and a bag of stuff for the plane. The “bag of stuff for the plane” had all the stuff we’ll need while in the plane like the toys, some toiletries, etc. Since we were bringing a wheeled bag, we had to stow it above our seats. The “bag of stuff” we just kept under the seat for easy access.
- NOTE: I breastfed, so I did not have to bring milk. Yey! During one of our trips, my son’s bottle of wilkins was not allowed in my hand-carry… BUT the lady allowed water in sippy cups and baby bottles. Had to pour the Wilkins into the sippy cup, and I drank the rest 😛 But we had like 2-3 Liters of Wilkins in our carry-on bag. 🙂 So do find out too if distilled water is easily available where you’re going. Some countries might have sparkling water or mineral water available in convenience stores.
- Let your baby/toddler play while waiting for boarding. This way he uses up his energy and would hopefully be sleepy when on the plane.
- Talk to your little one. IT WORKS!!!! Remember I said that my little boy was asleep the ENTIRE trip and only woke up when we were infront of the hotel? You can simply say “<name>, we’ll be riding the airplane tomorrow, okay? Daddy will not be with us so please behave and help mommy.”
- Introduce your baby/toddler to airplanes and traveling so he’ll know what to expect
- And lastly…. RELAX and PRAY! 🙂 Don’t worry what other people might think. Let babies be babies! 🙂 Also, you’ll be surprised that people are extra kind/helpful when they see you alone with your kid.
Enjoy your trip and do share your experiences and tips below. 🙂