Friday, January 25, 2013

How to: Travel with a baby

packing

Disclosure: I’m not an expert.

I have friends who should be writing this post…who have traveled with more than one kiddo at once, more than once. But alas, here I am writing it. We just returned from a week long trip in Florida with Elizabeth and it was fantastic. After getting some information from my friends, reading a few different blog posts, and being realistic about who we are; we planned, packed, and executed a very fun trip with our 6 month old. Some may have called us crazy but it really wasn’t as bad as I imagined. In fact, like she does most every day, our baby girl blew my expectations out of the water. She was a traveling champ.

For our first trip away with Elizabeth we picked a place that is our vacation spot of choice. We headed down to Palm Harbor, Florida which is near Tampa and Clearwater just as we have been doing as a married couple for the past 7 years. My Dad and Stepmother own a condo there so the fact that we can stay for free sweetens the deal. Not only that but at the condo they provide pack n plays and highchairs. You never know what you will get but I was certain whatever it was it would be clean, newer, and functional. And they were.

So how did I plan, what did we bring, and how did it go?

1. Think through the details

Here’s our packing list

(click here to open and print)

Before we left I thought through what our days would look like and where we would be staying. I knew that we would spend quite a bit of time at the pool and that we would be laying low. That helped in creating a packing list. One bonus perk of where we were staying was the ability to do laundry. HUGE bonus especially with a baby!

2. Consider what you want to check through

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We decided to bring our Uppababy stroller. Not everyone would want to bring such a big stroller but we knew it would be helpful for eating out, shading Elizabeth at the pool, and for walks. We ended up gate checking it because of the TravelSafe program we got through using their travel bag. Some people love using their stroller in the airport but we chose to use our Ergo instead mainly because our back wheels needed to be removed to fit in the bag. Added bonus we just walked right through security with Elizabeth in the Ergo.

We also gate checked our car seat in this bag; I didn’t like the idea of the car seat going uncovered (ew!) nor did I like the thought of checking it with baggage as I’ve heard it can be brutally handled, end up damaged, and possibly lost. That meant we needed to cart two large pieces of necessary baggage through the airport. We also decided to bring our roll-a-boards and not check them. What can I say we’re pretty cheap!

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So I carried E in the Ergo throughout the airport (HIGHLY RECOMMEND), carried our diaper bag on my back (AGAIN HIGHLY RECOMMEND), and pulled our stroller behind me. Alex carried the car seat on his back and rolled our two roll-a-boards. It was really easy, convenient, and worked like a charm. Again this is all personal preference but it worked great for us. Only item checked: golf clubs.

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3. Bring identification

For whatever reason on our flights back we had the “Mr. Beans” of the airport. They were incredibly diligent about doing there job and did check to see Elizabeth’s birth certificate. I took it along as a ‘what-if’ and I’m glad I had it with us. Also one thing I learned through this great e-book was to make sure Elizabeth was added to our tickets as a lap child before arriving at the airport. I would’ve never known to do that since we couldn’t do it while purchasing our tickets (we used frequent flyer miles). Again they made sure the designation was on our tickets at every counter.

4. Things worth packing and things to consider buying there

-People always say to bring a TON of diapers with you when you fly. One trick is to pack a bunch in your car seat travel bag. Then they are accessible to you (if you gate check) and you don’t have to fill your diaper bag to the brim.

-Consider buying things like diapers etc. at your destination or have them shipped by Diapers.com to get there when you arrive. We head to Target upon arrival every year to gather food supplies and other things so we bought E’s food and other things at the same time.

-We brought a few of her favorite toys in the diaper bag and packed another gallon zip lock of toys in the car seat bag. Bring things that are small and well-liked and can do dual purpose. Hit toys of the trip were her bath squirties…work in the pool, the tub, and while playing on dry land.

-Tip for transitioning to new time zones: keep your normal schedule despite the time change. Elizabeth slept better on vacation somehow than she does at home. So when we arrived in Tampa at 5pm we got her to bed by 7pm Eastern time. That was actually like 6pm to her but she went down fine and awoke the next morning around 7am.

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Resources for trip planning:

- Flying with Baby (e-book/$2.99) Definitely worth the money

- Solicit the advice of friends and family who have done it before:)

- check out these great posts on HelloBee

What are some of your tips for flying/traveling with your kids?

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips - these will come in handy as we travel with our little guy when he is a few months old.

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    1. You're welcome Carrie...can't wait for that boy of yours to make an appearance:)

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  2. I'm so glad that traveling with Elizabeth was such a success! You certainly did your homework. I agree with just carrying baby around instead of a stroller (at least when they're that young). We have only flown once with Stella, and she was 8 months old. I wouldn't mind trying it again if it means getting out of Dodge (aka winter in MN). :)

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    1. Anything to get out of dodge...seriously:)

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  3. Great tips Andrea! Just a note for anyone reading this, I have never been allowed to go through security while wearing baby. They have always made me take my boys out of the ergo, even when Brody was just six weeks old! So, just be prepared that you could be asked to take your carrier off to go through the gate. Kind of a pain, but still great to use the Ergo, especially when you have two! One in a stroller and one in the Ergo worked well for us when Brody was little enough :). Glad your trip went well! - Steph

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