Friday, August 21, 2009

Up Up and Away: Traveling with Baby

I just returned back from my "babymoon" in Montreal with my husband, and the reality that it is the last vacation we will take before becoming parents scares the crap out of me! While we were dining at a fine French Bistro, celebrating our 4 year wedding anniversary, I thought to myself that the next time we vacation will be a whole lot different that this epicurean adventure.

Over the 4 days we spent there I was much more observant when we happened upon a vacation family, which was not very often in the sweltering heat of Montreal in August. It prompted me upon my return to Boston to ask my Baby Mama's about their travel experiences now that they have human baggage! Here is what they had to say:

"Traveling when the baby is super young is the easiest - they sleep the whole time. Baby's doc claimed that babies are able to clear their own ears by the time they are a week old, so travel by air is safe. Baby flew from FL to NC when he was only 5wks old. Advice - when they are that young, skip the stroller and just carry in a sling. When you go through security, you have to disassemble EVERYTHING and that can be time consuming when there is a long line behind you. My experiences have always been pleasant...the security check guards are very helpful and patient. Sometimes the flight attendants will make you take the baby out of the sling, others won't. I never understood the difference. Baby flew at 10wks, also just as easy. Once the baby is older, First Class is definitely more comfortable, or buying that extra seat for the baby to sprawl out. A DVD player and Baby Einstein is a must for us. We took Baby skiing in Steamboat when he was 7mos old, and he was able to go to daycare for the time we were there, which was a very nice ammenity. Most resorts have this. The flight however was not as easy. He wanted some space...luckily we were able to upgrade to First Class for the entire flight for $100. Sign of the times! We will be travelling to NC again for Labor Day. Trey will be 13mos. Since the flight was only $58, we bought him his own seat. He hates to be held now that he can almost walk and I can't imagine how difficult he'd be on the plane. He will sit in his carseat for this flight!"

"Yes, I remember thinking while I was pregnant how we probably would not be going on another vacation for 18 years! No seriously, it is not as hard as you think. We have only traveled once with him (he was six months) and we went up to Syracuse with him for ten days. I think I was more nervous thinking about how difficult it was going to be, and everything really went very smoothly. He did great on the plane. It is kind of a pain that you have to literally take everything apart before going through security, so when they say you need to get to the airport two hours early, you really do when you are traveling with a baby! Also make sure to bring extra food/formula/diapers/wipes/pacifiers, etc. in your diaper bag because if the plane was delayed several hours, God forbid you run out of the necessities! (I was so nervous thinking of all those stories you hear when they don't let the people off the plane for like ten hours while they sit on the runway). Also bring something to entertain them with on the plane. We didn't end up needing anything because Baby pretty much slept the whole time (we took a 6am flight, which I totally recommend - even though it sucks getting to the airport at 4am, he slept the entire time because it was his normal sleeping time.) Also I would recommend buying a travel stroller bag (kind of like a golf bag), so that when you gate-check the stroller it doesn't get all banged up or get black grease all over it."

"I've done it all, plane train and automobile with my kids...even gone international. You must have a passport for anyone, even infants, FYI. When flying with little ones try to feed them during take off and landing because it may help with the ears. Binkys help too. I always condense my stuff and the baby's stuff into ONE bag. Trust me, the less you have to carry the better. I have always found eating a meal or snacks to be the best entertainment on planes because with food in thier mouth they can't be too loud and it helps the time go by. With kids eating table food cheerios, dried fruit, gold fish etc... are all great. Only bringing enough supplies for a couple of days and buying the rest when you get there. Happy travels."

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