Traveling with a Baby/Toddler Part 1: Logistics
I have been asked by a few friends for travel info as they start on this exciting journey with their babes, so I thought I would share an in depth post (warning, it’s a looooong one!) about what has worked for us with Liv. Someone please tell me it’s doable with two kids under two? We are headed to SoCal end of April & Charleston end of May!
Our first trip with Liv was at 9 weeks old to Miami for 5 days. Dr. gave the all clear as she had her first round of vaccines. I have this no fear attitude about certain things and needed to get out of Chicago’s cold weather, so we just went for it! Not knowing the shit storm we were in for with all the gear, here’s how we did it...and carried on our luggage :) It’s totally possible!
We each had a carry on suitcase; my second bag was my purse and Jon’s was her diaper bag. If you are nursing, a pump is considered a medical device and not counted as your allotted carry-on items. I took advantage of the space in the pump bag and backed all nursing related gear in there.
We brought the car seat sans base & Uppa Baby Cruz stroller - gate checked both. Looking back for domestic trips I would curb check these and just use the Ergo carrier throughout the airport. We utilized the space in the stroller basket to store the stroller/car seat travel bags while maneuvering through the airport.
We used her diaper bag to pack everything baby related and used my purse for in-flight needs (skip hop changing mat, diapers/wipes, nursing cover, ipad (for mom/dad to use while she snoozed), wallet, etc)
Drove to the airport & used a valet service to pick up the car (http://www.oharepersonalvalet.com/); if you are bringing your car seat you can easily take a taxi/uber as well. We arranged for a car service on the other end in advance, but again, while traveling with an infant & car seat you can easily take a taxi.
Biggest Lesson: don’t panic when getting shoved through security; ask for help if you need it.
In advance of booking the hotel we ensured it had a crib or pack n’ play so we didn’t have to lug that along. We bought most diapers, wipes, swim diapers in Miami; fortunately there was a grocery store a block from the hotel.
No longer in an infant car seat, I was NOT about to lug a massive convertible car seat anywhere. Making that decision made our logistics that much easier, with some advance planning. You just need a car service with a car seat. Super scary to see what these international companies consider car seats, but again, we just went with it, closed our eyes as the driver cut corners and prayed to my dad to watch over us. #parentsoftheyearawardgoesto These car services for the most part are not that much more expensive than a taxi.
Packing-wise, we pretty much did everything as above - each had a suitcase, her diaper bag & my purse as our carry-ons. We used the same Cruz stroller in our toddler trips to New York, Jamaica & most recently Spain.
Since Liv refuses to sleep anywhere but her crib (for the most part), I went to Five Below, loaded up on random little knick-knacks, Jon wrapped these in tissue paper #likeaboss and we unveiled a gift about every 30 minutes. Fortunately, she was really engaged with buckling the seat belts, taking the ear phone jacks in and out (sorry lady in front of us), looking out the window.
Tip: put your kid first. Don’t plan on watching those episodes of Shameless you downloaded or flipping through US Weekly unless she’s asleep. If you focus attention on your kid, it’s less likely they’ll have a meltdown, kick the seat in front of them or jailbait down the aisles. Easier said than done and we are still a no screens family so you can imagine my excitement when she finally did snooze #bringonthebooze!