Traveling Before Kids (TBK)
I love new travel experiences! My husband and I often book flights for early Saturday morning and return on Monday evening to save money and vacation time. It’s a great way to extend a long weekend.
In July, we scooped up some amazing deals on flights for Thanksgiving to Washington, DC with family. I raced to book dinner reservations for a fun night out and texted a friend to see if we could meet up for lunch during the stay. After all, travel is supposed to be packed fun from beginning to end with reservations and a list a mile long of things to do TBK (insert eye roll here).
Then Life Changed.
Two weeks later, our son was born. We obviously knew about him in advance – we just didn’t exactly think about what it would be like to travel with him or just how hard (and absolutely amazing) it would be.
What Did We Learn?
I’ve found myself relaying this information to friends and family since our first flight and already feel better prepared for the next one, so I wanted to share it with you:
- Start small! Our first flight with baby C was 1 hour 15 minutes. I packed enough in our carry ons in case we were stranded for 24 hours without access to food or water, but that’s beside the point. We did our best to book flights at times that wouldn’t disrupt routines for sleeping and eating.
- Every kid is different, but flying during the witching hour sounds downright miserable.
- Do yourself a favor and start packing days before you think you should. Seriously. Better yet, before you even open the suitcase, spend 2-3 days making lists of everything that your child uses in a day. Just get a feel for what it will be like away from your routine, right down to the simple details. As an example, I wish we had brought our bottle warmer! I use it six times a day, but I had completely forgotten it.
- If you’re staying with family or friends, ship items in advance, such as diapers or formula.
- Don’t forget to go get a birth certificate for baby. Turns out that it doesn’t matter if he is clearly less than 2 years old; they need proof.
- Bring an extra outfit for yourself in the diaper bag just in case! Do you really want to smell the entire way on a plane?
- Filling bottles with water for formula is perfectly acceptable. Make sure any breast milk is on ice and not slushy, as it will be checked at TSA.
- Gate check your stroller in a gate check bag (Amazon Prime for the win!) to keep it secure and befriend the gate agents! If there are empty seats on board, they will allow you to bring your car seat onboard, which just seems to work a lot better all around. You’ll use the simple latch system as on the plane as you would in a car without the base. If you’re not driving while on vacation, you may even considering baby wearing in the airport and on the flight.
Last piece of advice.
90% of the things that I worried about didn’t even remotely come close to happening. Don’t forget to take pictures and treasure the memories of the first flight with baby!
Editor’s Note: This post is intended for the parents of infants. You’ll hear me swearing from the flight deck once my kid can maneuver himself through the cabin.