I have been traveling since I was a baby. As I got older and more independent, I started traveling on my own with friends and realized that traveling was easy peasy! Once I became a mom, traveling with a kid is a whole other ball game. AnnDrew has traveled with me so much in her short time being here, I have mastered it now – from packing to being on the move. But man, traveling solo with a baby/toddler is a task. I do enjoy having someone with me more because it really makes things go so much smoother. When you are solo, you have to make sure you have all of your bags, the baby, the correct gate all while trying not to take someone out at the shins while pushing the stroller through the airport. I get asked for some tips all the time, so here they are. I hope these can help someone like they help me.
MAKE A TRAVEL PLAN
I am a MAJOR planner! When I know I have a trip coming up, I write a “packing list”. This list contains everything that I need to pack and can not forget! As I pack, I cross things off the list. This is how I never forget any of my essentials at home. I also try to plan my flight around AnnDrew’s sleep schedule. One mom friend of mine gave me a great tip, which was to aim for night flights, so she will be sleeping on the plane. A lot of times, that doesn’t work out well for me lol and I have to get a day time flight. (In that case – see the pack snacks and entertainment section) I also never get flights with a layover. I feel like they make the trip much longer and makes the kids crazier. They feel like they are free, then its right back on the tight plane. If you have to get a layover, make sure your layover has enough time in between your flights so you don’t have to rush. This suggestion is coming from a friend of mine that was traveling with her two kids and her layover only had 3 minutes in between and it was in another terminal. She said it was a nightmare.
My packing list comes in handy now. I bring only what is needed. I have gotten really good about this over the years. I used to pack 76 outfits (exaggeration) for a 3 days trip! It was crazy. I learned that I never ending wearing/needing all of the extra items, so I keep it to what I know I will need. Do the same for the kids. Just make sure you have extra diapers – always bring extra diapers. lol
GIVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME
The worst thing is having to rush through the airport. What is worse than that – rushing with kids ughhhh! You will feel like you are in a downward spiral, so I suggest giving yourself a time cushion. If you know your flight leaves at 2pm, make sure you get to the airport early enough to get through security, go to the bathroom, diaper changes, grab something to eat and be able to chill for a minute at the gate. If you start your trip off frazzled, that flight will not go well. It is recommended to arrive 2 hours early for domestic flights and 3 for international. Now, I do not get there that early because my daughter would go nuts sitting that long. I probably arrive an hour and some change early for domestic and 2 hours for international.
PACK SNACKS AND ENTERTAINMENT
This is so key! MAJOR KEY ALERT! We all know kids love some damn snacks. I feel like mine is saying “SNACK”, every time I turn around. I always make sure I have her water bottle filled, at least 3 different types of snacks (nothing to make her extra hyper), some books to read, a few small toys and the IPAD. If your kid is getting crazy on the plane, whip out those snacks and watch their eyes light up and those booties sit down to get ready to eat. 😉
DRESS FOR THE PART
I like to go for homeless chic when I travel. I never wear anything that I will be uncomfortable in after an hour. Examples- tight jeans, tight elastic around the waist, bras with uncomfortable underwires or heels. I love to travel in a cute sweat suit, leggings, slides or sneakers. I always pack an extra pair of socks to put on the plane when I kick off my shoes. I do the same for my daughter and I always bring an extra sweater for us both in case the plane is cold.