Vacation planning for couples or singletons usually means shopping for new attire, packing all essentials, planning trips or outings, and checking off items on their must-do lists at the holiday destination. Travel time during flight journeys or train/bus rides is leisurely spent by watching movies, listening to music, or reading books.
Add a baby to the above definition and we have an exponential shift. Vacation planning now means shopping for only baby stuff, packing essentials, packing essentials, and more essentials, weighing bags countless times to ensure you haven’t crossed the allowable airline limits thanks to all the packing, and last but not the least, throwing out only your stuff from the baggage to make place for, yeah, you guessed it right, the baby’s stuff. Travel time is now dominated by the baby and if you get to sleep, that’s a bonus.
Time to sulk and panic, right? Wrong. Not all vacation-planning or travels with an infant need to be disastrous. Let me share my experience with you.
Earlier this year, the hubby and I discussed how our baby girl needed to meet our families in India. It had been six months since the baby’s arrival, and our families were getting impatient to see the newest member. The hard part of our discussion was not the decision making itself, rather accepting I would have to travel alone by flight along with an infant, thanks to hubby’s prior work commitments.
Panic city struck me big time. So much that I had nightmares about the 24 hour travel from US to India. But things worked out for the best, and it didn’t seem so bad in the end. So I'm sharing my take-away points from this experience.
Things will work out for the better. Since the hubby couldn't travel with us, I stressed forever about how I would manage with the baby. How would I go take a washroom break? Who would help with lugging around of the bags? I had my questions answered a week before my travel when my next-door neighbor from US also decided to fly with her baby girl on the same flight as me to the same destination. It was a relief knowing that I won’t be traveling alone on the baby’s first flight journey.
Your carry-on baggage should always be smartly packed. Airlines normally allow you to carry an extra cabin bag for your infant. So if you think getting to carry an extra bag will solve all your problems, then you are wrong. Ask me, ‘cause carrying an infant along with two carry-on bags and a purse is an impossible task. I made the mistake of packing excess stuff into my bags fearing the baby may require this and that. Relax! There was stuff in my baggage which my six-month baby never demanded during travel. Oh yes, never carry a book. With an infant, did you really think you could read during the long journey?
Don’t carry a laptop in your carry-on bags. Yes, I made this mistake as well. This being a long vacation for me and baby girl, I wanted to bring the laptop along. So between deciding if I need to pack it in the check-in or cabin bags, I chose the latter and repented it big time. You don’t want the trouble of taking it out and packing it in between security checks at airports.
Expect unexpected surprises. Picture this: You're carrying an infant and heavy cabin bags. So you thought bringing along a stroller (car seat included) would ease your pain. You can rest your arms from all the heavy work and your baby can sleep peacefully, right? That’s true. Unless the airlines decide to break your sole travel mate. That’s what happened to me. After the first leg of the journey, when I received the baby stroller, the cup-holder broke off. Which meant I couldn’t place the baby seat on. So imagine my plight... having to deal with an infant, three carry-on bags and a broken stroller. My neighbor was my savior who lent me her stroller when her baby wasn’t sleeping in it. And packing a baby carrier for such times always helps.
Babies don’t necessarily fuss about flight travel. That’s right. When I come to think of it now, I realize how worried I felt about how baby girl would deal with all the traveling. On the contrary, she was a sweetheart. She only demanded her regular feeds and slept for most of the journey. So don’t worry, your baby wont trouble you as much as you picture it in your head.
Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the experience. Even with all the little mishaps, we were given priority with special care at every place, so don’t stress yourself about the travel. If all baby travels went off perfectly, you won’t have a story to tell right ? ;)
Did you or someone in your family travel with an infant? Do you have any take-away points to share ?
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