Traveling with kids might sound scary and traveling alone with a toddler might seem like a crazy idea. However, it is an amazing bonding opportunity as you get to see your child experience new things and explore. The adventure hasn’t even started but your baby is already fascinated by the airport, plane, and all the fun things inside.
A few months ago, I got a crazy idea to fly to Russia for my mom’s 50th birthday without telling her. Surprise! Since I’ve had my son, coming to visit without him is obviously not an option, my family would just stare at me in silence and then would say: “Why did you even bother coming alone?” I am kidding, kind of. Anyways, it was clear it was going to be me and Alaric taking on world travel and so we did.
When embarking on this journey, I knew not to get my hopes up that my son would act like a perfect angel and just to be prepared for anything. This acceptance is probably why everything went so smoothly.
1. Get in the right state of mind.
Hoping for the best but expecting the worst really made it not bad at all. It’s definitely not gonna be easy but you can do it!
2. Find out everything you possibly can on the airline and their policy for traveling with a young child.
Things such as how much luggage you can bring, what’s allowed into carry-on, can you bring a carseat on, do they have a bassinet, is there a weight limit on it, what do you need to do to book it, etc. etc.
3. Plan around your schedule. If there is an option, choose the flight that would match your child’s nap schedule, so he can sleep through it. If it’s not an option, make sure to keep him entertained. Let him run around the airport and explore before sitting down on a plane for a while.
4. If you need something, ask for it. I cannot stress this enough. Most people don’t know all the things they have a right to get, and nobody is going to tell you unless you ask. This includes checking if there is an express line for passengers with kids, if there are empty seats on the plane and asking to get it at the check in, asking if you can bring the car seat on, etc. There is nothing more frustrating than giving the car seat away to only find out there is an empty seat next to you but you can’t really utilize it and now have to hold your kid during the whole flight (it happened to me).
5. Pack everything you need but don’t over pack. Trust me, you really going to hate bringing so much stuff when you only have two hands that you already need for the kid. Instead, think strategically what you will actually need and not just the stuff that could be useful.
Carry-on Packing List
– Documents. Remember if you are traveling overseas alone with a child you need to have notarized travel permission from your spouse. They didn’t even check mine which was a bummer since I paid $150 to have it done but the consequences of being charged with international parental child abduction are far worse.
– Diapers + Wipes + Tissues + Portable Changing Pad. Bring one diaper per hour of traveling. It might seem like too much but you never know how your child’s system will react to the travel. You really don’t want to take a chance on this one. This changing pad is really useful as it has space for a few diapers and wipes and folds easily into a clutch . I’ve been using it since the beginning and I love it!
– Snacks. Fruit pouches, crackers, fruit, nuts, whatever your kid likes. When playing is not enough to keep the baby happy, food will most likely help. Additionally, if you’re not breastfeeding anymore, bring a bottle with dry formula and ask the flight attendants to fill it with warm water to make milk before the nap time. Bring some extra dry formula in a container so you can make a bottle again if need be. Be mindful of liquids, you won’t be able to bring anything over 3.4 oz per pouch. Trader Joe’s Fruit Sauce Crushers are a perfect size for travel (3.17 oz).
– Eating essentials. Things like bib, sippy cup, untencils, bottles, snack cups and anything else you might be using during regular meal times at home. This sippy cup and snack cups, they are really convenient for traveling!
– Toys. Include some old favorites and also make sure to get some brand new ones that your child hasn’t seen before. Don’t bring stuff with small parts that can get lost under seats. Make sure that toys are age appropriate, I’ve seen a lot of parents swear by stickers but I knew my son is too small to be interested in them (I brought them anyways and they never got used). I brought some building blocks, lift-a-flap books, this buckle toy and it worked great. In general, you want to bring toys that will keep your child’s attention at least for a little while.
– Change of clothes for both of you. In case things get messy, spill, leak, etc. make sure to bring a full set of clothes for your kid and at least an extra shirt for yourself. It’s good to bring layers, i.e. a t-shirt and a hoodie or a thin long sleeve, soft pants, a hat. Bring extra socks or soft slippers for baby, it might get chilly on the plane. Check out this small shop for cute baby apparel. Use the code SHOPHHA10 and a note AlaricAlexander for 10% off everything.
– Baby carrier. This comes handy during take off, landing and naps. The baby is secure while you have your hands free and can even catch some sleep without having to actually hold him, we used our Ergo.
– Baby backpack. We got this backpack with a leash and it is really helpful during traveling. Between the airport lines, security check and long flights, sometimes it’s easier to let the kid out to explore while still having him close and safe. You can also stash some toys and snacks into his own little bag, how cute is that?
– Medicine. It’s good to have some Tylenol or Motrin just in case. I also bring a thermometer, nasal aspirator and a small saline spray.
– Your essentials. With all this baby stuff, don’t forget about yourself and bring anything you might need for comfortable flight. In case there is a chance for you to sleep, eye mask really helps to fall asleep easier and you really don’t want to miss the opportunity to rest. Chapstick, hand sanitizer, headphones, pillow will come handy as well.
The above pretty much sums it up. I know this post is super long already so if you want to hear about our journey specifically, then check out my next post! I hope this post was helpful and if you have any questions, please leave me a comment below.