We may have way over packed but we made it unscathed from Chicago to San Antonio and back for a long weekend. Simon was an excellent traveler.
I asked for infant travel tips before I left and really appreciated the ideas that I received. I thought that I would put together a list of things that I learned while the travel is fresh in my mind. I was really nervous to travel with Simon before we left but it was actually much less awful than I expected it to be.
Actually, unlike in the real world where I am generally disappointed in humanity when I am walking with a baby, the airport was a bit better. There were still people who didn’t blink an eye that a woman and baby were overloaded and walking through the airport, but I also got asked by several people if I needed anything (especially when J wasn’t standing right next to me). I was particularly impressed by the flight attendants on Southwest – especially from SATX to MDW – they were SO nice and asked several times if they could get us anything to make flying with a baby easier.
Ok, so my lessons learned (re-capped just like any good ex-consultant should)…
- Sending or asking someone to purchase diapers, wipes and bath supplies so that you don’t have to carry them was a serious space saver. I brought our own baby wash / shampoo, but my mom had diapers, wipes, a bathtub, and special dish soap that I use ready for me when I got to her house. That was HUGELY helpful.
- Using curb side check-in at the airport meant that we didn’t have to lug too many bags into the airport. Bring a few bucks to tip the curb side check-in employees. J was able to pull over, unload me, Simon, and our luggage, check-in at curb side and then go park the car. Much easier than dragging the luggage into the airport – and probably faster.
- If you are wearing the baby in a baby carrier you don’t have to take him / her off to go through the metal detector. My sister-in-law told me this before we left and it was an awesome tip. I wore Simon in our Ergo carrier (love!) right through security – so easy! We checked our stroller in the travel bag and although it meant an extra piece of luggage, I wasn’t futzing with a stroller at the gate. Also, using the travel bag meant that the stroller was automatically insured.
- There is no limit to the amount of milk that you can bring through security. I was extremely worried about how I would get the milk that I pumped in Texas back to Chicago, but it turns out that you don’t have to follow the 3 oz or less rule with formula or breast milk for the baby. TSA did run a scan on the milk to ensure that it wasn’t harmful, but there wasn’t a limit on the amount I could take through. Also, this ice pack was awesome.
- Southwest Airlines will let you carry the car seat on the plane if there are open seats. We lucked out on both legs and had open seats on our flight. We brought the car seat on to the plane instead of gate checking it. I don’t think we’ll be so lucky on other airlines, but it was awesome on Southwest and I will try to fly them more with a baby because of it. I did have heavy-duty garbage bags with me just in case I had to gate check the car seat so that it didn’t get filthy under the plane.
- You don’t have to pay for baby luggage. I didn’t know this previously and I think it’s pretty awesome. You don’t have to pay for any baby item that goes under the plane. We checked our travel crib, stroller and a suitcase for Simon without any issue.
- Your aircraft might not have a changing table – if it does, it’s TINY. For some reason our flight from Chicago to San Antonio didn’t have a changing table – I think it was broken. J changed Simon on top of the toilet. On the way home we had a changing table but the space was very tight – it was in the back of the plane and only one of the bathrooms had one.
- Extra clothes will get used. Luckily I packed a couple of extra outfits in my diaper bag – we needed them on both legs of our trip.
Overall our trip to Texas was great. Simon adapted to new surroundings much better than I expected. He liked his travel crib and slept as well as he does in his crib at home, which was awesome. He also had a couple of milestones – rolling from back to stomach for the first time and grabbing a toy with both hands and intentionally bringing it to his mouth. He hasn’t repeated the roll since we’ve been home but he loves his new independence with toys directly to mouth. 🙂
Why is Sophie SO appealing?!
Here are some terrible iPhone pictures to document our first trip! Totally unfazed by the airplane, catching up on his reading, and enjoying Sophie. 🙂
On our next trip I’ll try not to over pack, especially when I have access to a washer and dryer. Lesson officially learned :).
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