We’ve traveled with Ella quite a bit. This week we went on her fifth and sixth flights, my first by myself. It went a lot more smoothly than I expected. Ella is an excellent little flier. I think the key is being prepared for everything.
Here are my biggest tips:
1. Dress the baby in an outfit that does not have to go over its head. Trust me. Also bring back up outfits, yes plural. Two for baby, one for you.
2. Check whatever you can. The less luggage you have to deal with in the airport and one the plane the better. Airlines will check car seats, strollers and porta-cribs for free.
3. Pack as few bags as possible. I packed all of Ella’s clothes and such in my suitcase so that we only had one large suitcase and a carry-on. A diaper bag too of course. Baby clothes are small and diapers can be purchased at your destination.
4. Let the baby move before boarding the flight. I chose not to board early because that was just more time Ella would be cooped up. Instead I let her crawl and walk around prior to boarding. It let her get out some energy and of course, as she always does, charm our fellow passengers.
5. Buy a cheap umbrella stroller for walking cities. I order this one. It has been great! Best thing, I don’t really care if it gets dirty or damaged. I usually gate check it but this time since I was flying solo, I checked it along with the car seat and suitcase when I arrived at the airport. I wore Ella in the Baby Bjorn which was perfect.
6. Bring snacks, bottles, cups, etc. Ella is still nursing which makes life a lot easier, but just in case she was distracted and didn’t want to be covered by the Hooter Hider, I brought a bottle of milk. We didn’t need it but it was great to have. I also brought Cheddar Bunnies, Cheerios and a few those Ella Organic baby food squeeze packages. We were flying during lunch and snack time and they were super convenient.
7. Have a favorite toy and book. I didn’t want to bring an entire bag of toys because that’s just too much to deal with. I had Sofie, Pinky her favorite stuffed animal, a rattle and two books. That was more than enough to keep her busy when she wasn’t sleeping.
8. Feed during take-off and landing. It helps with the ear popping.
9. Arrange for a crib and fridge at your destination before you arrive. Hotels typically have a limited number so make sure you book them with your reservation. Of course with separation anxiety at an all time high, Ella ended up sleeping with me, but the fridge was useful for storing milk, food, etc.
10. Be flexible with your plans. If a baby needs to nap, she needs to nap. Ella will sleep in the stroller which is where she took all of her naps. Lucky us. Make sure you allow time in-between outings for naps or meltdowns.
11. Remain calm. They sense tension and anxiety. Treat yourself to a cocktail if needed.
I’m not traveling expert but this has worked for us. Whether we’re on the road or in the air we’ve really lucked out with Ella. She seems to have gotten the travel bug from us.