My husband, Baby A and I recently traveled across the world to Finland. I wanted my maternal relatives to meet my them, and I wanted us all to see, hear, smell, and, especially, taste the parts of Finland most special to me. My husband lived there for two years while serving for our church, and hadn't been back for over 5 years since, so he wanted to see some of his friends and to walk the familiar streets of Helsinki with me. We loved it! Of course, my favorite part was talking and eating with my sweet family and friends. They are the warm kind of people who, when only seen a few days every couple of years, make you feel as if you are a regular part of the household and a special guest at the same time. We caught up, reminisced, ate, walked, ate, took real saunas, ate, toured the city and a castle and an island fortress, ate, drove through countryside forests and farms, shopped, and ate. While we were there, Baby A rolled for the first time! I was chatting at breakfast with my Mummi (grandmother) and A, who refused to be left out of any socialization, lie on a blanket on the floor. I glanced down at her and suddenly she was on her tummy!
So, at 3 months, A became a world traveling baby. She had her first plane ride, bus ride, escalator ride, moving walkway ride, and ferry ride. Many people have asked, how did she do on the plane? She did great!
Here are a few tips for air travel with an infant:
1. Research the travel guidelines of the airline. Somehow, we did not know until the week before that we would have to pay taxes (about $100) for international travel with a baby who did not have a seat reserved.
2. Prepare for the worst and expect the best. One one flight, we were all able to sit together, she had a spare seat, but the in-flight bassinets were broken--so I was glad we had brought her car seat on. On another flight, we were not allowed to bring her car seat on, we were separated by the aisle, there was no bassinet, they did not unload our stroller in time for us to make our connecting flight (so we had a 4 hour delay), and the customs line was a ridiculous mess.
3. Pack triple the basics you think you'll need. If you use one burp rag each day, and you are going on a 3-day trip, pack 9 burp rags. If your trip is longer than 3 days, make sure you have laundry services available. We washed laundry twice in our 10 day trip. Exception: disposable diapers. If you are traveling domestically or to a familiar place, pack a 3 days' supply of diapers and then buy locally.
4. Secure your home. Make sure your renter's and homeowner's insurance is current, lock your windows and doors, empty all you garbage, clean the kitchen and throw out perishable food, water plants, give your mail key and travel contact information to a trusted friend, turn down the thermostat, and put valuables (including papers with account info) in a safe before you go.
5. Pack lightweight, compact entertainment.A's favorite toy on the plane and in her car seat and on our floor: the Little Monster cloth book. She'll eat/read//play with it for 40 minutes straight!
6. Plan for unexpected weather with layers, layers, layers, good rain-walking shoes, and a mini umbrella. And please, ALWAYS put a hat, either to warm the head and ears or to block the sun, on your baby.
7. Make a plan, then let go of expectations. We came home with special memories, great pictures, and money to spare thanks to thorough planning and grateful attitudes (and generous relatives).
(I have failed, 3 times, to keep my promise of blogging at least once per week. I am sorry. But let's take today as a new beginning.)