Monday, March 16, 2009

He's a traveling (little) man...

Before I was 17, I had never stepped foot out of the U.S. - and only briefly visited Oklahoma, California and D.C. in addition to my home state of Texas.

The travel bug hit me much later in life. I didn't have a passport until I was 22 or 23.

By the time Julian was a week old, he had already been to three states. By a month old, he was up to five. His passport came in the mail about a week ago, and he already has his own frequent flier number.

We're traveling to Switzerland a week from Friday for nine days, with a little drive into Austria, Lichtenstein and possibly even Germany and France. We've only made hotel reservations for the first three days - and secured the rental car. The rest is going to be of the "fly by the seat of our pants" type of travel. We've taken him into Canada but this will be our first big international trip with him (not counting our trip to Northern Ireland/Ireland when I was about 5 months pregnant with him).

For those of you that know us - this should be no surprise. We ended up yesterday on a 12 hour road trip because I didn't want to clean the house. The trip to Zurich? Meh - flight sale on American that was too good to pass up.

He's flown maybe 10 times or so - so I'm pretty experienced at the fervent "please no diaper blowouts while we're on the plane" prayers. We've never been on a flight this long with him, though - and never to a place where we didn't speak the language.

We tend to travel light - especially for our international trips - but with him in tow that may not be as possible.

Any tips for travel with an infant? Anyone with suggestions about where to go on the trip? Any advice would be greatly appreciated as with each day my stress level rises higher with regard to the trip. We bought a lightweight collapsible McClaren umbrella stroller for the trip - as our huge Mutsy wasn't going to be flight compatible. Trying to figure out how to transport him around (he's topping out at over 25 lbs. now) when we're not carting him in the stroller, how to keep him entertained on the flight, how to get him to easily adjust (ha!) to the time change, etc.

Just today, for instance I managed to secure an appointment to fix my passport to finally show my married name. Only my appointment was just an appointment to get in line behind 100+ other people who were also traveling within the next two weeks. No blackberry or cell use allowed. I had to reschedule as there was no way I could miss a day's worth of work for it.

So what say you? What has/hasn't worked for long flights and travel for your family or for your friends?

1 comment:

Helen said...

We took two nappy bags filled with enough formula/things for them, as invariably things get delayed. We also plied them with Calpol (children's Tylenol) little into the flight as it helps them sleep. J should still be small enough that you can ask for the bulkhead and the hanging basket for him to snooze in-they preferred that on the long haul flights, whereas short flights they snooze on the laps.

Take a favorite toy he's familiar with but also buy something new. Wrap it up so that he can experience unwrapping it and playing with it - it's the completel novelty of something new that will get them.

We also decked them out in layers, as the plane invariably changes temperature, and had them in pajamas as it was more comfortable and then that way they could associate the plane with being able to sleep. Giving them a bottle during take off and landing helped keep their ears popper.

We have one rule on airplanes - the kids get absolutely anything they want to not scream. We never work that way ordinarily but we figure 200+ people did not shell out money to spend 10 hours in a tube with screaming babies. So we doled out lots of treats, cuddles, and toys to keep them happy. It worked, for the most part.