Lina is officially an international traveler! On May 22, she took her very first flight…followed by her second…and then her third, which was an eight-hour overseas excursion from Chicago to Paris. Over the next two weeks, trains, planes, and automobiles took her from France, to Italy, to Great Britain, and briefly to Poland before ending up back in the States. I mean, I think it is safe to say that she is a seasoned veteran of travel.
While she was a rockstar for the majority of her travel days, she did have a couple of melt-downs…but who wouldn’t during a 24-hour travel day?! If it had been socially acceptable for me to openly bawl after four airports in one day, I would have…But together, along with the help of Lina’s grandma, we made it through still smiling.
In large part, our travel success has been due to Catalina’s amazing temperament and her love of socializing with new people. (She is definitely an extrovert like her daddy.) I like to think, though, that my excellent packing skills had a small role to play in our first-time-travelling-across-the-ocean-with-baby victory!
Traveling With Baby: What’s in My Carry-On
- Baby Carrier – Now, this wasn’t actually in my carry-on, but on me almost every minute we were in airports or train stations. Wearing Catalina on the go was a great decision. It left both of my hands free to carry boarding passes, luggage, passports…and let’s be honest, coffee. Bonus: she was able to take frequent naps on the go!
- Two Blankets – I brought two blankets in my carry-on bag; one was for snuggling on the plane, the other was for laying out on the floor. We used both blankets many times! Catalina needed to crawl, roll, and stretch out between flights…just as much as I needed to stand up or sit back without having her on me. Having a blanket to spread on the floor was a lifesaver.
- Wipes – This one should seem obvious, but we needed more wipes than I could have imagined. We used them for diaper changes, drink spills, food clean up, but also for Catalina’s hands after she explored every inch of our seat, seat back, tray table, buckle…you name it, her hands were ALL over it. I wanted her to explore and get to know our surroundings, but I’ve also traveled enough to know that I don’t want those germs ending up in Lina’s mouth. So, we used wipes. SO MANY WIPES.
- Snacks – I packed snacks for both Catalina and myself. Normally, I’ll have a few snacks in my bag, but I would stop at Starbucks for a coffee and a snack, then get a magazine and candy. I would take my time, and buy along the way. Traveling with a baby is different. I wanted to make sure that we had enough trail mix and granola bars for me to snack on (I become a very grumpy person without food), but I also wanted to make sure that, in addition to nursing, Lina had more than enough food for the plane rides. I brought some fresh fruit, but I also gave in and finally bought freeze dried fruit and yogurt bites, along with sweet potato cereal puffs. Not ideal for baby’s diet, but so good to keep her occupied and her belly full.
- Change of Clothes – Again, fairly obvious, but a change of clothes (for both Lina and me) was another winning decision. Carrying on a change of clothes is always important when flying, in case of lost luggage or a cancelled flight. But traveling with a baby adds a whole new element of…risk…when it comes to dirtying your clothes. Between food, drink, and bodily functions, let’s just say it is nice to know there is a back up set of clothes for each of us.
- Sense of Humor – Traveling is not smooth. I have been on planes that are missing parts, I’ve had my luggage combust on the tarmac, I’ve had trains stop on the tracks for four and a half hours…it is all a part of the experience. Add diaper explosions, inexplicable crying fits, and a lost and longed for nap schedule – traveling with a baby is downright unpredictable! But my advice is to keep a smile on your face, don’t stress, and come fully armed with a sense of humor. Who knows, a mishap could become your next great adventure!