Thanksgiving is the busiest air travel week in the nation. I will not pretend to know what it's like to travel with multiple children or even with children who are older than thirteen months. But traveling with Pigtail, on that I am an expert.
Since Pigtail was born, I have flown with her twenty-three times. 23. In 13 months. This staggers me. And yet, we've survived. With very few bad experiences. That's a testament to Pigtail's demeanor more than it is to my mothering skills, but you don't take two flights a month without a "system."
Now that Pigtail has upgraded to a toddler car seat, we're test-driving a new "system" this week, and I'll let you know how that goes. But in the meantime, here's a refresher of my current hard and fast rules for traveling with a baby or toddler:
1.) If at all possible, Purchase a seat for the baby. I know this isn't in the budget for everyone, but use miles or save up. This decision will make a difference to your entire trip. Trust me.
2.) One carry-on bag only. Seriously. The less you have to juggle, the less frazzled you'll be. It can be a big bag. Preferably a hands free bag. A large backpack is ideal, and I am the first to admit that backpacks are not cute. But they are oh-so-functional for travel, so slap on some extra lipgloss if you're feeling un-cute wearing it. There is nothing that you need that won't fit into one bag. I promise that you need WAY less than you think you do, both for yourself and for the baby. (I write more in-depth about this here.)
3.) Wear cargo pants. There is a line in Jonathan Franzen's Freedom (which I just finished on Friday) that says, "...Joey struck up a conversation with the mother, Ellen, who was pretty without being attractive and was wearing the stretch cargo pants that a certain kind of mom favored nowadays." Consider myself that kind of mom. When traveling alone with the baby, having my phone, ID, and $20 in pockets within immediate reach make the day that much easier.
There's lots of ways to do the baby-travel thing. Whatever your way, these three things apply to you. Do you have a travel tip to add? Share in the comments!
This is a summation of my past posts on traveling with an infant. Read the originals here and here. In the next few weeks, I'll outline my toddler travel system and tell you exactly what's in my ONE travel bag. Let me know any infant travel questions you'd like me to answer.
Mondays are the day I've set aside to talk about all things mommy. Click here for past Mommy Mondays.