Our family is due to take another trip in less than two weeks! Ah, my thirst will be quenched. I’m forever the dreamer, wondering where I should trek next. We’ll be heading south to New Orleans, Louisiana. I’m not one for thick air that forces you to pant and stains your clothes with sweat, but we’ll be going in early March so the gulf weather should be manageable. (I’m a cold weather enthusiast.) My parents have told me I’ve been there before. I was an infant; Willow’s age approximately. Due to a basement flood, most of my childhood was drowned and remains undocumented, save the memories I can recall. I’m excited to visit this Jazzy, French/Creole inspired city. Flipping through photos, I can only imagine the vibrant life that awaits us. Most would also be anxious about traveling with an infant going on toddler.
We’ve traveled with Willow before. Back in September, Frank and I attended a friend’s wedding in Kansas. The trip was labeled our Planes, Trains, Automobiles excursion because we used all three modes of transportation to get back to NJ. We visited MO, IL, IN, OH, and KY as well as KS. (FYI, I WOULD NOT advise using all those modes of travel. I thought I could save money, but in the end, we took a hit to our wallet. We didn’t have a credit card at the time so car companies wouldn’t rent to us. We would travel all over a city looking for a place and Budget Rental Car or Avis were the only ones who would loan a car out to an individual without a credit card. Also, one-way car rentals are EXPENSIVE! I never thought they would be, having never done it before, but be warned, one way rentals have a steep price!) Anyways, Willow did great. There was only one plane ride that she fussed on and it was about a 2 hour flight. Most of the time, she slept.
Willow was 5 months old when we went out to KS. She will be 11 months old for this trip. Six months of aging for an infant–>toddler means increased mobility and squirming. I’m praying it goes as smoothly as last time. For the most part, I’m not too concerned. More than likely, Willow will smile and coo and the other passengers. I will admit that having an easy going child makes travel SO much easier. (I honestly don’t know what I would do if she fussed while we traveled.) Some people really can’t go places, that is if they fear how others will react over a screaming or fussy child. Thankfully, Willow is flexible with her schedule and goes with the flow.
Some tips I have found were helpful when we were traveling with Willow back in September were to buy disposable diapers when we landed, bring our own stroller and car seat rather than rent one, pack enough clothing to last 3 days and just do laundry somewhere (bear in mind infants need about 3-4 back-up outfits just in case they vomit, poop, pee, or any other array of soiling their clothes), and we packed enough toys to keep her entertained, but not so many toys that our bags were too heavy or we didn’t use a toy. Bringing our own car seat and stroller worked well for this particular trip to reduce car rental expenditures, but this variable can vary depending on the trip; use your discretion when deciding to rent or bring your own car safety gear. We had a stock pile in the diaper bag, but we didn’t pack all the diapers we thought we’d need for the trip. We simply purchased disposable diapers when we got to KS. I know some people insist on cloth diapers, or their child has allergic reactions to certain disposable diapers, and this will complicate matters. If this is the case, find a place where you can do laundry and work that into your schedule. For planes, it is important for a young child to suck on something during take off and landing to help stabilize pressure in the ears. I nurse so I just made sure I latched Willow on a few minutes before take-off and landing. Willow eats more solids now so I might give her some water, milk, or snacks to help with ear pressure. If needed, I will nurse. Since Willow eats solids now, we will also pack a few snacks that we can bring through security.
One of the most important things Frank and I did was we smiled frequently. (The grammar sounds off here, forgive me.) If you relax and enjoy yourself, it is likely your child will too.
Best wishes for safe and enjoyable travel with your young infant-toddler in tow.