We’ve been incredibly lucky to have been able to travel a lot over the past few years, thanks to Tim’s job as a producer of kid’s animation. I’ve also been working from home which has allowed me to work, well anywhere! As long as I have a laptop/iPad and an internet connection I’m good to go!
Since Ben has been around we’ve been to:
- Jeffrey’s Bay, Eastern Cape
- South Korea
- Singapore (x2)
- Batam, Indonesia
- London (x3) and Bristol
2 of these trips were for periods of a month. We calculated that Ben’s done around 18 flights, 6 ferry trips and many bus/train rides. He’s becoming quite a seasoned traveller!
We’ve learned a LOT over the years. What works… and what really does not! Here’s our survival guide:
1. This list from Baby Jakes Mom is the best we’ve found
Dani is awesome in general. If you need tips on starting solids or moving to finger foods she is the best! These are the things she mentioned that really stood out for me:
- Empaped Suppositories (easier than administering syrup to a hysterical baby)
- Child leash/backpack (especially for airports and busy public spaces) – we haven’t used one yet but I can see the value when laden with bags in a busy space
2. Game Plan
Decide in advance who does what and how you will take turns. You’re going to be tired and you don’t want to argue up in the air when you should be a team.
3. Yes, you should take the baby carrier and the pram
My favourites are my SSC from Ubuntu Baba and my Girasol ring sling from PiPaPo. As Ben has gotten older he does sometimes prefer a pram. He likes to be in a dark, quiet space. We bought a pram cover from Baby City that blocks out the light so that he can nap in bright airports in peace.
4. Pack things in separate smaller bags for on the plane
I have a nappy bag (nappies, wipes, cream), an extra clothing bag (spit happens…), a toy bag (new toys that are novel and not too noisy) and a food bag (bottles, formula, snacks). These are all stored in one big nappy bag.
5. Research your airline and hotel
What type of bassinet will you get on the plane? Do they provide food for your kid? Should you bring your own? Is there a camp cot at your accommodation? Does the taxi/car hired have a car seat? Be prepared.
6. Toys are essential
My favourites as Ben has grown up are Melissa and Doug’s water paint book (no mess!) and their wooden puzzles that open to reveal cool things – this keeps Ben busy for ages! Stickers are also great – literally just stars or dots. Stick them on their fingers and they spend ages plakking and sticking and pulling!
7. Try to create some calm amongst the chaos
For us this is bringing Ben’s Sleepy Sac and his bunny. Take things slow – it’s ok for others to wait a bit while you pack/unpack/settle your kid.
8. TV can be a lifesaver
We try to reduce Ben’s screen time. On a flight, however, we and the people around us need to stay sane. So we preload some shows for Ben in case the wheels fall off. His favourite show at the moment is Daniel Tiger. We love it too because it teaches great values – such as “When something seems bad, turn it around, and find something good!
9. Cling to routine – and don’t!
Sound confusing? Routine has helped us immensely. Ben settles into a new place quickly because he feels secure in the routine we have created. We try to stick to this. However, sometimes it’s just not going to work – and then there is no point forcing it! Example: the night flight to Singapore where Ben slept 30 minutes – the whole night! He was super happy. He slept well the next day and after a few days was back to his normal routine. Me? A stressed, anxious wreck!! In that situation I needed to calm. We just needed to snuggle. If he’s awake, he’s awake.
Most important: have fun and savour every moment!