Travelling overseas with a baby is both an experience and an extreme test of your patience. People say that travelling with kids is like ripping off a band aid, you’ve just got to get it done and deal with the pain.
Here are 5 tips that I thought I’d share with you based on my trip to the UK.
- Be prepared for anything – this tends to speak for itself. We all know that kids, especially babies can be unpredictable so you tend to hope for the best and prepare for the worst but what if the baby isn’t the problem. As my husband and I were running late to a connecting flight we were “randomly” chosen for the explosive test but this time they didn’t want to test just myself or Ric they wanted to test the baby as well -needless to say this took up extra time that we didn’t have! My moto from this is: a family that gets bomb tested together stays together.
- Take advantage of kind offers – in my case kindness came in the form of strangers on the plane who wanted to play with baby Gus. This in itself was brilliant but I soon realized that I shouldn’t underestimate their stupidity. On the longest leg of our trip a kind woman volunteered to play peek a boo with Gus. I was grateful that she kept him entertained for as long as she did which meant that I could somewhat chill. But then she decided it would be a great idea to let him play with her cup of rum and coke which ended with all of us covered! For the rest of the journey I smelt like an alcoholic whilst Gus has a similar scent to a homeless person.
- Not all babies fit in plane cots – When your baby resembles that of a small elephant you soon realise that they aren’t going to fit into the small plane cots. My advice is to ask at check in whether there are any rows with a spare seat in the middle or get ready to beg someone on the plane to change places. Having an extra seat in between us for the baby to sleep on made the difference between keeping our sanity and losing our shit!
- Sleep when the baby sleeps (just not at the same time) – This is a lesson we unfortunately learnt not once but 3 times! When Ric and I accidentally dosed off at the same time we were swiftly woken by a scream from Gus who had rolled onto the floor. I’ll admit we put a pillow down after the first incident but I don’t think we will be winning any parent of the year awards.
- Don’t fret (you’re not alone) – Before we left I was quite nervous about travelling with a baby for such a long stretch of time as I’d never done it before. I kept thinking what if I’m that unlucky bugger who has the screaming child the entire flight. As soon as I got on our different flights and saw other couples with babies I felt at ease. We looked at each other and exchanged sympathetic smiles secretly thinking, “please don’t let my child be the one that everyone hates!” As I was pacing the isles at crazy o clock with a baby that didn’t want to sleep and saw other zombie parents I knew I wasn’t alone and we were banned together in our pain.
Much like all of parenthood travelling with a baby (especially over a 24 hour period) will deprive you of sleep, test your patience, confuse your body clock and generally exhaust you but it’s not all bad because there’s an end goal.
This trip has reminded me a bit of child birth, it’s long and painful whilst you’re in it but it ends and what you’re left with is a new experience and an adventure to look forward to.
For all those parents, out there who have survived a long-haul trip with a baby whether it be by plane, car, boat or train I salute you and invite you to raise your hands in the air and repeat these words with me….