I am on the longest vacation of my life these days (my trip to India from US) and this vacation surely is teaching me so many things. From the time I planned to visit India I was very excited and nervous. The only reason for the nervousness was ‘I had to travel alone with a 15 month old for a 14 hour long flight’ and that too FIRST time. I made this decision by choice but the thought of being a parent of a crying child in a flight full of passengers was terrible.
But you always have to carry on .And you can, because you have to.
After travelling alone with my girl, I am more confident and afraid at the same time .It’s no walk in the park. Here is a list of what helped me survive my first solo international travel with a 15 month old:
- Bring your own snacks and food for baby: Besides the fact whether my airlines provide food for baby or not , I packed my own food and snacks for baby J. She is very choosy about flavors and that’s why I was not sure whether she will eat airline’s food or not. Not just food I brought 2 bottles of milk too and trust me I was so glad that I did so.
- New toys: Buying toys seems stupid when we know our kids will play with it only for few hours. But when you have to travel in a longggg flight and they don’t have so many options to pass their time, it’s a good idea to keep 2-3 small NEW (so they are not already bored with it) toys for them in your carryon bag or diaper bag. If your kid spent even half an hour with a toy, you won’t regret buying it.
- Empty Seat Next to me: When you have not booked a separate seat for your toddler and you found the seat next to you is Empty, You can’t feel lucky enough. In the starting hour of my flight I realized what a blessing this is. Baby J won’t sit on my lap at all. She was enjoying one complete seat and was jumping/standing on that.
- Kindness of people: Till the time I didn’t travel solo with a baby I never realized natural kindness of people around me. Your fellow passengers, staff and crew everyone becomes more helpful when they see a baby with you. I am sure if I am travelling with my husband I am not going to get so much help. My girl was playing with the person sitting next to me
and he responded with all the smiles and coos he can. So momma, If you are planning to travel solo, don’t say No to any help you get.
- Keep important things in carryon bag: I did some over packing for my carryon bags because I just didn’t want to miss anything. Imagine you are in the clouds and your baby needs her favorite blanket to sleep. What would you do? I just didn’t want to take any chance. With the diaper bag you are allowed for one more carryon bag in a flight for yourself. I filled that bag with all the things I needed (Or I thought will need) for my girl. Remember, people can help with all their kindness but you should be ready with all the resources when travelling in a long flight.
- Extra leg space in front of child seat: In international flights you have the option to book child seat (with some clauses about age and height of child) and bassinet for your baby. We were not able to use the bassinet because she was not fitting into it. But for child seats they have extra leg space. We used that space for her walking, standing, and putting my important stuff right next to me and for her sleeping too. So make sure you book the child seat even if you think your baby won’t fit into the bassinet.
- Downloaded Videos in phone: Ok, I am a mommy who allows her baby to watch videos in phone (sometimes). I downloaded her favorite videos (including the lullaby she listens when sleep) and when nothing worked, it helped me. So if you are in the same category of mom like me then use this tip and make sure you have downloaded some videos in your phone.
- Candies to chew during takeoff and landing: To save them from ear pressure that build up during takeoff and landing, it’s important that they keep chewing something. You can use ear buds for kids too but this doesn’t work with my super excited girl. I brought some candies and lucky me that she survived the takeoff and landing.
Flying solo with a baby isn’t easy but it can be done if you are aware of challenges and fully prepared to face them. When I landed I was exhausted but felt like a supermom. Though I don’t want to do it alone again but I am confident that I can do and it can be done. Have you ever travelled solo with a baby? What helped you to survive that long journey? Share in comments below.