Hello, dolls!! Hello, weekend! <3 Less than 3 months left and I will be on my way to the Philippines…with my kids! Am I worried about the flight? A little I would say. Some of you might think I am being too facile about this, but after traveling 36 hours with little A when he was 6 months old, I feel optimistic about our upcoming trip with baby C! Traveling with a baby is A LOT of work and exhausting — if you hate packing, you will hate it even more once you have kids! Luckily, I enjoy packing so this does not bother me at all.
Anyway, A and I have been traveling internationally with little A since he was 6 months old. Believe me, when I say, I will do it over and over again because the flight does not bother me. Maybe I am lucky that my little one is a good traveler or the fact I prepare for our trip like it’s the armageddon.
- Get Baby’s Passport Done (and visas ready if necessary).
Before you book anything, make sure you have your baby’s passport in hand. This is a common mistake that most travelers tend to overlook. Not only is the agony of waiting very stressful, but it is best to avoid any rebooking fees.
I was guilty of this last year when we went to London. I did not anticipate that my visa would be delayed. I literally got it 24 hours before our trip and I remember being so stressed all week!
2. Toy Story
Entertainment for kids is important when traveling. They get bored easily and it almost feels like their energy never runs out. It would be helpful to have their favorite toys in your carry on for whenever they need them. I know “every toy” is their favorite, so pick the ones that are not too heavy and bulky to have room for other things that are more important.
3. Baby Gear
If you think lugging along 2 big suitcases is hard, imagine how overwhelming it is to travel with a car seat and stroller. Consider checking in your stroller and car seat at the gate. You might be the annoying parent at the security line because of all the stuff you have to put on the belt but to me, it’s all worth it! I like to use our stroller as my bag helper. Instead of carrying at least three bags (diaper, cooler bag for milk, and my personal bag) I have a durable bag hook that I use so it will be easier for me to go around the airport without hurting my shoulders! 😛
Car seats are also important when traveling with a baby. It is best to know about your destination’s law about car seats to know what you have to prepare for prior to your flight. You might also want to look into renting a car seat when you arrive at your destination if that would make the flight easier for you and your baby.
Another piece of baby gear that I’ve seen from other parents when traveling is a baby carrier. Though this is something that A and I don’t use when we go on a flight with little A, I believe that it’s very helpful! In fact, my sister did that when she traveled from the US to the Philippines with my niece earlier this year. It’s probably best for infants since they feel comfortable being held most of the time.
4. Bring Extra Outfits
Spit ups and poop throughs are no fun and unfortunately, it’s pretty inevitable with a baby. Having an extra outfit with you in case this happens will be very helpful. I like to put in our carry on bag so it’s accessible.
As much as I love dressing up my babies, the best extra outfit to pack for your flight is a footsie pj! It’s easy to put on/take off and keeps baby warm since it can get pretty cold once you’re up in the air. Call me crazy but I had three extra outfits for little A when we went to the Philippines. One outfit for every stop! It may be over the top but I am the kind of Mom who says “just in case” (a lot) when packing.
5. Layover- Prepare for the next flight
I know, I know! You just got off the plane and all you want to do is to take a breather. But rushing yourself the last minute is just as bad as sitting next to a snorer. Before I wander around the airport, I try to do little things like moving things to our main carry on bag. If we used an extra outfit or used a bottle for feeding, I transfer it to another bag that we do not intend to open during the flight to avoid clutter.
This is the best time to change baby’s diaper. Restroom cubicles on the plane are really tight and gross if I am being honest. If you are lucky, you wouldn’t have to deal with that with your baby. There’s more space in family restrooms at the airport..and much cleaner too!
Tip: To save time, go to the service center and ask all of the spots you intend to go to at the airport. Most of the time, family/nursing rooms are in certain areas only.
6. Layover – Start Your Food Adventure
If you have enough time to go around before your next flight, do it! A lot of airports now have exciting things to see or try. One of my favorite airports is Changi Airport. I’ve been to Singapore multiple times so when I saw our layover will be there, I got really excited!
Our vacation starts at the airport! I am the kind of traveler who gets satisfaction being at the airport. I like to go around and eat! If I know I have 15 minutes to spare before check-in, I will be somewhere buying food!
Singapore Milk Tea
A must when going to Singapore!! Creamy broth with seafood and thick noodles. YUM!
Another must when in Singapore. The soft texture of the chicken steamed to perfection gives me nostalgia of eating lunch at hawkers with my family.
Anyway, this motivated A to go to Changi Airport’s food court. One of the best airport food courts in the world 😛 I love how we did not have to leave the airport to try authentic Singaporean food!
Roasted Duck Breast
German Weiner at Frankfurt airport. As much as possible I prefer nonstop flights, but if the layover is somewhere with delicious food to try, I wouldn’t mind!
Chocolates from Germany!
Remind yourself that this trip is not about being your baby’s personal assistant. Think about yourself too and do little things that would make you happy with the time that you have.
6. Have A Positive Attitude
Don’t let the exhaustion and anxiety take over. Having a positive attitude will help you stay focused on having a pleasant trip with your baby. Remember, your baby can feel when you are stressed so try not to overthink what could go wrong.
Just think about the free perks when traveling with your baby! Like early boarding and being able to bring bottled water in the airport 😛
…and know it’s okay to unwind!
7. Pack Snacks
Babies get tired and hungry too! How they are going to be while traveling is pretty unpredictable so it is best to have something in your carry on bag they can munch on. Most airlines give free baby food which is awesome! These are some of the baby food Singapore Airlines gave us during our flight from New York to Manila.
Snack alert for parents: FITCRUNCH Cheddar Cheese High Protein Puffs
I am all about healthy snacks! I tend to feel guilty when we travel because I end up buying unhealthy snacks. Traveling with Little A inspired me to find better options for us and luckily, FITCRUNCH is now on the market! I love how FITCRUNCH is made with simple ingredients. Each pack is filled with a good amount of crunchy puffs and it doesn’t take up too much space in my bag. WIN!
8. Breastfeeding When Traveling
I exclusively pump so packing my breastfeeding supplies was another task in itself. Since I wasn’t sure if I would have an outlet for my pump I decided to bring my manual pump with me — which Mommas who pump would understand is a lot of work. I was also concerned that my electric breast pump would be too loud for the other passengers so it wasn’t really an option for me to use during the flight.
The first thing you have to think about when pumping multiple times during your travel is sanitation. How do you keep everything safe from bacteria? Since I knew I might not have enough time to wash all of the parts of my breast pump, I decided to bring extras. I counted how many times I would have to pump during my flight. If you think you will have time (and you trust the water on the plane — go for it and bring a small bottle of bottle soap with you).
To me, this was the most important item on my packing list. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to supply enough milk during our trip so I wanted to bring some of my frozen milk in case Little A would need them.
Before you start grabbing your breastmilk, understand that there are risks when doing so. The main one is going through security. It is best to call all of the airports that will involve security checks in your itinerary and ask about their regulations about hand-carrying breastmilk. Some airports are very strict about this and I read horror stories from other Moms about security asking them to dump their breastmilk. When we flew out of New York, the security asked me to open a bag of breastmilk for them to check. It added at least 20 minutes to our pre-boarding process. So if you plan to travel with breastmilk, be there early! NOT 2 hours before your flight. I think it also helped that Little A was with me so they did not really ask a lot of questions.
Packing your breastmilk is crucial too. You do not want to risk the temperature to go down and force you to dump your liquid gold. I had a large traveling cooler bag from Ameda which was very helpful! I put freezer packs on every side (including top and bottom) to make sure Little A’s breastmilk would stay cold. We traveled for 36 hours and this method actually worked great! My breastmilk was still a little frozen when we arrived in Manila.
If you ever need to warm up a bottle of milk for your little one, ask for a cup of hot/warm water from your flight attendant.
10. The Little Things
Comfort is number one for me! Although it leads me to overpack most of the time, I make sure I have everything to make me and my family comfortable when traveling.
It is helpful to bring some of these items… “just in case” (in a travel size of course!)
Dish/bottle soap – for baby’s bottles, medicine for the baby like Tylenol, body wash if you plan to clean baby, and lots of patience! 😛
11. Baby Cot
One of the most convenient ways to travel with a baby is to reserve a baby cot. Not all airlines offer this so when I was booking our flight to Manila, this was one of the things I looked for.
Not only did it help A and I to feel comfortable during our long flight, Little A snoozed like he was in his crib! He had his own space where he was able to stretch and lay on his back. Our arms did not hurt from holding him for long hours or being in an awkward position.
12. Make Friends
Most of us know traveling with a baby is a nightmare for some passengers. I might just be really blessed with a good baby because Little A did not give us a hard time during our long travel to the Philippines. Prior to our flight, I planned to make an effort to talk to the person who will be sitting next to us and introduce Little A to make sure they are aware of how the flight is going to be with a baby next to them. It will also give them a chance to switch seats if they wish to.
During our flight to the Philippines, we were lucky to be seated next to an older lady who loved playing with Little A! She even offered to hold him while I was busy pumping and A was asleep.
After that trip, I realized that I should not worry about what other passengers might think. What’s important is the safety and comfort of my family. People can always adjust!
13. How To Avoid Crying
One of the best tricks I learned when traveling with a baby is to let them suck during take-off and landing. It helps their ears from the pressure and soothes them to sleep. Ever wonder why a lot of babies cry during this time? They are in pain, and it makes me feel bad whenever I hear that when traveling.
My favorite travel buddy <3