54 posts categorized "Travel"

Have Carseat, will it fly?

January 03, 2007

I know a lot of families may have been putting off travel for a while because they can't imagine doing so with small children, but not us!  This year we took our 3yr old and 2 month old back to Texas for the holidays, and the travel went really really well, I think.  We decided to forgo the stroller this time but the baby seat was essential, as nearly every destination within the Houston area is at LEAST a 30 minute drive from my parents' place.  They checked the car seat at the gate but I made sure to remove any of the loose items (head positioners, toys, etc).  We decided that if we needed to do shopping then we could just carry baby in a Baby Bjorn or Ergo, or even the sling.  Sarah asks another question though, as she needs to take a stroller AND a car seat:

Hi there I have a question about travelling these days. I called the airline and was only able to speak with someone in another country who had to put me on hold more than once to determine whether or not I could bring a sandwich or fruit and had no idea about the concept of gate checking a stroller (after more than 10 minutes on hold all we had established was that I could check it with checked baggage when I got to the ticket counter, not my question!). So I thought I would use the incredible resource of knowledge that Urbanmamas is...I have a stroller that I have gate checked in the past so I know that works, what I'm wondering is can one also gate check an infant carseat? Technically they don't fit together but I know some people use those, do they gatecheck the whole business?

I remember when my 3 yr old was a wee one and I didn't know about baby wearing, I believe I did check the stroller at the check-in and the car seat at the gate.  I have also checked a stroller only at the gate and not the car seat.  I don't think they'd mind checking both at the gate though.  It may even depend on the airline.  Has anyone ever checked 2 items at the gate.  Or worse, tried and been told you couldn't?

By the way, Sarah, the TSA didn't get the joke when they asked me to remove baby milk containers and I started to disrobe.  My husband quickly reminded me that they don't usually have the same sense of humor I do ;)

A tale of international travel with toddler in tow

July 07, 2006

Ethanairport_smFor anyone out there holding back from traveling overseas because of kids, I say GO! Go today! Book your tickets because the experience is well worth it. My husband, 25-month-old son and I just returned from a trip overseas. We are all alive to tell the tales, and the tales aren't nearly as bad as they could have been or as I was told they might be.

We started out with a quick three and a half hour flight to Dallas. No problem there. Our son was lovely and charming. Then we had a three-hour layover that turned into a six-hour layover which included boarding our plane, hanging out for about half an hour in our seats, and then deplaning and waiting for a new plane because ours had some sort of leak. Greaaaat. Our angel turned into Tantrum Boy while we were waiting but at least we were in the airport where we could move around and annoy different people instead of the same ones continuously. A lovely woman came over and gave him the happy meal toy that her daughter did not want. It was a car! Hooray for kind strangers. We finally boarded the plane and continued on our 10-hour flight to Zurich. For nine and a half hours, our little Boo was the perfect traveler, never leaving his seat, playing happily or sleeping. Then as we started to land, he decided he had had it. He screamed for about 15 minutes. I am sure our fellow passengers only remember the last 15 minutes and not the first nine and a half peaceful hours of the flight.

He took to the time change with no problem at all, sleeping and napping at what would be his normal times back home. He loved taking the trains from place to place, the lake, the kids who ran around him speaking different languages. He was a great little explorer and it was amazing to watch him experience new things in new places. He even started repeating some of the words back in Swiss German. We didn't go on as many long day trips to other countries or other parts of Switzerland as we would have had it been just my husband and I traveling, but we got to do so many other cool things we wouldn't have done without him being there with us.

Our flight back home was longer - 11 hours for the first leg of the trip, 4 hours for the last leg - and he was once again an angel for the entire first leg of the trip (11 hours!! We got lots of "I had no idea there was a baby there!" and "What a good traveler your son is!"). But then on the shorter 4 hour flight home, he had a tired little cry right as we started to walk off the plane. I must have looked like I was going to cry because a nice gentleman stopped and commented how great he was on the flight from Zurich since he had been seated near us on that flight. I am very thankful for kind fellow travelers.

What worked for us: getting our son his own seat, waiting to board until the last group is called, LOTS of new toys separated by type in large ziplock bags, books (the slim preschool-age reading books are perfect: light enough to pack a dozen of them), stickers, stickers, stickers (we got the slim books that had 500+ each in them), lots of DVDs and a DVD player that has a four-hour battery and not the short two-hour battery, lucking out by having a six-year-old girl sit behind him on the Dallas-to-Zurich flight who made him laugh and played peek-a-boo, lots of snacks (thank you, fruit leather!), water (they only came by twice on the long flights - wassup with that?), having the flight attendants refill his milk cup, pillows, our Combi Savvy Soho stroller (so easy to fold up and carry and to open) and just going with the flow while we were there and not forcing an itinerary when it didn't seem like something he would be up for. 

He was a lot easier to fly with as a baby on a quick flight to NYC, but we are glad that we took him on this adventure at this age. I love that he talks about some of the places we went, and things or people we saw. For us, the long 20-hour days of traveling were totally worth it. So take your toddlers overseas - I hope you all have a wonderful experience as we did!

Going on a trip

February 23, 2006

I'm packing stuff for my travels tomorrow.  The girls and I are going to meet Raph in Arizona, where he's been conferencing.  We prepared their backpacks: each one has the exact same items as the other.  In my head, I am thinking about how this will all logistically happen.  We have one rolly-polly luggage, a carseat, a booster, a Kelty pack, the stroller, then our individual personal items/carry-ons.  I guess I'll just strap all stray items onto the rolly-polly luggage.  In the back of my head, I am thinking: "If only I could strap the kids to the luggage too...."

Never fear, Tote-a-Tot to the rescue!  When I see the thing, I don't know whether to laugh, to cringe, or to thank heavens for my prayers have been answered.  It looks odd, and I don't think I'd want to strap my kid onto the suitcase due to ease of toppling.  Poor child, to be toppled then smothered by an overstuffed luggage!

What do you think?

A carseat in the cab?

December 19, 2005

We like to think we're seasoned travelers.  Now with two kids in tow, we have the whole thing down to a science.  The girls know when we hit the front of the security line, they need to take off jackets, empty pockets, take off shoes.  We aren't as quick as we like, but we still manage to do ok, considering....

We typically travel with the carseats (complete with its own carseat carrier bag where we can stuff our bulky coats and jackets to check-in during winter travels) unless we're sure we're staying in the city where we can take public transit or foot to all our favorite destinations.  We had our first daughter in nyc, and we practiced the common knowledge: "taxi cabs and buses are exempt from car seat laws."  I wish I could link to something that affirmed our belief.  For all I know, this could have been city urban myth.  Still, I believe other parent friends shared our belief.

Several years, another kid, and a coupla cities later, we still believe that taxi cabs are exempt from the car seat laws.  When we travel, if we expect to never set foot in a car aside from a cab to & fro the airport, we forgo packing the carseat.  And, that is travelling light.

Last weekend, we traveled to Philadelphia without carseats.  We arrived at midnight and were denied by the first two cabs who pulled up to us.  Cabbies would look at the girls and just drive past.  I was pretty darn shocked.  When we asked the attendant at the cabbie stand, she said, "Oh no.  You NEED car seats for the babies."  But.....  what about all that stuff how taxis are exempt?  The attendant said she'd call us a cab with car seats, but it could take 20 minutes.  A moment later, another cabbie drove up and said he'd take us downtown.  It was about 30 degrees and 12 midnight.  We hopped in and held onto each other.

So, what ARE the rules?  Of course we know that breast is best and carseats are also best.  When we travelled in Asia, where carseats are used only by royalty, our 4-month old sat happily on my lap.

And, oh, on a related topic - here are some tips on traveling with the tots from a previous post ....