Monday, October 17, 2011

Tips File: Flying alone with a toddler


Ok, so I thought that before sharing my Odyssey I should point out how I prepared myself and got organized to fly from Toronto (Canada) to Kone (New Caledonia). Since I knew in advance that I was flying sans husband on our way back, I really paid attention on our way to civilization on what worked out, what not, and what I could do to make the experience easier for me.

I'm not an expert but this definitely made it easier for me and Matthew, I mean, despite still singing in my head "Hot Dog" from Mickey Mouse Club, I managed to remain somewhat sane. Just excuse the length of it, I tried to keep it short ;)

1. Prepare yourself mentally to take it easy, don't stress out and keep calmed. There is no point on stressing out as this won't change the fact that you are traveling alone. --> I didn't let any small (or big) thing get me, patience, patience, patience.
2. Instead of using your usual travel tote or handbag, get a backpack with lots of compartments to help you keep everything handy and organized. I know your regular bag probably has lots of compartments but I'll explain later on why the backpack is key. I got this one and it was perfect.
3. Go to the bank and get $25 in bills of $5 to pay whoever helps you with your suitcases. --> I folded each bill and kept them in my jean's front pocket for easy access.
4. Pack enough snacks for your little one.  --> I packed grapes, a banana, goldfish crackers, arrowroot cookies, and water. I also packed 3 empty bottles and enough formula for 3 days (he has 2 bottles a day but you never know when and for how long you can get stranded).
5. Make sure you have a variety of kids TV shows and movies on your devices. And fully charge them.
6. Pack a spare T-shirt and pants for your little one. --> I packed a tee and sweatpants for Matthew and a spare top for me. Don't forget to bring your earphones (avoid paying $3!)
7. Dress comfortably. I wore these jeans, a similar shirt, these flats in a moss color, and my favorite infinity scarf.
8. Put a hoodie on your little one. This way you can grab the hood for more control while he walks around (he will barely notice it).
9. Pack enough pacifiers and blankies or whatever keeps your baby calmed. --> I packed 5 pacifiers (lost one) and two blankies.
10. Use all the help available and pay whoever you need to (when it applies of course) --> I Payed the taxi driver $5 for helping me with the suitcases and $20 to the guy who carried and stayed with my suitcases and by my side all the way to the security check point (he stood by my side for almost 40 minutes, plus he got me to check in at the business class counter!)
11. At the security check point, put the stroller first. That way it will be the first thing to come out and you can strap your toddler and focus on getting everything else (shoes, laptops back in their cases, etc).
12. Take your time! Don't worry about taking too long to get through, just do one thing at a time.
13. Identify your gate and leave your stroller on a corner with little people around it. Then unleash your little demon and let him/her run and play until is time to board. This is why you need a backpack, it's so much easier to follow someone when there is nothing on your way and your hands are free. --> For me, the more energy he uses before the flight, the less he'll have on the plane. Letting your toddler run and play before getting on the plane is crucial!
14. Change his/her diaper right before boarding.
15. Make sure you have an umbrella stroller to be able to check at the gate. --> I have this stroller and love it.
16. Repeat #11 while on transit.

Good luck!
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