Flying SOLO with a baby
Plan well in advance.Don’t leave anything until the last minute. Prepare a packing list, several weeks in advance. Start piling up the clean, ironed clothes for both of you on the spare bed or on a large towel in your bedroom. Try and take the minimum for both of you, as where you are going probably has a washing machine. Here are some important things to remember:
- THE ESSENTIALS -
Baby milk formula
Sterilising tablets plus plastic container to use for sterilising
Disposable nappies for the first two days (you can buy them in the localsupermarket)
Nappy sacks – many countries do not have these
A really good nappy cream like Sudocrem – just in case!
Suntan cream and total sunblock for your baby
Brimmed sun hat
Long sleeved tee-shirt for your baby when they go swimming
Some juice granules as your baby will get extra thirsty as flying is dehydrating
Some sachets of your baby’s favourite meals
Baby cutlery and disposable bibs
Teething gel – just in case
Wet weather gear
Small bag of washing powder – for emergenciesIn a separate pile, you need to gather what items you will need for the flight:
Loose change in your destination currency
Sachets of baby food
Nappies plus nappy sacks
a packet of baby wipes
Toys (a new little toy can be fun or remove one of their toys at home a weekbefore you travel so that there is a happy reunion between your baby and
their toy onboard!
How are you going to transport your baby?If you have an ergonomically designed baby carrier, this will be perfect for your whole trip. You can easily carry your baby around and still have spare hands. Your baby is likely to be much more settled in the carrier as they will be nestled into you – airports can be frightening places for babies, all the lights, noise and people staring at them – scary!
If you are confident of using the baby carrier you will probably decide that you do not need to take a stroller which can make life a great deal easier. If you decide that you need to take a car seat, these can usually be checked in free of charge – check well in advance
Build in plenty of ‘wiggle room’You need to do this for every stage of your journey because there can be unexpected hold ups. You will find that people you meet along the way, really care that you are flying solo and you will get offers of help – if you don’t, then just ask someone to help you with your bag or whatever.
These are the places where timing will matter:
The trip to the airport.Don’t leave the minimum amount of time to get to the airport as it only takes a road accident for the traffic to come to a standstill. When is your check-in time? Does it coincide with a weekday rush hour? Is it on a Friday afternoon? Remember many people leave work early on a Friday.
Will you be parking in the hotel car park? Have plenty of cash with you – they are expensive! If not, do you know for sure that they take debit/credit cards?
At the AirportAim to get to the airport at the start of the check-in time – an amazing number of people do not get there on time. The departure gates close 30-45 minutes before the departure time.
Reward yourself with a truly indulgent coffee because you deserve it! If you need to freshen up, use a couple of baby wipes, they do the trick beautifully!
When your flight gate is announced, head for the gate straight away because it often takes a good five - ten minutes to reach the gate. If you are travelling with a toddler who wants to walk, this will take ages!
Once you are at the gate, take the opportunity to use the toilets/ changing facilities as they are much easy than those on the aircraft. To use the changing mat in a cabin toilet involves some serious limbo dancing as it is verges on impossible!
Listen carefully for your flight announcement because those travelling with young children are often boarded first.
When you find your seat onboard, sit in it with your baby on your lap – and fingers crossed that the next seat may be empty as this will give you both much more room!
When the flight is taking off and landing, give your baby something to suck such as some juice, your clean knuckle or a baby soother as your baby’s ears could hurt for a few moments.
When the aircraft lands, just stay where you are and let all the rush go. Once things have calmed down you can get your bag, pop your baby in the carrier and glide down the aircraft steps like a film star – and so you should as you have just completed your first flight very successfully with your baby….