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How do you fly solo with toddler, stroller and luggage?

(27 Posts)
OneLittleBabyTerror Wed 11-Jul-12 11:14:58

I'm sure some of you have done it, but I just can't imagine how.

An opportunity has come up for me to go to Spain for a weekend break later this year. I'll need to fly solo with my DD who will be 19mo. We haven't booked it yet, because I'm struggling to see how I can get to the check-in desk with her, a stroller, a large piece of luggage, and maybe even a carseat. (It'd be easy once I checked in). I don't have 4 hands to push both stroller and the airport trolley. And I can't remember the trolleys having somewhere to sit a toddler.

OP’s posts: |
beanandspud Wed 11-Jul-12 22:38:01

It is possible but you look like a packhorse!

Toddler in buggy, push with one hand and drag wheely bag behind you. Car seat was in a travel bag over my shoulder, hand luggage under buggy.

If toddler walking then trolley with all bags on (and folded buggy). Slower pace but easier. If desperate sit toddler on trolley handle and hold on tight (probably not recommended but if desperate...)

Park as close to terminal as possible even if you have to pay a bit more.

Accept all the help you get offered!

tacal Wed 11-Jul-12 22:49:15

I wasnt brave enough to do it when my ds was younger. He is 3.5 and it is only now I feel ready to give it a try. I am sure it is possible and you will be fine. As you say it is only until you check in. Enjoy your holiday.

washngo Wed 11-Jul-12 22:59:18

You can do it, people will help you. Once bags checked in then that's out of the way. Take lots of snacks, when you fold the buggy you just need to do it one handed and hold onto your toddler with the other hand smile I regularly fly without dh when i go to see my family, last time I did it dd was 20 months and ds was 3.5, but I did it when she was a baby and he 20 months too. Look pitiful (it won't be hard) and look for likely helpers in the check in queue. I find mothers travelling with older children or teenagers are good, they usually say "I've been there" then help you down the stairs or whatever it is you need!

SooticaTheWitchesCat Thu 12-Jul-12 11:25:04

I did it a few times when my DD was little.

She was in the buggy, I had a case on wheels and the travel bag under the buggy. Check in the case then go to the gate and hand over the buggy.

At the other end I would go and get the buggy and then the case.

If you need help just smile and ask, there is always someone kind about.

Princessdivaaa Thu 12-Jul-12 11:39:30

it is manageable I fly solo quite often with my two kiddies (4 and 18months).

One in buggy, one holding the buggy.. Pushing the buggy dragging the suitcase and hand luggage underneath.. It's fine once bags are checked in..

The biggest problem I have is the other end when they won't/don't give your buggy bag until baggage collection.. I have to carry/drag walk slowly with the 18 month old.. Keep him still in one place, while one eye on the 4 year old and one eye on baggage!! Phew..

nothingoldcanstay Thu 12-Jul-12 11:55:11

I once got chatting to English woman who was going out to meet her Nepalese husband with their 5 young children in tow!
That was totally nails because we were chatting in Dubai airport as we had a 5 hour stopover (13 hour flight). I didn't think at the time but how she organised toilet runs, drinks and snacks is totally beyond me now.

NoComet Thu 12-Jul-12 12:08:56

Ensure your hand luggage is as bigger day sack as they will allow and don't fill it.

The nightmare is always, coats, cardigans, drinks, toys, things they buy in the shops after check in.

You absolute only want to have to worry about. Toddler buggy and case, extra junk is just too stressfull.

Cosmostocupcakes Thu 12-Jul-12 12:20:30

Fly quite often - you just get on with it grin how would you get to the airport - if getting a lift - they can park and help you to check in - you are only going for weekend? Mid size wheely suitcase pull behind and one hand on buggy with hand luggage on buggy - its only a short flight so no worries there! Car seat - are you hiring a car? Can this be included in car hire or if staying with friends/family can they see if they can borrow one or get a 2nd hand one locally and resell it? Hope it goes well!

BertieBotts Thu 12-Jul-12 12:24:05

Wrist strap for child! Or perhaps get an Ergo or a mei tai or similar carrier and stick her on your back out of the way. Backpack on your front if needed. Then mahoosive trolley for everything else.

Could you hire or borrow a car seat when out there? It's a pain she's in that middle stage as they're so hard to cart around.

OneLittleBabyTerror Thu 12-Jul-12 12:29:35

Thanks for all the tips. I haven't even thought about the crap toddler paraphilia I'll have to carry or buy after check in. Also haven't thought about the other side buggy-less.

I have my mind stuck on the luggage trolley, not sure why. It hasn't occurred to me to push buggy with one hand and pull a suitcase behind! As for the car seat, I'm really really hoping not to have to take it. It's for getting to the airport. It's complicated as I could reclaim some of the travel expenses, and usually that's a taxi ride. And we live over an hour away, so I'm not too happy to let DD ride carseat-less. We won't be hiring a car on the otherside. It's madness to carry it isn't it? I'll try to persuade them to pay for my mileage.

OP’s posts: |
Grumpla Thu 12-Jul-12 12:34:23

Ikea blue bag to carry car seat.

Push stroller with one hand, with carry-on bag on handles. Ikea bag over shoulder, drag suitcase.

If you look pathetic enough someone will usually offer to help but even if not, you only have to cope with journey from car to checking desk.

Ask to keep stroller until gate! Very useful if you have a bolter.

If toddler still sling-able and you know trolleys are close enough to where you are being dropped off then put everything including stroller on trolley, carry toddler in sling.

Lexilicious Thu 12-Jul-12 12:37:21

Get a four-wheely suitcase that you only need to guide along, not actually pull.

Buy a seat for your toddler so you get some sort of respite during the flight.

Get a little backpack for your toddler so they carry their own toys/books/snacks.

Good quality hand luggage for yourself, backpack style will definitely be best.

V slick changing kit - since only a couple of months old we have been using a large sponge bag as a nappy kit. You can get five nappies, a half full wipes pack, a bit of zinc cream in one of those travel cosmetics tubs from Boots (or small size Metanium/Bepanthen tube) and a handful of disposal bags in there.

You can buy nappies in Spain! smile Just make sure you know your Dd's size in metric.

Make the travel as much of the adventure as the part in Spain. Take twice as much time to get to and through the airport as you normally would - but take sandwiches and small water bottles from home to save money.

KristinaM Thu 12-Jul-12 12:49:45

It will be dont need a " large piece of luggage" for a weekend break!!!! Your toddler only needs a few changes of clothes, you can hand wash things if necessary, they dry in the nappies there. You just need one small bag to check. Take a lightweight stroller but make sure it reclines ( some of the umbrella kind dont)and sunscreen that you know is ok for your childs skin

Take snacks and a change of clothes for you BOTH in your hand luggage

Have a great time

mcfee Thu 12-Jul-12 13:10:11

Ring round taxi companies. A couple in our area can provide a car seat. Or would they store yours & bring it back to pick you up?

mrsmoodypants Fri 13-Jul-12 15:06:42

For a weekend away I'd take a rucksack rather than a case.

ClaireBunting Fri 13-Jul-12 15:20:43

Take only what you need. You can buy things like disposable nappies and toiletries at your destination.

For a weekend, pack it into a small rolling suitcase.

Keep DS in his stroller for as long as possible, then transfer him to a sling if you need to.

Use a small backpack for carry-on.

Wear a light jacket with generous pockets.

girlpilot Fri 13-Jul-12 15:24:04

I haven't flown, but I've taken dd on the train by myself with buggy and luggage a couple of times lately.
The trick was to take the biggest rucksack I could carry with all the clothes, keeping both hands free. Then as everyone else suggests - a smaller bag under the buggy or across the handles with changing things, toys, and food.
And it's true, people do help. Some folks grumbled when she got hot, frustrated and noisy, but most accepted it and a few joined in and played with her.

It might not work with flights, but travelling on the weekend when the trains and stations were very busy was far worse than during the week.
Travelling is by its nature transitory, try to focus on the holiday in between!

ClaireBunting Fri 13-Jul-12 15:32:27

I think flying is easier in that the first thing you do at the airport is check your suitcase. After that, it is pretty straightforward.

With a train, you are in charge of your luggage the whole time, including finding somewhere to stow it on the train.

I think it's a good idea to break the trip into small parts and just worry about the tough ones- getting as far as bag drop, the retrieving luggage from the carousel. If you think of the whole thing as being difficult, it might become overwhelming.

MyNewCatIsFab Fri 13-Jul-12 17:21:56

Might depend on the airline, or regulations may have changed because my children are older now, but I have kept them in a buggy right up to the door of the aeroplane and only handed it over to a baggage handler at that point.

We lived abroad and I flew home alone with my children at various ages. The way I dealt with it was the same as deciding on doing any activity with young children in tow. Decide whether you want to go or not, if you do then just find a way that works for you. Also echo what others have said. If all else fails ask for help at the airport. Before the taxi driver has left I would "accost" an airport employee and request help to reach the check-in desk ,smile broadly and show them your cute daughter and it's unlikely they'll refuse. If that somehow failed, or there was no one around I would just look for a likely passerby and ask, in my experience most people will help.

Apricot2 Sat 14-Jul-12 10:11:02

I flew to dublin with my 6mth dd last month and it was not as bad as I feared. My tip would be to skip the big wheelie case and bring as little clothes etc as you can get away with, essentially just bring a backpack changing bag (with some extra clothes etc for you both over the weekend) as hand luggage, check in the car seat and hopefully you can bring the stroller to the plane steps. People will help you (the man who waves in the plane with the paddles held my dd when I couldn't get the stroller unfolded with one hand). You can always buy a few things when you get there - a bit of a waste I know but better than a break down/broken back in the airport.

MumOfAPickle Sat 14-Jul-12 10:19:06

I did it with 9 month old & did what others have said re push buggy, pull suitcase. People will generally help. In terms of taxis its the norm round here (south east) that you put your carseats in taxi they store them while you're gone & then they're in the taxi when they come to pick you up on return. You'll probably have to strap it in though. I would say definitely don't travel with a carseat if you can avoid it. Just do it, you'll be fine & it'll be a lovely break - good luck!

SoldeInvierno Sun 15-Jul-12 18:55:23

I did it many times years ago. Always carried a rucksack rather than a suitcase. Big rucksack on your back, small rucksack on your front (kangaroo style), hands free to push pram.

lilacmamacat Sun 15-Jul-12 22:53:51

Hi. I haven't done this yet but am contemplating travelling shorthaul with my 16mo DS. I would say take a rucksack rather than a suitcase, and see if there are left luggage lockers at your airport - that way you can take the car seat to the airport but leave it there until your return. I think I might also contemplate taking a sling - it would fold up small but could be worn with a rucksack (although you might want to work on your back muscles first!). You could also hang a smaller (hand luggage sized) rucksack over the stroller handlebars.

lilacmamacat Sun 15-Jul-12 22:58:10

Oh, one other thing: what I didn't think about when we flew last year (DS was 3 months) was all the crap you keep in the buggy/stroller basket has to come out before the buggy goes into the hold. Which means you either need to keep your hand luggage half empty to take all the stuff, or you end up with two (or I think in our case, three) lots of hand luggage. Luckily the airline seemed pretty ok with this but if you're planning on flying Ryanair it might be a different story.

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