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Last minute plans to fly to USA with DS (8m) by myself - what do I NEED?

(37 Posts)
FlingonTheValiant Mon 20-Jun-11 08:34:23

I'm getting tickets today to leave on Thursday am.

I know I need a visa waiver, does DS need one too?

Travel insurance - can I get a policy that cover me and DS, (or even the family)?

I've heard mentioned before that if only one parent is taking the child out of the country you need a letter from the other parent giving you permission, is that true?

Also, my passport is in my maiden name and DS has DH's surname - do I need to take proof that we're actually related?

I'm not taking a pushchair, I thought a sling would be easier, and friends are borrowing me a car seat, or buying a Walmart special. Is there anything else that will make my life much easier please?

Thanks very much! smile

I'm in such a flap about it.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 20-Jun-11 09:38:46


I take it that you are both British citizens. The ESTA usually needs to be applied for no later than 72 hours before travel. Your DS will also need the ESTA completed. There is now a charge for this; $14 per application made.

Travel insurance can be obtained to cover the whole family.

Letter re travel should be ideally notarised by a Solicitor. You should also take proof that you and DS are related (would take long version birth certificate).

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 20-Jun-11 09:39:53

Same with the API (Advance Passenger Information. This also needs to be completed prior to travel, this is usually completed via the airline's website).

FlingonTheValiant Mon 20-Jun-11 10:35:19

Ok, two ESTAs applied for and approved.

If I get travel insurance for the family does it matter if we're not all travelling (DH and I had individual policies before).

I can't get to a solicitor at this point. How desperate is that?

I'll take birth cert and marriage cert plus letter.

The airline says you can do API with online check-in.

Thanks so much for your help!

FlingonTheValiant Mon 20-Jun-11 10:52:29

Scrap the insurance question, I've got it sorted.

FriskyBivalves Mon 20-Jun-11 11:03:45

Having done this with a baby of similar age I would def urge you to take buggy... Slings great for actually getting on the plane but once you're on holiday it's a nightmare If you can't ever put the baby down. Unless you can borrow one? Cheap strollers that you might buy over there aren't often suitable for young babies, even if they claim they are for six months-plus. The airline will let you keep buggy right up to moment of getting on plane - useful for carting last-min duty free and hand luggage- and if it's a jumbo and your buggy isn't some vast bugaboo style thing they will sometimes find room in a wardrobe for it so it doesn't have to go in the hold.

Don't panic! all the airline staff are lovely when you travel with a baby ime. The immigration official even let us jump the enormous queue at JFK! Don't overload on nappies/wipes etc as so bulky and heavy and much cheaper in lovely tempting us pharmacies!

Which airline are you on?

FriskyBivalves Mon 20-Jun-11 11:10:17

Oh and watch out for customs officials looking for food being imported into the us. They take an incredibly dim view of any fresh fruit/veg and possibly even dairy products coming in - but somehow I managed to go past a whole load of warning posters without linking ALL FRUIT TO BE DISCARDED with my dd's little emergency snack banana. I seem to remember that her bottle of milk was also confiscated and they told me to go to Starbucks once I'd gone thru. They were in fact perfectly civil about it all but did go through all my luggage very carefully looking for evidence of further rogue peaches or petits filous etc...sigh...

FlingonTheValiant Mon 20-Jun-11 11:13:17

Virgin, so that I could fly direct <heaves sigh of relief>

My friends mum is emailing round their friends and family to try to borrow a buggy, as well as crib and car seat etc. I'm going to call on Wednesday night and if they haven't found one I might grab the Maclaren, thanks for the tip! I had planned to buy a cheapy over there but if they're unlikely to be suitable it's not worth it.

Really hoping the staff are nice, I'm worried about needing the loo and having to manage in the tiny loo whilst holding DS. Do you think they'd just watch him for me?

I'm only taking nappies etc to last the first night/day, until we can head to Safeway.

FriskyBivalves Mon 20-Jun-11 11:13:18

Oh and finally, i have never had a notarized letter saying my husband is happy to let dd travel. Never been asked about it either. I think if you have a retn ticket they not too fussed.

FlingonTheValiant Mon 20-Jun-11 11:14:57

Oh, good point. I'm planning to take a ton of snacks as DS is dairy intolerant, so I'm not sure I'll be able to give him the plane food. I'll make sure I scoff leave any fresh stuff before we get off the plane.

FlingonTheValiant Mon 20-Jun-11 11:15:45

Phew! I'll take a letter just in case, but that's a relief!

Thanks so much for all your advice smile

mummytime Mon 20-Jun-11 11:18:52

Buggy's cost more in the US usually.
Do be careful about the liquids limit.

exexpat Mon 20-Jun-11 11:19:58

Can I just give you my standard flying-with-baby tip, which is to take an inflight change of clothes for yourself (just t-shirt & leggings or something that is small and easy to pack) as well as for the baby - sitting around in sicky clothes for 6/8/12 hours if the baby throws up on you at the beginning of a long-haul flight is not nice. Speaking from experience here....

Also take a bunch of large ziploc bags for putting any sicky/pooey/wet clothes in so that they don't leak all over the rest of your stuff.

FlingonTheValiant Mon 20-Jun-11 11:23:46

Thanks mummytime, looks like the Maclaren might go after all.

I'm not planning to take any liquids with me, I can't face the thought of having to taste DS's dairy-free fish-flavoured milk <vom>

exexpat - I hadn't thought about a change for me, great idea! Clothes and bags are on the packing list.

What are the chances of an 8m old sleeping for at least some of the flight?

Also, any jet lag tips for him please?

FriskyBivalves Mon 20-Jun-11 11:26:18

Virgin staff will be wonderful. See if they can offer you a bulkhead seat with bassinet option so if you need the loo you can always leave him in there for a few mins - but ime a lot of their cabin crew jump at the chance of a sneaky hold wink

My other toppest tip is to go online and order some kind of special meal -'maybe veg or low-salt. What that means is that you will be brought your meal first and can often have polished most of it off before they come down the aisles with everyone else's. Then simply pass your tray and all the gubbins of empty containers back to them as they serve fellow passengers.

That way you can get rid of your tray table and have your lap relatively free (am guessing you don't have a seat for ds??). Otherwise it can take up to an hour to get shot of the meal detritus! Also soooo much easier if next seat is occupied if only one of you is eating at the same time - all those elbows flailing and cutlery - or worse - being dropped on neighbours' trousers etc shock

Virgin staff brilliant about coming up and offering extra drinks and snacks knowing that you can't easily get your own stuff out of bags/overhead lockers etc

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 20-Jun-11 11:26:58

I would still take a letter from your H giving his permission for you both to travel (have his contact numbers on that letter as well) bearing in mind that your passport is in your maiden name and your DS has yours H's surname. Also carry the long version of your DS's birth cert.

Do not bring any uneaten fruit into the US; leave it on the plane!!. Do not rely on the airline to fully provide re foodstuffs for baby; bring your own and some food for yourself (airline food can be second rate).

Certainly would second the tip re change of clothes for both you and baby.

Try to do the API for both of you asap (you don't have to wait until you check in online); this is because all that information gets sent over to the US in advance of the plane departing the UK.

Hope it all goes well for you both on Thursday!.

FlingonTheValiant Mon 20-Jun-11 11:27:30

Although, I can get this for £25 which is tempting. It does actually recline, and I'd really rather not have to manage the buggy as well.

FriskyBivalves Mon 20-Jun-11 11:30:38

He should sleep for quite long chunks. You know about pressure hurting ears so good if he can be drinking on take off and landing?

Vg tip about change of clothes for you plus ziploc bags. Why did I once decide to fly in a white T shirt???? was covered with any amount of random and pungent stains by the time we'd pushed back from the gate!

FlingonTheValiant Mon 20-Jun-11 11:31:00

Ok, so order a bassinet and a low salt meal. And take food. Although I'm a bit worried that I don't have time to order special stuff. Maybe if I phone it won't be so much of a problem.

Thanks again everyone smile

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 20-Jun-11 11:31:08

I am old enough however, to remember what VA were like when they started 25 years ago; they were indeed ahead of the competition. Now they are not due mainly to tight profit margins and overall cost cutting across their airline.
Also they seem to only do one drinks run these days with the meal; if you need another drink you need to go to the galley and attract their attention.

FlingonTheValiant Mon 20-Jun-11 11:36:51

Ok, might buy water and juice once I'm through security.

cookcleanerchaufferetc Mon 20-Jun-11 15:26:30

Have you requested a sky cot with virgin? Might get bulk head seats too.

cookcleanerchaufferetc Mon 20-Jun-11 15:30:57

There are always staff to get you drinks if you ask but do buy a bottle or two of water for taking off and waiting etc.

Have you got money?! Driving licence - both parts. Camera, camcorder, mobile phone with roaming switched on, phone and camera chargers, magazine for flight, sucky sweet for take off, something for baby to suck for take off and landing, copies of passport and esta.

cookcleanerchaufferetc Mon 20-Jun-11 15:32:16

Presents for people you are staying with ... Chocs and biscuits?

cookcleanerchaufferetc Mon 20-Jun-11 15:32:35

One last thing .... You need ME!!!,

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