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Traveling to States ALONE with 8 month old: Any tips to stay sane?

(6 Posts)
emmabemmasmom Tue 08-Jul-08 16:37:41


Unfortunatly, my grandparents are not doing well. I have been living in Scotland for over a year now and have not had the time, or money to come for a visit yet. Because of things going on back home, I would love to see them, possibly one last time, and also have everyone meet my daughter as nobody has been out here to see us either.

My DH suggested I go with DD since he cannot take time off work right now, and we only had enough in savings for me and her. So, we had to shell out our savings for this to happen last minute and I am leaving next Wednesday.

Already, this is not the 'dream vacation' because of the sad purpose of the visit, but I am excited to see everyone again and I feel it is important for my DD to meet my side of the family.

However, I cannot seem to get excited about this trip. Mostly the idea of traveling with DD alone for 12 hours is daunting. I have a seat for her, and a sky cot, but cannot carry a car seat with me as I am not an octopus.

Does anyone have any travel tips that may help??

Thank you for reading and sorry for the life story!!!

gillybean2 Tue 08-Jul-08 20:32:41

You'll be fine. The flight will be easier than you think. I took my ds to New Zealand when he was 2.5. He slept most of the way what with the droning of the plane and teh early morning start to get there and excitement of the airport and then the hanging around waiting...

Make sure you pack some favourite snacks. Don't rely completely on airline food. And don't be afraid to ask if you need anything. Even if it's just one of the air stewards to watch your ds while you nip to the loo. You will be allowed to board after 1st class and before the otehr passengers as you have a child. Be ready to go up to the gate when they call and get yourself settled and your bags organised before everyone else squashes on.

Does the flight you have booked have tv's on the seat backs? That will keep your ds occupied a little hopefully but the headphones can be a bit difficult. Also take some pens and paper or stickers to keep her busy but not too many toys as you end up having to carry them and most won't get used.

Will they have a car seat at the other end for you to use? You really should take yours or get them to find/hire/buy/borrow one.

Hopefully you have a suitcase with wheels so you can just pull it along while you push the buggy with the other hand, so much easier than carrying. I balanced my carry on on the top of the hood part but I had a fairly sturdy pushchair. You might want to think about using a backpack rather than a bag as it's one less hand you need to have.

One word of warning re your pushchair. If it has a clip lock don't lock it closed when you fold it down. They won't know how to open it and just force it (like they did with mine!) and break the lock.

Also you can take the pushchair right up to the gate, but they will want to xray it so you have to get your dd out of it for that, along with taking shoes off etc.

And you can only take very small quantities of drink, so look for juice cartons that meet the requirements or you'll have to bin them before you get on the flight and then be stuck with whatever you can find the other side. Give your ds something to drink during take off and landing, small sips, to stop her ears hurting. Sweets work too but drink can be easier for smaller children to keep them swallowing and balance out the pressure.

Try and enjoy it. Your grandparents are so lucky that they get to meet their grand-daughter. Some never do. I never got to meet my dad's parents. So take lots of photos and know that it's ok to cry; tears of joy and tears of sadness too.

angel1976 Wed 09-Jul-08 17:02:21

Just keep telling yourself it's only 12 hours of your life and imagine it to be the equivalent of a day with your DD at home. That helped for me!

Having said that (I just did 12.5 hours both ways alone with 4-month-old DS), it will be easier than you imagine on your DD but it is stressful for yourself as you are the only person looking after her. What I didn't realise was they insist on me taking DS out of the cot EACH TIME there is turbulence so prepare for that. I was not pleased that DS would be peacefully sleeping only for me to wake him up by taking him out of the cot repeatedly.

Passengers are generally very understanding and you will also realise that toddlers on the flight will be a LOT LOUDER than your DD.

Just take a deep breath and do it. 12 hours will not last forever and more likely than not, your DD will sleep through most of it and it will be the jet lag you will be cursing!

emmabemmasmom Thu 10-Jul-08 18:50:22

Thank you both for your replies!

I am already feeling calmer :-)

My mom has a carseat on the other side, and since I have a 3 hour lay over in Ireland, I would have to carry it around with me and that is not very reasonable.

I don't have a tv infront (although the thought is way cool) as we are in the bulk head but here is a tv somewhere which will play some goofy teen movie I doubt my DD will watch lol and she would probably rather eat the headphones than use them!

I am also happy that we are getting the chance to go over and I am getting excited. I know she will pick up on my stress so I need to calm down.

One tip I read said to get as much sleep as possible before you fly...yeah ok, how am I to do that with a DD that still wakes in the night? :-) Would be nice!

Thank you again. It means a lot :-)

LittleMissTickles Thu 10-Jul-08 18:58:45

Emmabemmasmom, it will be much easier than you think. If it's a day flight, you can play, night flight she will sleep. You need things for her to suck on for each take off and landing, as they don't know to swallow to 'pop' their ears, which can be painful. If she takes a dummy, that will work, otherwise a drink, may have to arrange with air hostess before take-off.

My other tip is to have a good comfortable sling or hip-carrier for her that you can use in airport, but especially on the plane if needed, will save your back! Remember spare set of clothes for both of you (in case she gets motion sickness...)

Wishing you a good trip, it really will be fine !

IwasFullofGrace Fri 18-Jul-08 02:33:12

I've just said basically the same thing in another thread....but HIRE. Everything! I have a 9month old who I travel overseas with on my own every 2-3 months (she has family o/s)....and I learnt really quickly that hiring is an amazing thing. If you look up children's hire equipment online, you'll find you have quite a bit to choose from. They hire everything from cots to carseats to toys to prams. It saves you from lugging it all through airports, checking it in and out if your luggage isn't going direct....and mostly it saves your sanity. It's also sometimes cheaper than the price of excess luggage anyway..

The spare set of clothes for both of you....BRILLIANT idea. My last trip, my dd got really sick and vomitted all over me, and herself. She had a change of clothes, I didn't. Needless to say...I smelt delightful for the rest of the trip.
Good luck!!!

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