We are currently on our way back home after a two week stint in Iceland with Ava. It has been an awesome, fun-filled two weeks and during this time we’ve been working on collecting our thoughts and tips to remember for future trips with baby. Here are my top tips:
#1) Be Prepared
This seems pretty obvious. Of course you should be prepared. But really, think through every possible disaster situation that could happen and pack accordingly. For us on this trip, this mostly meant enough diapers and wipes, but it also meant multiple extra changes of clothes for blow-outs, which did happen.
#2) Work in shifts and as a team
There were several situations on this trip that it worked best for Daniel and I to take shifts with Bobo so the other could do an activity. The first time we tried this out was at the Blue Lagoon. Daniel took Ava and I took a dip, then I took her while he got his soak on. We also did this for museum trips, as well as some times during the day when I needed to get studying done, or he needed to get work done.
In addition to this I think the “work as a team” piece is really important. Traveling with a little baby is not all rainbows and unicorns. Since you are not at home you also do not have your comforts at home and this can induce stress. Your significant other is the easy scapegoat for stressful situations, but stressful situations are so much easier to deal with as a united front.
This is a top priority for sure. As I just mentioned, traveling with a baby can really rev up stressful situations at times. For example, huge blowouts, crying fits on the airplane, crying fits in the car… it is much easier to deal with these situations if you can laugh at them.
#4) Don’t schedule too much
The one really important thing to keep Ava sane and happy was to make sure she got enough naps, especially with the crazy time zone changes. We usually did about one big thing per day, which sometimes felt like really taking it easy compared to our previous mode of travel where we would have packed it in. But, it was really nice to take a little slower pace and appreciate the little things which we may not have noticed before.
It was especially nice that we didn’t have too much planned on the first couple of days, since it took a little while for Ava to get used to the time zone change.
#5) Don’t pack light
This seems counterintuitive, but packing light is not a good idea. We packed tons of clothes for Ava, but we were already in dire need of laundry after a week. I also thought I packed enough diapers and wipes, but I definitely did not. We also brought the car seat and her portable crib. It seemed a good idea to not bring the portable crib because it is heavy, but it was SO worth it to bring it. She sleeps much better in her own bed, and so do I.
#6) Spring for the Lounge
We were flying Delta for this whole trip and have had killer layovers at JFK both ways. Eight hours to kill with a baby OMGOMG!!!! We have paid for the Delta Sky Lounge both times, which is $30 a person. It is SOOOO worth it. It is a quiet place where you can spread out. Ava can play on a blanket on the floor. I can nurse her without a zillion people around. The bathrooms are clean and nice and comfortable. Water, snacks, coffee, etc are included. Totally worth it. It is air conditioned. There are even showers (which we didn’t use)! Totally, totally worth it to be comfortable with baby.
*Most people love babies. I had the fear of God in my before our flights that she would cry the whole time. She was fine and most people around us on the plane thought Ava was so cute and asked how old she was, etc… This was pretty much true of the whole trip – most people just wanted to look at her and smile, instead of give us dirty looks. That being said, so far (knock on wood) she has been really great on planes and hasn’t given people much reason to give her dirty looks.
*Caffeine is your best friend. If you can travel with a 3-month-old baby without caffeine, more power to you.
*The Ergo carrier is your other best friend. Like BFFs forever.
*One thing I noticed is that traveling with a baby, or even just having a baby changes my outlook a lot. Pre-Ava, if I would have gotten a horrible night’s sleep and known I had a full day activity planned ahead, I would have been in a crabby mood. Getting a bad night’s sleep has happened to me multiple times on this trip. I wake up and say, “Damn”, then I smile because I have my Bobo. I also think, for the sake of Ava and of Daniel, it is necessary that I am high energy and at least convincing myself that I can take on whatever obstacle comes at me. You don’t really get to have off, crabby days with a baby, and that is actually kind of a cool thing.