Posts Tagged With: travel

Traveling with Tots


I’m a mom. wife, ex-doula, ex-teacher, ex-yoga-teacher, and current Health and Wellness Advocate. The truth is I still love all my “ex” jobs, but made some choices to be home with our two kids. My daughter is almost 2.5 years old. My son is 5.5 months, and we’ve lived overseas since before they were both born. My husband and I were born in America, but lived in Swaziland for 5 years. We have always loved travel, so traveling with kids was just a given. Since children were born, we did a lot of road trips to see other parts of Southern Africa, or flew transatlantically to visit family, take vacations, etc.

Flying with kids is no joke, but it’s also not as difficult as some may assume. Yes, every kid is different, but there are some general hacks that may travel with young ones easier.

Because I’ve flown to and from the USA several times with our kids, I have experience traveling with children aged 2.5 months, 3.5 months, 13 months, 15 months, and 5 months. My husband has solo traveled with our daughter at 27 months, so I’ve consulted him on some ideas.

By far, the easiest age to travel has been before 4 months of age! At this age, Baby sleeps most of the time, is flexible with nights and days, is usually only drinking milk, and sleeping locations are more flexible. When flying internationally, you can also get a bassinet for baby, so big win there. BIG win.

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Headed out for our 40+ some hours of travel. Asa was 4.5 months old.

Flying with Baby/Toddler Tips Internationally 

Cost: Children under 2 years fly free domestically, but very discounted internationally. Their fare is usually 10% of an adult ticket on the day the ticket is purchased. If you’re booking a ticket before the infant is born, you’ll need to phone back with birthday, child’s name, and gender once baby is born. The child’s ticket price will be 10% of an adult fare on the day it’s purchased (not 10% of your fare). If you want the child to have his/her own seat, you will pay about 80% of an adult fare. 

Seating: 

Infants Under 6 months: When traveling with a child under 6 months, you can request the bassinet seat. Bassinet seats attach behind the bulk head (think by the bathrooms, or after first class) to the wall. Bulk head seating has extra leg room, so it’s considered Economy Plus seating and usually costs extra, but with a child, it’s free! Have baby, will travel in luxury! Because of bassinets, I actually think traveling with an infant is easier than on my own! Who doesn’t want extra room to stretch out?

Rules (may vary between airlines, but in general): Infants must be under 10 KG (22 lbs), be unable to sit on their own (the more strict airlines like Lufthansa will not allow a child who sits to be in the bassinet).

How to Book: Book a ticket for all adults, other children, and any Lap Infants. You’ll need the Lap Infant’s name, gender, and birthdate at booking. When booking online, there’s no way to request a bassinet seat. As soon as you book, call the Airline’s Reservations number. You can request a bassinet.

Some airlines allow you request the bassinet seat months and weeks in advance (United, South African Airways are ones). However, some airlines (Lufthansa for one) only allow seat assignments for any Economy passengers 24 hours before check-in. That means no one gets an assigned seat in Economy until just before the flight. It’s harder to secure bassinets in this way, so I always book with airlines when I can secure a bassinet beforehand.

You’ll call the airline, request the bassinet, they’ll assign one if it’s available. Your seat assignment should reflect the bulk head position.

When flying a multi-leg journey, you’ll need to secure bassinet seating for each leg of your trip. If you’re flying with different carriers, you’ll have to contact the carrier of each leg to book the bassinet.

Listen! This may sound like a little hassle, but that extra room with be amazing! You’ll especially want this if your child sleeps independently. Holding even a 10 lb baby in your arms for 10 hours is exhausting. 

Even when my daughter was too big for the bassinet, I still requested it, and we got seated by the bulk head. During a mostly-full flight, we swapped our bulk head seating, for a row at the rear of the plane where we had 4 seats together. My husband and I book-ended my daughter & she was allowed to sleep on the 2 middle seats. Game changer for us since airlines don’t allow anyone to sit or sleep on the floor. (boo!)

Sleep: If at all possible, consider your take-off times and landing times. If you can, book a flight that leaves around or slightly before your child’s bedtime. You’ll board early, can feed them, put on pajamas, then hopefully as they take off, they’ll be lulled to precious sleep. If your child does not sleep well in other places, booking a day-time travel may be your best bet.

For jet lag:  All of the rules that apply for adults work for babies and kids, too. Eat meals at the “new time zone’s” time, but eat snacks when hungry. While adults may resist napping, I’ve found that letting my kids sleep whenever is better. However, I may wake them from a jet-lag nap around the same time they’d wake from a normal nap (no more than 2.5 hrs of napping).

Talk with your doctor, but we’ve used melatonin drops for our kids at different ages. Melatonin helps their bodies relax into sleep, but won’t necessarily keep them asleep. We gave this to our kids (with PA approval) both on the airplane, and each night at bedtime for several days. Also, some homeopathics may approve Relax-a-Tone for you to give preceding travel.

When the sun is out, let them get sunshine and exercise! Hold them up to a window. Go for a walk. Play outside if the weather permits.

Get Organized: I’m quite the organizing freak who likes to maximize efficiency, so I’ll brag and say I’ve got traveling with a baby on lock-down! I’ve traveled with a 2.5, 3.5 and 5 month old solo on transatlantic flights longer than 30 hours, so I know how to survive.

First. Luggage. You’ll want a baby carrier (I used an Ergo), diaper bag, and carry-on rolling suitcase. Strollers are cumbersome in airports and when traveling alone, it’s tricky having a stroller with other luggage.

In the diaper bag, I pack: diapers for about 8 hrs, wipes, a few toys, an outfit change, snacks & water for me, any carryon items for me (ditch the book, you probably won’t have time!), a blanket/warm layer for the chilly plane, pacifiers, etc.

A neck pillow acts as a great arm rest when you’re holding baby or putting him to sleep/feeding. Those seat arms are uncomfortable!

In the rolling suitcase, I very strategically packed:

  • diapers enough for beyond the 30 hour flights. You never know when a stomach bug will be caught, or your stash might go faster than you think!
  • several wet bags or plastic bags (for blow outs, wet clothes, etc).
  • an outfit change for YOU (we’ve all been peed on before, right?)
  • more snacks (you may be up a lot more than you’d like and need a snack)
  • any food for baby – bottles, nursing covers,
  • If you’re traveling with a child who eats, pack way more than you think. Squeezy-packs are great; freeze-dried meals (found at outdoors and backpacker stores or websites) if kids have dietary restrictions (flight attendants will give you boiling water); dried fruit; nuts, and their own re-usable cups.
  • extra of everything your child uses during a 24-hr period.

Whenever I need to get into my rolling suitcase overhead, I restock the whole diaper bag. So dirty clothes go into plastic bags and into the luggage. New diapers, a change go clothes, snacks, and anything else Ill need in the next 4+ hours goes into the diaper bag.

Once You’ve Arrived: Generally, if you have only traveled a few time zones, you may keep your child on the same schedule, especially if your travel is less than a week.

I prefer flights that have us arrive close to the evening. That way baby and parents are tired, and your child will likely pass out!

Expect some rough nights the first few days. I’ve found that fighting a un-tired baby back to sleep is fruitless and frustrating, so don’t do it! Instead, keep the lights low, but let baby play. When she is ready for bed, quickly whisk her back off to sleep. If baby usually wakes up at 5 am, but jet-lagged sleeps till 8, by all means – LET HIM! If you have an agenda when you arrive to your destination, try to keep it light the first few days. You’ll likely be tired.

After 4 days, gently push Baby back onto his normal schedule. You may wake him from naps after his normal duration has passed, but don’t stress yourself too much.

Traveling with kids, especially babies can have its challenges, but remember why you are traveling in the first place – because you love it, you love doing it with your family, and it’s worth it. Travel at a pace that honors all of your family members. Take time to slow down and take naps with your kids. We’ve found that by keeping SOME of our routines, our kids can handle the break of other parts of our daily rhythm. For example, my toddler daughter does best when we eat meals at the same time, have regular snacks, and can maintain bedtime. If she misses a few naps while traveling, she survives, but we can’t forsake all of the routine without having ourselves lots of meltdowns.

And a note on meltdowns – if you notice your baby or child is having more “meltdowns” aka tantrums or behavioral outbreaks, LISTEN. Your child is trying to tell you that they’re tired, stressed, or just cranky from traveling. So LISTEN. Slow down your pace. Re-root yourselves in the aspects of life your child thrives in (naps, playing, nursing sessions, etc). The Eiffel Tower can wait because aint nobody enjoying it with a screaming toddler!

I’m happy to hear some of your tips when flying with your littles! You can contact me with further questions.

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Lufthansa gets me. Stroopwaffles and a bassinet!

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One way to keep track of your toddler.

Categories: aDventures in Doula-ing, Family Life, just for fun, Swaziland Updates, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Continue Standing


4.5 years ago I took a stand. For justice. For education. For just education for young folks in America. 1.5 years ago, I left the classroom. That has been hard. I have felt like I’ve abandoned ‘the kids,’ ‘the cause,’ my school, and The Stand.

But i haven’t. I can’t say I’m doing as much for it as I did when I stood in front of 120 9th graders everyday, but I continue to stand up for excellent education for ALL children in the world. It’s starting to look a little different. Most days it’s informal education about health-ful food choices. In years to come, I hope it’ll be education to allow young girls about the options to say ‘no’ to sexual activities that lead to AIDS. But I’ll be honest, it always has and always will start and end with my heart with the children of Newark. To my students: You are amazing. You are incredible. You CAN achieve much, but the odds ARE stacked against you. Remember how we studied that in California, the government starts building jail cells based on 3rd grade reading levels? Remember how you concluded it wasn’t because illiterate people go to jail, but that there’s a direct correlation between those who are years behind in reading and drop-out rates from high school. The high school drop out rates have direct correlation to increased incarceration rates. Remember how motivated you felt? How inspired you were to dream big dreams, listen to the omens, work hard every day at school, and DEMAND just education from the world around you? I believe in you. Believe that you CAN work hard. And when you do, you will see the fruit of your labor. I pray you have educators that push you, fight with you, fight for you and not against you. I tell everyone I know about you, and they won’t shut me up. 

To the teachers who are fighting injustice everyday, leveling the scales everyday: Thank you is a cheap phrase compared to your efforts. You have the most incredible job in the world. Thank you for no doing it for the paycheck, and having hearts of iron & gold. Thank you for standing up. 

To those wishing to be more educated: a great resource.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

$10 date night, updates, and plans


Recently, I realized that we’ve been on the road since the end of August. That’s SEVEN months of living with people, traveling, floating along, working odd jobs to pay bills, working odd jobs to save up money. Sometimes we sleep in a spare bedroom. Other times in tents. Currently we’re staying in our bus. It has been quite the adventure, and it ain’t over yet!

Because we’re constantly in a state of ‘visiting’ people, we do have to work hard to guard our time together. OR just carve some out. It’s really easy to not intentionally have that time. Two weeks ago, I was feeling “disconnected” and prone to fighting with Sean. We quickly realized we needed some ‘special time.’ So we took $10 (a lot to us!) and went out. We caught a flick at the Cheap Seats for $1 each. Then there was the obligatory ice cream stop at Handel’s – made fresh, on site, everyday. We ate it in the park. Swung our legs back and forth, forth and back as we sat on the tail bed. Played frisbee. Laughed. Hung out. This fun, can be yours for $10. or less. What a treat to enjoy each other’s company!

Now we’re in Indiana. Plans are to stay here for a month. Soaking up the joy of our dear friends. Yesterday was pretty amazing. Kicked off the especially good goodness with a dumpster dive behind the grocery store. We scored 7 pints of blackberries, 2 spaghetti squash, 4 quarts of strawberries, 2 cucumbers, a bag of oranges, a HUGE box of green beans, 2 peppers, and a bunch of asparagus. YUM! Quite astounding to see the great condition that most of the food was in. We ate like Kings and Queens yesterday. Blackberry cobbler, asparagus, Pheasant of the Woods, green beans, and twice-baked potatoes. Ohhhh buddy we ate WELL!

Sean's Blackberry Cobbler with Lattice

Sean's Blackberry Cobbler with Lattice

Upcoming plans: continue fundraising, share our story with new people, read issues of “Stockman Grass-Farmer”, make bank from odd jobs, read Funding Your Ministry, help in the garden, workout plenty, spend time with those we love. Get good nights of sleep in the bus.

Categories: Kingdom Coming Related, Social Justice | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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