January 30, 2008

There is a story for your child in every culture

Since the spirit of Baby Jetsetter is to keep travel alive even after the little ones come along, I wanted to mention a sweet website called Mama Lisa. Mama Lisa is cool, she has stories and nursery rhymes from all over the world. So if you are going to a new place with your little one, or just want to teach them about their heritage, or someone else's, check it out: http://www.mamalisa.com

Enjoy! P.S. For older toddlers, this may be great plane entertainment.

January 27, 2008

British Airways Toddler Seat

A recent reader sent us this comment on our "Best Airlines" post:

BA won hands-down for the best service while traveling with a baby. Many airlines will only accommodate a baby until a certain age, and only first-come, first-serve. BA had a wonderful, comfortable reclinable bouncy-seat type of thing that was perfect for my then-14-month-old. All airlines should get that model! It also helps that the seats are more generous than those of other airlines we had used.- Mammemia

We thought that sounded great so we did a little research and found out that what British Airways is supplying is a Britax toddler seat. See the BA website page http://www.britishairways.com/travel/child/public/en_gb#infant for more information but apparently it is free of charge and easily works for children up to two. Sounds great!

January 26, 2008

Great Reader Input on Tips for Traveling with Babies, Toddlers, and Kids- Thanks!

Wow, you guys are awesome. Baby Jetsetter is just a month old and is growing like a weed (sound familiar) In the past few weeks I received some great feedback from parent/baby travel warriors- and here are just a few things you added-

Shane from Crystal Bay, NV:I’ve flown several times with my baby, Liam, who is now 15 months. Although I always try to change his diaper before the flight, he inevitably needs a new one in flight. When it is just wet, no big deal, but when it is #2, it is trickier. Basically, I thought my only choice was to change the diaper while holding him, but as he got older, this became next to impossible. On a particularly difficult flight, the bathroom was a mess and there was no way I could have changed it alone in there. The flight attendant was nice enough to offer to help by giving me a blanket and letting me change him up front, around the corner where no one could see. She then put the blanket in with the dirty ones. It is nice to know this is an option if you are really stuck, at least with some flight attendants!

Wendi from Miami, Fl: When you have multiple kids (3) there's always so much stuff, so i try to limit it as much as possible. I have a bag with some art supplies there are so many things you can do with some paper,crayons, glue, etc. & it doesn't take up too much room.

Julie from Lake Tahoe: A lollipop / sucker can keep a child happy for a long time on a plane, but make sure to pack wipes to go with it.

Carrie from Toronto:I live in Canada now (originally from Atlanta), but have lived in 4 different countries & 10 different cities in the last 9 years. I am married to a professional hockey player.
I have a 5.5 and 2.5 year old (both born in Germany) the best advice I can give about traveling with a baby /toddler is:
(1) Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot travel with a newborn. Both my children travelled at the age of 2 weeks old, across the ocean, on an 8 hour flight. Doctor’s say there is no risk. Just nurse/feed the baby during take –off so their ears do not “pop.” These were the best flights of their lives! Everyone wants to hold them, nobody cares if they cry, and they sleep most of the time!
(2) Almost all airlines have 2 bassinets on the plane. They are located in the bulkhead row and are first come first book. They hook on to the wall in front of your seat. I HIGHLY recommend this, as once the baby falls asleep, your hands are FREE!!! There is a weight limit, but I had my daughter in a bassinet when she was 1… it makes the trip SO MUCH more enjoyable for mom.
(3) Especially if taking a cross country/international flight, try to book long flights at night!!!! The kids sleep! Need I say more!
(4) When you are flying with a toddler, try to book the bulkhead. Then you will not have anyone in front of you and you will not have to stress out when your child kicks the seat/wall in front of you! You also have more floor space in case your child wants to play on the floor.
(5) Best tip… food, food & more food!
(6) Get some toys/treats at the dollar store. You can even wrap them if you want. And let the kids open them throughout the trip.
(7) Portable DVD players with headphones are KEY!!!!!!
(8) Book the end/aisle seat if you have children that will want to get out to go to the bathroom/walk around often. Then you will not have to worry about bothering/waking anyone else up!
(9) Lots of toddlers like to play with scotch tape. Buy a roll and let them go to town!
(10)Tip for Mom… when it comes to the flight, try to take the least amount of stuff with you as possible… you have enough stuff to worry about and keep up with!
(11)I actually really like it when my husband and I have to sit in separate rows… we take turns sitting with the kids… I relish my time off & read!!!

Keep sending your tips to babyjetsetter@gmail.com or leave a comment here....

January 21, 2008

A baby traveling with only one parent across an international border

These days, it is important to be prepared if you are going to cross an international border (including Canada) with a baby and only one parent. Whether you are a single parent, parent with custody or without, grandparents, or if you are a two parent family but your spouse is not with you- you need to be ready for questions from immigration. To help fight child abductions, customs in many countries are cracking down. To be honest, I have flown to 9 different countries with our daughter (and without my husband) and have not yet been questioned- but I do believe it is very important to be prepared when it does come up. It is simple to be prepared, just have the following paperwork with you:

1) Proper I.D.'s for you and your child. This is obvious, (and there is another post below on how to apply for a baby passport) but keep copies of both of your passports in case you lose one. I have scanned our passports and emailed them to myself so I can print them out from any computer anywhere in the world.

2) A notarized letter from the other parent (or both parents if grandparents are traveling with the children) giving permission for the other to take the child out of the country. It doesn't have to be too formal or lengthy- just something that says: "I, John Smith, father of Baby Smith, do hereby give full permission for my wife, Jane Smith, to travel to Canada with Baby Smith for two weeks from August 15- August 30, 2008. If you should have any questions, please contact me at email XXXX or mobile phone XXXX. " Then just head down to your local Mailboxes Etc. or other closest notary and get it notarized. You can put more information, if you would like, on the letter explaining why you are going but it is not necessary to write something too detailed.

3) Full itinerary and contact info for everywhere you are going. Put it on a spreadsheet or document so you don't have to carry too much paperwork (and email it to yourself in case you lose your copy)

This should take care of traveling internationally with only one parent. Not being prepared can lead to a domino nightmare effect- for example- being stuck in customs and missing a connecting flight which then makes you miss your cruise, etc.

If you have questions or thoughts on traveling internationally with a baby and only one parent- send us a comment or email babyjetsetter@gmail.com

January 16, 2008

A Stinky Lesson Learned

Tina from Truckee, California wrote to us about the time she was flying to Mexico with her young son, Wyatt. Turns out that right after take off, he had a diaper blowout, which included blowing out on her. Mortified, she tried to clean the mess up but with out an extra shirt for herself, there wasn't much she could do. To add to her humiliation, the flight attendents continually walked by her spraying room deodorizer. Pretty obvious moral to this story- we'll put "an extra shirt for mom" on our carry on packing list.

January 14, 2008

Getting Your Baby a Passport

With all of the craziness going on with passport requirements these days, my advice is this- get your baby a passport as soon as possible. You never know when you will need it and you might as well get the process going. Here is the procedure for those of you from the U.S.-

The first thing you need is a birth certificate and a social security number. Some hospitals are automatically applying for social security numbers. Check with your hospital or plan on a trip to the S.S. office.

Next you will need to get passport photos done. Although many of the U.S. post offices will do this for you these days, I recommend getting passport photos done at a local photo store. Mostly because they are experts at getting a correct photo and they are patient. The employees at the Post office are not prepared to work with you for 45 minutes to get a shot with the baby's eyes open and looking at the camera. Also, get extras- I have found that I need them for other things as well.

Go to the website and fill out the application. Here is the official website and the answers to many of the questions that most people have- http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/minors/minors_834.html

Take the application to your local post office (not all of them are doing passports so check here to see if yours does- http://www.switchboard.com/usps.1355/dir/6_0/index.htm?cid=3034 )
or the local passport office.

If you are in a hurry, you can order a rush passport either thru the official site or using a private expedite service.

Our passport took 3 months to arrive in the mail.

If you have further questions, or comments on getting passports for your baby- send us an email at http://www.blogger.com/babyjetsetter@gmail.com or post a comment here.

January 12, 2008

Tips for Getting Through the Plane Ride with a baby / toddler

You can't have too many ideas on how to get through a long plane ride with a baby or toddler. As we all know, what works for some kids, doesn't work for others. As the tips come in, we'll add them.

* TIP- Have a small bag (I use a disposable plastic bag) handy in your diaper bag to put just the things you need to have in your seat with the baby. In my small bag, I put one diaper, wipes, toys, my earphones in case the baby happens to go to sleep, maybe my book (wishful thinking?) a bottle for the baby, and maybe some crackers. I put the rest of my things in the overhead to give me as much space as possible. - Stephanie

*TIP- Leave the lap baby (one year old) in the Baby Bjorn until after take off and keep them there as long as possible before they are ready to start the aisle strut. - Tara

*TIP- Attach all little toys to a blanket with daiper pins to keep them flying all over. - Tara

*TIP- Happy Meal toys worked great on our recent airplane trip as they are small, cheap and I didn't care much if they got destroyed or lost. - Anonymous Post

We are looking for more tips on keeping a baby occupied on a plane. Send your thoughts to babyjetsetter@gmail.com or leave us a comment here. Thanks.

January 4, 2008

On a ferry with a baby? No problem

Ferry's are a great way for babies to travel. There is usually enough room to spread out-and they love being in the fresh air. Most ferries don't charge a fee for babies which is once again a plus. If you have luggage, it sometimes is taken away before hand as you board. Be sure not to leave valuables in there as security is fairly week. Food and beverage is usually available. Check with the ferry for changing facilities.

Do you have an insight you want to add on being on a ferry with a baby? Leave us a comment or email babyjetsetter@gmail.com

January 1, 2008

Email question about carseats overseas in taxis and rental cars...

Christy from Virginia wants to know more about dealing with the carseat issue in taxis and cars in foreign countries- "Do taxis have carseats? " "How do you know which countries have which requirements?" "What about rental cars?"

Safety is always the most important factor for all parents, and to be safe when traveling with a little tot often takes planning. As we travel around the world, we have decided to haul our carseat with us and use it when we can.

There are countries, like Sweden that have strict rules about car seats. Many of the taxis do have carseats in their taxis, but they are not required to carry them, so if you do not have your own, you will have to wait for a taxi that has one (and even then, they are often more like booster seats), and often drivers in Sweden won't let you in without one. London also has taxis with carseats but it best to call for those taxis in advance. However, other countries like Spain, don't worry as much about the carseat issue. Although the occasional taxi will have a carseat, most don't. In other countries, such as Thailand and China, cars may not even have seatbelts in the backseats which makes the car seat installation impossible. So you just have to do your best and assess the area you are going to. A lot of places will be shocked that you even have a carseat. For our family our rule is, if we have the carseat with us and we can fit it, then we use it. If the car rides are longer than 15-20 minutes, we try and make a plan so the carseat can be used. That doesn't always work but it gives us a basis to start from.

Rental cars are often a great way to go. You can put your carseat in and leave it, you know that it fits from the beginning, and most major rental companies have car seats available for a small fee. Always make sure to check ahead of time, but we have found this to be a good option for us.

The carseat thing can be tricky. I think the best thing to bring is your street smarts- if you cant use a carseat, try to pick a safe driver, etc. etc. I have seen comments that you should not put seatbelts around the parent and child as this can be very dangerous. I have been told that it is best to put them in the Baby Bjorn and then put the seatbelt just around the parent. I have also seen portable carseats and seatbelt extensions available for sale. Of course none of this is recommended as the liability is too high- but

Do you have information about carseats overseas that you want to share, or other questions concerning this topic, send an email to babyjetsetter@gmail.com or leave a comment on this post.