Here I am blogging about how to travel with babies and from reading this you would think- no sweat. But the truth is- I leave Sunday to fly from Spain to the U.S. and am totally nervous. I am flying alone and although the little one has done a lot of traveling- the game has since changed. She is walking/running and has a whole new set of rules now. Gone are the days of when the engine turning on meant the eyes closed. Now it's all go, and just to spice things up- she is on my lap without a seat. We have reserved a bassinet and they seem to not be concerned that she is over their weight limit for it. But a flight attendant quite possibly could take one look at her chubby cheeks (and thighs) and say "no way". So stay tuned as I its quite possible that my post upon arrival will have some segment that will fall into the "horror story" category. Keep you posted....
February 18, 2008
February 12, 2008
Tara from Atlanta sent us this article from CNN online about working parents traveling with babies. It seems more families are finding ways to bring the little ones along on work trips- which is great. Here is what CNN has to say....
POSTED: 2001 GMT (0401 HKT), May 7, 2007 (AP) --
On a recent business trip to San Diego, California, Kurt Barrett took his family to Sea World.Between the banquet dinners and panel discussions on agricultural policy, he also took his 5-month-old daughter swimming for the first time in the hotel pool. Another day, they strolled through the humid botanical gardens in Balboa Park."It was like being at home. I got done with work, then enjoyed spending time with my wife and child," said Barrett, a 30-year-old general manager for a rice distributor in Williams, California."Work is very important, but there has to be a balance," Barrett said.
Traveling for work once meant sacrificing precious time away from home. But as the American workplace becomes more flexible about letting employees juggle their duties with family life, people like Barrett are finding it easier to bring their spouses and kids wherever their jobs may take them.
According to the National Business Travel Association, 62 percent of U.S. business travelers said they add a leisure component to at least one business trip per year. Among those travelers, two-thirds say they bring a family member or friend with them.
Pushing the trend is the growing number of single parents, women in executive ranks, two-income families, and those simply looking to save a buck by turning company-paid trips into working vacations. People are having kids later in life too, meaning they're more likely to be comfortable enough in their careers to blend work and family.
That blurring between office and family life represents a sea change from a generation or two ago, when children were told bothering their parents with a phone call at work could get mom or dad in trouble.
"That's not the case today. There's a realization that work has encroached so much on private time, that there needs to be some give and take," said Nancy Ahlrichs, president of EOC Strategies, a human resources consulting firm in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Have kids, will travel
Many business conventions today court attendees by trumpeting baby-sitting services and family outings. The trend became more pronounced after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as the industry struggled to recover by offering more incentives to get people on the road again.Smart conference planners realized a good vacation spot could spur attendance, Ahlrichs said.Hotels are stepping up family friendly services too, at least in part to cater to the changing convention business -- a big moneymaker for the industry.When the Barretts arrived at the Loews Hotel in San Diego, they found waiting in their suite a crib, baby swing and CD full of lullabies for their infant daughter. The gear was made available through the hotel's partnership with Fisher Price Inc., launched this year.
"When you have very young kids, they require a tremendous amount of gear you have to bring along," said Emily Goldfischer, a spokeswoman for the New York-based hotel chain. "Here, they have a place to leave an infant in a swing or a play pen -- they don't have to worry about bringing all that along."The hotel, which generates about half its sales through conventions, also contracts with a baby-sitting agency and serves baby food at its restaurants. At check in, teens get backpacks filled with a water bottle and brochures. Younger kids are given a toy.
At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in Orlando, Florida, kids can even enjoy a mock banquet with Disney characters while their parents attend the grown-up version in an adjoining hall.The company, which began dramatically expanding its convention business in the 1990s, now has six convention hotels at Disney World. That growth is being fueled by employees who increasingly see business trips as "opportunities to bring the family along," said George Aguel, senior vice president for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts."Everyone feels time starved, and we're only continuing to see that growing," Aguel said.Even Hyatt launched a kids' menu last year. Parents can also check kids into "Camp Hyatt," where children might make adobe art or go "coconut bowling," depending on the locale. The camp is often filled at the Hyatt resort just outside Austin, where many business conferences are held, said Scott Seed, a Hyatt Resorts spokesman.
Some companies encourage family travel
Policies on bringing family on business trips vary from company to company, said Caleb Tiller, spokesman for the National Business Travel Association, based in Alexandria, Virginia.Some companies encourage it -- even helping find accommodations for the family -- as a way to keep employees happy and productive.Others might allow it, but require employees to sign waivers releasing the company from liability in case anyone is injured during the trip, Tiller said. Many smaller companies may not have policies.But however welcoming and open a company may seem about family matters, it's always a good idea to let the boss know your plans ahead of time, said Peter Post, director of the Emily Post Institute and author of "Etiquette Advantage in Business.""If you do it surreptitiously, and the boss hears about it -- now all of a sudden you have to explain not only why you did it, but also why you didn't tell them," he said.
Setting boundaries between family and work on business trips is critical, Post said. Bringing a 7 year old into the conference room, for example, is never a good idea.For Kurt Barrett, bringing his daughter to San Diego, California, was easy, since his wife could watch her while he attended work functions.The conference even provided tickets to Sea World and organized family friendly events like picnics and volleyball games.The trip went so smoothly, the Barretts intend to bring their daughter along on Kurt's business trips as often as possible."It's a way to expose her to new experiences while keeping the family together," Kurt Barrett said.And his wife, Deanna Barrett, a 29-year-old homemaker, doesn't mind tagging along for the trips either."The next major conference is going to be in the Bahamas," she said. "I told him he needs to talk to the company about that one."
February 11, 2008
We switch back and forth between being a resource for information about traveling with babies, and sharing the humor in the chaos we all face when bringing the little monsters along. One reader, Amy, sent us this story from her blog- Mediocre Mama....
After traveling around Europe with the Captain over the last year, I've learned a thing or two. First, it often sucks. Second, you better be damn sure before you take it on. But if you're like me and the Dad, there is very little that can deter you from giving into that wanderlust. You may have the absolute worst time of your life, but pride and desire makes you believe "I think I can" and you don't care just how bad a time you might have. So I offer the following tips for anyone else out there who is stupid enough to try:
- There is no such thing as a high chair in Europe. If you want one, better lug along your own. I recommend this handy Eddie Bauer seat;
- Milk is a luxury in some places. If you are still bottle feeding your baby or even if you're on sippy or straw cups, bring a fresh bottle down to breakfast, fill er up at the cereal bar and put it in your room's mini-fridge. Bring small boxed milks (a la irradiated kind) and buy them at any market you find them along your travels. You would be shocked how hard they are to find;
- Strollers and ancient ruins do not mix well. I cannot stress this one enough;
- Watch out for ugly Americans. They are the only one's giving you dirty looks when your toddler is going bonkers;
- If you are able to, bring your own portable crib. You will be shocked at how many of these hotels put out death traps on wheels and how badly that can fuck up your night's sleep as you worry that Junior Mint won't make it out alive. Also, beware of hotels that charge you extra for the portable crib;
- Make your own cocktail hour! Inevitably you will discover that when all those fancy European-types are sitting at cafes and bars, you will be sitting in your hotel room giving Junior Mint some much needed playtime. Why be left out? Bring your own bottle opener, borrow some hotel wine glasses and get blitzed whilst the kiddo is tearing apart the Gideon bible;
- Tipping, it's not just for Americans anymore. Nothing can smooth over a really bad dinner out like a nice fat tip. It will also alleviate your embarrassment about all the food he's thrown on the floor;
- A solution to that toddler who pulls off his shoes...just bring a pair of dad's stinky socks. Chuck them over Junior's shoes. They will make it harder for him to get his shoes off and provide the proper level of embarrassment to Junior for his/her malfeasance;
- Invest in a white noise machine. Not only will it diminish the noises outside your hotel room it will provide some nice cover noise for Mama and Dad to get busy; and finally
- If all else fails and you find yourself losing your sanity, find a nice naval war museum and put him in front of a firing squad...
February 8, 2008
The question of vaccinations these days can be controversial, of course it is up to the parents to decide what they think is best for each child- but there are some important things to know if you are traveling with a baby/infant, toddler, or child to a foreign country. Your physician will be able to help you figure out what is best for your situation, but here is some general information for vaccinations for foreign travel:
* Although vaccinations are generally a personal decision, some countries actually require vaccinations as part of their visa process or entry procedures.
* Generally, the high risk areas are in PARTS of Asia, Africa, and South America.
* The most common diseases to be vaccinated against (for foreign travel) are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Cholera, Japanese Encephalitus, Rabies, Typhoid Fever, and Yellow Fever. This is in addition to the common vaccination that babies receive.
* Other diseases to be aware of (and sometimes take medication to minimize risk for) include: Dengue Fever, Malaria, Meningococcal Meningitis, other Strains of hepatitis and of course HIV.
* The length of stay in a country can determine different immunization needs, i.e. if you are in a country for less than 2 weeks you may not need the same vaccinations then if you are there for 6 months.
I found two great articles to help get a better understanding and have referenced some of what I learned here:
For US citizens, here is the link to the Center for Disease Control website which does have a lot of useful information:
U.K. Citizens can check out these websites:
www.doh.gov.uk/traveladvice, www.fco.gov.uk/travel, www.uclh.org, www.britishairways.com and www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
I am no expert on Travel Vaccinations for a baby, and am learning myself as we are leaving to go around the world in October. If you have any thoughts, comments or questions- leave us a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org
February 1, 2008
I am absolutely convinced that you shouldn't over pack your carry-on when traveling on a plane with a baby / infant. There are so many things you can survive without, but you will collapse if you are carrying 50 lbs (22kg) of gear and a baby all day. (Check out my horror story post about traveling for 20 hours while holding my baby. ) So lay out your gear- and take out the extras, and remember that almost anywhere you go, you can get the essentials. (In a spacey moment I forgot diapers once when traveling 8 hours on two flights- I bought diapers at the newsstand at the airport that were for 30 lb babies, and mine was 10lb., but it was no big deal- you will survive!)
So here is my packing list of things to carry on board when you take a baby on the plane.
_DIAPERS & DIAPER PAD & WIPES- I read somewhere to pack 1-2 for every hour, which I thought was crazy- do you change your baby 12 times in 6 hours at home? Pack what you use in same amount of time at home and then add 2 more. If you found yourself in a total BM meltdown there are plenty of mothers that would be happy to help, I sure would. WIPES are great for cleaning plenty of things but if you do run out, you can use napkins, etc., so don't over do it.
_BLANKET- I also saw a list that said pack "plenty of blankets", again too much. Pack one mid-range blanket and then throw a beanie in your bag. 90% of our heat is lost through our head. If it happens to be very cold, you can put the beanie on the baby and the flight attendents can also give you a blanket. I wrap our daughter in my sling. You are often holding them so the body heat alone is usually plenty.
_PLASTIC BAGS- Compartmentalize everything into plastic bags to stay organized and then if you need bags for an emergency they are right there.
_PACIFIER- Take three, the one attached to the baby, the one that is handy and the secret one- because if you lose them all (and sometimes on the plane they aren't gone, just hard to reach three rows up) you may be in big trouble.
_SMALL HAND TOYS- I clip them all together with those colorful clips. Another reader suggested using diaper pins to attach them to the blanket. And my favorite idea, bring a few new ones that will keep them entertained- love the diversion tactics.
_ONE EXTRA OUTFIT, A SLEEPER- Put one sleeper with feet in a plastic bag. Save yourself from having to carry an extra shirt, pants, socks, shoes, sweater, etc. There is a good chance you won't even need it so save yourself the bulk.
_FOOD, UTENSIL, BIB, SNACKS- Try to bring FOOD that can be eaten out of a jar or by hand so you don't also need to carry plates and bowls. Bring ONE SPOON because if you need another you can wash it, or there are usually small coffee spoons that also do the trick. And last, bring either one small BIB or a disposable paper bib (Chicco makes great ones) that you can toss so you don't carry the dirty one around. SNACKS, like rice cakes, that seem to take a long time to eat and don't make too much of a mess, are good. Just remember, depending on your child's age, there are things at the airport that can get you through if you have a long layover.
_FORMULA / PUMPED MILK and 1 OR 2 BOTTLES if you need them. You can wash a bottle if you need to (see baby wash below). I kept two travel size formulas in my carry-on (Infamil sells them in the U.S. and HERO in Spain) even when my daughter was just breastfeeding just in case I found myself in a tough situation, but never used them.
_FOR MOM- Change of shirt, just in case you get totally thrashed by the little one, an energy bar (because eating on the plane can be a total luxury), bottle of water (to be bought after security), phone, wallet, passport, camera (because you shouldn't put it in your suitcase) and your Ipod (essential so you can watch a movie, listen to a book or music, even browse photos if you happen to get a free moment ) Things to forget- don't bring books, and mags if you have your IPOD, skip the heavy sweater/jacket- you will be sweating like a pack mule carrying the baby and holding her the whole time. Put your charging cords in your packed luggage.
_STROLLER, CAR SEAT, and SLING/BABY BJORN- Depending on your travel style, and how many people you are traveling with - you will probably bring some big gear. Your CAR SEAT can be great on-board if you bought a seat for the baby, but if you didn't, then you will have to check it as you board the plane if there is not an extra seat available. The TRAVEL STROLLER will carry your stuff and your baby and can usually be checked at the plane. Try to get one that you can fold with one hand and that fully reclines. The SLING or BABY BJORN works to get you through security, allows you to keep a baby or toddler strapped in while you get sorted and take off on the plane, and allows you to go places (like the bathroom)that you may not fit with your stroller. You probably don't need all three but remember that if you don't have your stroller with you, then you are carrying a baby, bag, and car seat.
_MEDICATION and LIQUIDS- Before you leave the house, put your liquids in one plastic bag to save you from having to pull everything out at the airport. (See the seperate post on GETTING THROUGH SECURITY for more details on the 3oz. rule for babies) I bring infant acetaminophen (also know as Tylenol in the U.S. and Parcetamol everywhere else) in case she starts to get sick, her thermometer, and baby wash which can wash a lot of things if we have a major accident. Other possible items- diaper rash cream if you need it, hand gel (but I think the babywash can help with that) and baby lotion but only if your baby has very dry skin. Remember that this is just for the plane ride and everything else can go in your checked luggage.
Traveling can be pretty crazy these days. Long delays, gate changes, and bad weather can lead to a long day of traveling. Do yourself the biggest favor and minimize the fluff as you scurry through the airport. My motto is to try and avoid looking like "Sandford and Son". Make a good mental note each time you travel of what you didn't need (or needed but didn't have) so next time you are even more efficient.
What is your essential on board item? Email email@example.com or leave us a comment