Last time we flew, in October, my husband was with us. At 16 months old, as a lap child, my daughter was a nightmare on the plane, and in the airports. From door to door from home to hotel was close to 4 hours and it was longer on the way back because we flew standby to catch an earlier flight.
I think we were underprepared for just how much entertainment a toddler needs on a plane. We had snacks, a couple of toys and then all of the accoutrement afforded by the seat back pocket in front of us. She was bored with all of it before we even took off. Never mind that the inconsiderate fools in front of us reclined their seat backs, giving us even less room than we already had on a packed flight with a lap child.
Suffice to say, I was very nervous about flying by myself with her again. But, it was too late to try to get a seat for her, so in less than 4 weeks, I will be flying by myself with an almost 23 month old lap child.
Last time, I flew alone with the baby, I flew with a stroller, a backpack, a duffel bag and a diaper bag. And of course, the baby. When I arrived I was picked up with the car I was going to be borrowing which had a carseat which was also borrowed. I had entirely too much stuff, and I thought I had economized.
So this time, I needed to streamline even more. And this time, I am going to bring our own carseat! Yikes!
I have made no less than 6 lists with various iterations of luggage, compartments, items that must be taken and I’m fairly certain that I’ve got it streamlined as much as I can while still taking the essentials and of course an airplane survival kit (aka the toddler entertainment).
Bag #1: Kelty TC 1.1 We have tried this out and she loves riding around in it. However, this is more for transport OUT of the arrival airport, than transit within the departing airport.
- Mr. Monkey: I know some people have problems with toddler restraints aka “leashes”. I don’t. For one thing, my daughter loves Mr. Monkey. For another, there is no way that I’ll be making my way through busy airports, trying to tire her out by walking, by myself with JUST holding her hand. This will make it easy for her to burn off any extra energy she may have. Mr. Monkey has a pocket, and in it will be a smaller stuffed animal that she can hold/play with if she likes.
- Baby B’air: To keep her safe in flight. Watching the video on the page pretty much sealed the deal. I’d rather be safe than sorry. It worked just fine on our prior two trips.
- Diaper Wallet: We never take the diaper bag out unless we are taking a day trip. We will have diapers waiting for us, so bringing just enough for a full day should work. In it, we will have 5 diapers, a travel pack of wipes, and baby tylenol.
- My purse. This is also streamlined, and will only have my phone, my wallet, the digital camera and the Garmin GPS.
- Emergency outfit for my daughter.
- A sweater for me.
- Hardierlime Toddler Entertainment Package. This will be placed in a smaller tote for ease of pulling out of the kid carrier and keeping everything together.
- Creative Zen: This is listed first, but will be a last resort. It will be loaded with all sorts of shows from her favorite network.
- 2 Dover Sticker books: She loves all sorts of sticky things and putting them on other surfaces. Hopefully, this will be minutes of fun.
- Lacing cards: These will either be full of win or full of frustration. But at least she likes pretending things are necklaces, so maybe this will be fun.
- Crayola Color Wonder Markers: She loves crayons, so hopefully these will be fun, and not a constrained game of pick-up sticks for me.
- Snacks: carrot sticks, raisins, goldfish, juice box, dum-dums, chips
Bag #2: Sunshine Kids Travel Bag: I’ve read through hundreds of reviews of more than half a dozen bags that can be used for the transport of a carseat. This bag should be good for slinging over my shoulder. It has room to spare for transit, since the space that’s normally taken up by the child in the seat will be vacant. This bag will be gate checked.
- Carseat. We have an Alpha Omega and a Cosco Scenara. I think the Alpha Omega will be coming with. Its the one she travels in the most, so it will be a comfortable thing to have in the rental car. We won’t rent a carseat, because who knows how clean they are and/or if they’ve been in an accident?
- Backpack. A Jansport Trans.
- Large Compartment: My clothes. Taking a tip from Stacy and Clinton, it will be mostly jersey cotton/poly blends that will be able to be folded/rolled with little to no wrinklege. I’ll be bringing 3-4 days worth of clothing. We will have access to a washer/dryer.
- Medium Compartment: Blow dryer. Flat iron. My daughter’s clothes. She will have 4-5 days worth of clothing.
- Small Compartment: Toiletries.
- Tiny Compartment: all electronics chargers.
- Eco Friendly Tote bag.
- Breast pump. Yes, I’m still pumping.
- Pump parts, bottles and a book.
- Mr. Elephant, her naptime & bedtime lovey and her blanket from home.
- Breast pump. Yes, I’m still pumping.
Why am I packing bags within a bag? So that when I remove the carseat, I won’t have a mountain of stuff to wrangle when I hit the ground. What about a stroller? No, no, NO! I will either use the kid carrier, a shopping cart (depending on where we are) or carry her myself. As of today, the carseat bag has been purchased, and I have some snifty new clothes coming to me from Old Navy.
I will do a download of how well this worked out when we return.