The magic word “before” rang probably in every parent’s ears at some point. Even if we all love our children madly, we sometimes refuse to accept that things have changed tremendously with arrival of our little bundle of joy. We had more time for sports before… We were able to meet with our friends regularly before… We visited so many places before…
The magic word “before” rang probably in every parent’s ears at some point. Even if we all love our children madly, we sometimes refuse to accept that things have changed tremendously with arrival of our little bundle of joy. We had more time for sports before… We were able to meet with our friends regularly before… We visited so many places before… All parents usually compromise, but the travelling part was something probably most of parents didn’t want to give up. For every travelling enthusiast we met, the freedom to move around with no limits and returning back home, is essential. This is what our blog will be about.
Our son received his first passport when he was three weeks old only. Confidence streaming through my veins, I arrived to the foreign affairs office. Get in, make two pictures, get out. All of that in less than ten minutes. Well, needless to say, Simon had different opinion and he became red screaming monster two seconds right after we sat down in front of the photographer. Sweating like a pig, I tried to ignore the “you are useless mother” looks from all bystanders and after 10 excruciating minutes, victory was ours, the officer let us go and one week later I held proudly Simon’s first passport in my hands. Lucky me! Back then I didn’t realize, that this was the beginning of our feeling-ashamed-for-my-kid journey together as he developed to perfection his screaming routine every time he was refused literally everything.
Two weeks after our first encounter with Czech bureaucracy, I dragged my poor son with me from Prague (Czech Republic) to Zurich (Switzerland) for a business trip. As a newbie parent, the whole idea of driving 700km back and there, two nights away from home in a strange hotel on top of that scared the crap out of me. I spent days and nights planning every single detail of the journey. After six years living in Zurich, I drove those 700km hundreds times, knew every gas station along the way or every possible detour during traffic jam. I knew I could stop at every town to freshen up, stay the night and as a bonus, my auntie lives on the way in Sindelfingen. I had all the comfort of credit card and of course, my mom sitting next to me was a huge stress relief. Anyway, having a baby car seat in the back led to a brand new experience.
One sunny summer morning, me, my mom and my son departed from Prague, dreading every possible issue the drive could bring… and we all passed the journey with flying colours.
Encouraged by our first travelling victory, we booked holidays in Estepona, nice, tiny town, located in southern Spain between Malaga and Gibraltar. Renting two bedroom apartment, we planned to spend our honeymoon there. Well, not honeymoon exactly, given Simon was ever-present, but true family holiday as our parents have accompanied us.
It was first flight for Simon, being only three months old. Knowing that most air companies allow you to bring baby on board as soon as they reach 5 weeks, I’ve consulted all pros and cons with our paediatrician, who assured me, that Simon was ready to take the three and half hour flight from Prague to Malaga. Again, I planned almost every minute from closing the door behind our home to arriving to the rental apartment. Nervousness increasing 100% a day, I have to confess, that the night before departure was very much sleepless. What kind of parent am I to force my little munchkin to such terrible journey?
Obviously pretty normal one. Our flight departed at 7pm, which was Simon’s usual bedtime. I just had to make him fall asleep with all the noise around, air pressure change and other passengers talking all the time… At one point I even considered driving those 3000km but luckily my husband convinced me otherwise.
All went fine thanks to few actions:
- Plan according to you flight time: If you’re flying during night time, make sure to book the seat in the front row, equipped with baby crib on the wall in front of you. When turbulences occur, the flight attendant will most likely ask you to keep your baby with you and use the seat belt but it’s still very convenient to lay them down for a while. Short flights usually don’t offer this option, so we used window seat, that allows you to lean against it and relieve your arms little. If flying during day, take few favourite toys or anything you can entertain your baby with. Up in the travel altitude, leave your toddler crawl around if he becomes restless (and have extra set of clothes for him and hand disinfection for both of you).
- Take-off and landing: Those are the most critical few minutes of each flight, as the air pressure change make almost all babies fuzzy. Consider yourself lucky if your little sweetheart will sleep through it. If they’re awake, make sure you have a pacifier or anything they can chew on somewhere at arm’s length. You can also keep your baby a little bit hungry, that way you can breastfeed or give them a bottle to ease the pressure in their ears. Depending on the airplane type, the take-off or landing takes from 20-40 minutes but the air pressure change is matter of maximum 5 minutes.
- Pack lightly: so you can put your bag under the seat in front of you, where you can reach it easily. This way you don’t have to hand your baby to someone else, stand up, take your bag from the compartment above your head and the put it back. Remember, you are not allowed to take your bag from above during the take-off or landing. On the other side, if you have it in front of your legs, you just simply bend over a bit and take what you need.
- Pack smartly: if you aren’t travelling alone, take two bags on board. One smaller to keep with you during the whole time - with baby accessories and toys and under the seat in front of you. The second bag, stored above your head, will contain your personal items.
- Ask for help: Remember, the flight attendants are there for you! Don’t be afraid to ask the them for help. Sometimes even your neighbours can give you a hand if needed. Every airline should have baby food on board (not baby formula). Book the baby food in advance, even if you won´t need it and you’ll have enough of your own, it´s always good to know there’s some more.
- Get yourself comfortable: Planning completed, think about yourself and start with clothes. If it’s a longer flight, it might be also good to have an extra t-shirt with you. At the end, you have to feel good when flying with your family, as all babies feel their mother’s tension and nervousness.
Easier said than done but others have survived their first flight, I will too. That became my mantra for those few terrible hours before we left for the airport. And Simon absolutely surprised me. He was a sweet baby, crying shortly when we were finding our seats, he fell asleep few minutes before the departure, sleeping through the whole way and suckling his pacifier when landing. Andalusia was beautiful, Malaga, Ronda’s arena and bridge, Cadiz’ port and fortress and day trip to Gibraltar, hiking up the rock and strolling around the city. Light autumn breeze made all traveling for Simon bearable and we enjoyed the local atmosphere, ordered delightful dishes and had great time. Flight back was bit more difficult. We booked a night flight, which was unfortunately delayed for four hours, leaving Malaga at 1am. Lounge closing at 11pm left us with Simon in our arms for hours before we boarded and another 3.5 hours on board. Again, he managed greatly, allowing me to be bit more courageous for our next trip.
Three weeks later I boarded flight from Prague to Paris. I felt so brave. Well, truth is… not brave enough, because I asked my mom to accompany us. Visiting my husband on his business trip, we spent few days in beautiful pre-Christmas Paris. Simon was four months old and I was left with him and my mom at Charles De Gaulle airport during chilly November midnight. I couldn’t find a taxi with baby car seat, using public transport was not an option and I started to panic quickly. After over an hour of waiting, we found a driver, taking us to the hotel. Next morning, full of touristy mood, we eagerly started sightseeing the City of Love, taking the metro from La Defence to Trocadero. Note to myself – French metro is really not buggy friendly but again, luckily, I was not alone and none of us needed to go to a gym for couple weeks with all pushing and carrying around. Security scan and climb to the Eiffel tower was pretty much ok but we had to ask around for special entrance with the stroller and then which leg will allow to take it with us, since there aren’t any lockers nearby for security reasons. Sacre Coeur was another story. Desperately strolling around the metro exit, we looked for way up without climbing any stairs and at the end found, there was only one way (of course on the totally opposite direction).
At the end, Paris trip became a family touring around, looking almost constantly into cell phone and searching for information how to move around easily with full stroller. Each city or place within have their own webpages, directing you around and providing information. Becoming tired searching through different blogs, finding information that were sometimes useful, sometimes not, this was the last push we needed to start Baby City Guide.
Germany, Argentina, Austria, Switzerland and Lichtenstein, Singapore, Japan, UAE, Italy, USA, Cyprus and other countries. There is no webpage or platform that globally provides information for clueless parents desperately seeking tips where to travel, what to see, where to entertain and foremost, how to move around with infant or toddler up to three years. From parents who travel. This is what we are about.
Our blog will be something little bit more. Asking our friends, asking you, we would love to share all traveling stories. As singles, as parents, it doesn’t matter. Stories that have happened to you during your travels in the time before and after you had your baby. And on top of that three will be something extra. Darker themed experience from life in different and not so ordinary places, crazy story about wedding preparations, sophisticated meals that we cooked to forget about all baby food for at least five seconds (mostly smashed potatoes and veggie pyres) or expecting/first time mom diary.
This blog will be bit different. Because it’s from parents, who travel and enjoy life.Back to article list