After several airplane flights alone with my one-year old, I wanted to share some of my hard-earned travel secrets. It is important to keep it simple and only take what is absolutely necessary. However, with a one year old there are a few extra necessities that are key to include. I will discuss those items in detail in this post. First of all, I create packing lists of all the items that will be needed for my trip. Making a packing list helps with the last minute packing that always takes place. Some items can not be placed into the suitcase until the very last minute. With a list already made the day before, I don't have to try and think what those last minute items are. If I get in a bind, I can hand the list to my husband and tell him to pack the unchecked items. This really reduces the tension in those last minutes, because I don't have to think. I merely have to act and pack from my list. This method has made all the difference for me and for my husband in our packing relationship!
I pack one large suitcase for both myself and for Little Bee. I divide the bottom of the suitcase in equal halves - one side holds Little Bee's clothes and the other side holds my clothes. I roll our clothes into tight rolls to fit more clothing into a small space. This also prevents the clothes from getting wrinkled. If I am leaving for a whole week (7 days), I pack 8 outfits for Little Bee. If I can do laundry at my destination, I pack a little less. I also pack Little Bee 8 sleepers, a sweatshirt (maybe two), socks x 10. For myself, I pack 8 shirts and only 3-4 pants/shorts. I can wear my pants a couple days in a row. I pack 8 underwear, 8 socks, and 3 night-time outfits.
The middle and top layers of the suitcase are reserved for the extra bulky stuff. For example: Little Bee's iPod speakers, our toiletries, vitamins, extra diapers/wipes, food packs in a plastic bag, a few toys and more. I also try to leave some extra room for the goodies that always seem to make there way into our suitcase for our trip home. Below, Granny gifted us with yummy California oranges, tomatoes, avocados, and some goodies from Trader Joe's!
I also prepare my purse and make sure I have the most important items easily available. When traveling with a child under two, you need to have a copy of the birth certificate. I have my driver's license in an easy to reach, yet secure spot and also several dollars to give the attendant's at the curbside ticket counter. When traveling alone with your child, the sidewalk kiosk is your friend and totally worth a few extra dollars! The less surface area you have to cross with a giant suitcase, duffle bag with car seat, child in stroller or carrier, and backpack on your back... the better! And what I have found to be the best mode of transport for a one year old is a simple umbrella stroller. It is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and perfect for zipping through the airport in a hurry. I say, umbrella stroller and backpack for a carry-on... all the way baby... to the gate, Mama!
The next part of my packing is my carry-on. I appreciate a comfortable backpack as a carry-on. I love to use large gallon ziplock bags to separate all the different baby items into their own little section. I pack 6 gallon sized ziplock bags. 1. A changing kit which includes several diapers, small wipes container, changing pad, plastic grocery bag for dirties, and diaper rash paste. 2. A food bag - Lara Bars, baby food packs, and cheerios. 3. Extra change of clothes and a small blanket 4. A bag of interactive and compact toys 5. A bag of little books 6. A bag of three milk bottles and one bottle of water. I also pack a small bag of Tylenol and teething tabs. When I go through the TSA check, I can easily remove the bag of bottles and food packs to place in a separate bin from my backpack.
These are some of our favorite small and engaging books that we take on the airplane.
I pack a few simple toys to occupy Little Bee. He loves finger puppets, small plastic containers with matching lids, and this ball on a string gadget. Little Bee loves to hid objects inside his containers and play hide-n-seek with Mommy.
A very important piece of entertainment for a one year old on the airplane is finding the section where other little kids are sitting. I try to sit in a row in front of another little child. Little Bee loves to peek over the seat and make faces at his new friend. Sometimes we have a kind adult who plays peek-a-boo with Little Bee. This is one of Little Bee's favorite activities and has become a habit for Little Bee when flying. He is always excited to peek over the seat to see who will be his new friend.
Little Bee finds the sights out the window to be fascinating! We always get a window seat and talk about what is happening outside. We talk about leaving the ground and entering the clouds. We talk about the tiny cars below and the different shapes on the ground. And we also talk about the airplane tires landing back on the ground again. Little Bee loves watching the airport vehicles racing about and our luggage rolling down the conveyer belt. And of course, if Daddy comes along... he is a BIG source of entertainment. This affords Mommy a little down time. 🙂 Did you find these travel tips to be helpful? What are some travel secrets that have worked for you and your little one?