There is so much to think about when preparing for your first overseas trip with bub (and you thought getting your husband to pack his own bag was enough of an ordeal). This week’s guest blog is from regular jet-setter Jess who has kindly shared her key advice when preparing to travel with your bub for the first time, and how to manage that (eeek!) long-haul flight. (image by ideabug)
First things first (and allow plenty of time for this!), you bub will need their own passport to travel overseas. Filling out of the application is relatively easy – getting the photo taken is the interesting part! Your baby can’t sit to have its photo taken so the photography shop will probably have piece of white cardboard for your child to lie on whilst they take their photo. Passport photos are very strict – no smiles, straight face, and they need to keep very still. Your little bub is guaranteed to fidget, wiggle, roll over and in my case, have a little bit of a sickie on to the cardboard before you get a shot that is usable! Be patient, you’ll get there.
Next stop is the post office to submit the application. Make sure you have an appointment booked to avoid the horrible and usual post office line up. I’d also advise timing your interview around a predictable ‘happy baby’ time as best you can (which was unfortunately the opposite to what I did).
Passports are valid for five years and my daughter, now aged four, not surprisingly bears no resemblance to the photo that was taken when she was six months old. This part of thing seems a bit odd, but the less time I have to spend getting photos taken and filling out forms the better I suppose….
2. Which are the best seats?
When booking your flights, consider the options. If your child is not very mobile, generally pretty happy, a good sleeper and you are happy with a little bundle sitting on your lap for the duration of the flight, then by all means consider a day-time flight. But for someone like myself whose little cherub was none of those, then a night flight is definitely the go! I timed my flights to Asia to leave late evening which allowed me to get them to sleep in the pram before boarding. I paced the transit lounge – and of course the duty-free shops – and then delicately removed them when we were ready to board the plane.
If flying economy, get the seats in the middle and make sure they don’t front on to the kitchen as there is lots of clanging about in preparation for meals and hosties congregate in there when lights are out. Seats at the side usually attract the first light through either the window or the wake-up lights for breakfast.
3. When onboard
I am perhaps a bit extreme about my bub getting lots of shut-eye, but I also like to take two metres of black fabric in my carry-on and use it as a bit of a tent around the baby bassinet. You can tuck and clip it in to the bulk head and hang it down allowing a gap for them to breathe. I did get some funny looks from other passengers but it worked!
Once bub is all settled down, then you can have a breather and attempt to get some sleep yourself….(oh, that reminds me, make sure you pack their comfort toys, blankets dummy etc in your carry-on luggage, otherwise, you are sure to have a disaster on your hands!).
In terms of food and drink, it is best to try to bring your own on to the flight if your bub is under 18 months of age. In these situations, pre packaged food is best and less likely to be confiscated when screening through security. The hosties can heat up your food and your drinks for you so don’t hesitate to ask. Just make sure you give them clear instructions to avoid over or under heating.
Stock your carry-on with an ample supply of nappies, wipes, and clothes (remember some warm ones as it can get quite cold on board). Also have a few toys and books to amuse them when awake and confined to your lap.
Depending on your destination, you may also want to pack a supply of nappies and other goodies in your suitcase. Most Asian countries have western-style supermarket chains so unless you’re bub’s fussy about particular brands or products, you should be able to get everything you need while you’re away (leaving more space in the luggage for shopping!).
TOUCHDOWN….You survived your first long-haul flight with bub! I hope this helps take out some of the apprehension in preparing for a long flight, and instead you can focus on enjoying your time together overseas.
We would love to hear your tips for overseas travel with your bub. Leave a comment below!