traveling with a tot

Over this summer I have spent waaaay more time on an airplane than I would've ever thought I would so soon after having a baby. Here's a run down of all the plane jumping I've been doing over the last few months:

June: Big island to Oahu and back July: Big island to Maui August: Maui to Oahu to Las Vegas, then 5 hour drive to Utah right after landing... Flight from Salt Lake to Vegas, then to Oahu, then Maui. Maui to Big island and back (connecting on Oahu during the return flight which is stupid because Big island and Maui are right next to each other. I actually have to fly PAST Maui then fly BACK from Oahu.)

In a week and a half we will finally reach our final destination in Oregon, at which point I vow not to step onto another plane for AT LEAST a year...we'll see how that goes.

As if traveling wasn't stressful enough without a baby, traveling WITH one only compounded my postpartum hair loss problem. There were just so many unknowns from booking my tickets to getting through security.

Well that uncertain mom is no more! I just got back from a quick trip to the Big Island last week, where I traveled alone - without my husband, and you know what? I didn't even batt an eyelash! I knew EXACTLY what to expect, and that is peace of mind. I am now a COMPLETELY confident baby-toting traveler. I've been put through it ALL and have learned A LOT. I thought I'd share with you some of the things that make traveling easier for me.

1) Don't pack more than you need: Sometimes when we travel we feel like we need 3 times more than we normally would. Put things into perspective. If your baby normally has 3 diaper changes in an 8 hour period, and your TOTAL travel time is 6 hours, (from point A to point B), then you're probably safe with 5 diapers. I've read that you should pack 2 diapers for every hour you'll be out. If I did that, I'd need a MUCH larger diaper bag.

2) Keep the essentials easily accessible: My diaper bag has several pockets lining the inside, which usually makes things easy to find (assuming that I put everything back in its' place after using them), but when I travel, all I REALLY need access to is the stuff that will get me checked in and past security. That is my ID and a credit card (for paying to check luggage). I keep that in my back pocket so I don't have to dig around my bag. I can easily whip it out whenever I need to. Just be sure to put them back in your wallet when you're past security.

3) Check all the baggage you can: I know it costs money now and I'm just as irritated as the next person, but I don't mind paying for the convenience of not having to lug it around. Carseats check for free! Take advantage of that (although if you have several connecting flights, you might want to gate-check your carseat so you make sure that you can leave the airport with your baby when you reach your final destination.)

4) Wear shoes that are easy to remove and put back on: I wear slippers (flip flops to you mainlanders). Don't wear anything with a buckle or laces. It backs the line up and makes you feel rushed. With a kid in tow, you want to make things as EASY as possible.

5) Wear your baby: We've been traveling with 2 large suitcases and one rolling carry-on, diaper bag (for me) backpack (for Keola) and the car seat. It would've been impossible to roll my baby in a stroller and roll/carry everything else we were traveling with. Wearing Nōweo made things so much easier. Check-in was easy; security check was easy (plus you don't have to go through that super-invasive full body scan (the kind where they can see EVERYTHING - including that postpartum flab that just won't go away). You don't have to worry about finding an elevator or going down those moving sidewalks or anything. Your baby can go anywhere you can. My Sleepy Wrap also makes a great nursing cover.

6) Try to get an aisle seat: It's inevitable that you'll have to get in an out for diaper changes, etc., especially on a long flight. You might as well not step on anyone's toes trying to do it. Plus holding a baby makes you wider and if you're flying coach you'll have a hard time scooting past people.

7) Breastfeed on the plane: I'm speaking from the point of view of a mom with an infant. If you have older kids, of course you need to pack food for them. I thought it might've been easier to pump and give Nōweo bottles, or even use formula (you can get through security with more than 3 ounces of breastmilk or forumula, but I decided that it was so much easier not to have to mess with any bottles or powders or liquids. Nōweo also appreciated getting an instant meal whenever she needed it, and by now I've more or less mastered discreet nursing and learned not to care when it's not-so-discreet. During the long flights to the mainland, we flew red-eye so it was dark and no one could see anything anyway. Sucking on something also helps their ears adjust to the pressure change. I've never had a problem with Nōweo's ears hurting.

So those are my MUSTS for easy travel. So far they've provided me with smooth, headache and hairloss-free globe-trotting. What do you like to do to make life easier at the airport?