Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Long Distance Travel With Baby

Sorry for the long break, we were on vacation. I took my little caterpillar back to China to visit my parents, then we flew to Shanghai to meet with Stubborn and visited his family and friends. It was such a big deal, I was totally freaked out before the trip. I want to share with you my experience and tips & lessons I learned from this trip. I will tell you more about our stay in China and show you some fun pictures in the future posts.

Weeks before our travel, I read so many blogs and articles about travelling with babies, what to pack for long distance flight, where to find organic food in big cities in China, what medicine to pack for baby, etc. Spent many weekends shopping for gifts. I didn't pack too many clothes for me and the baby, since my mom said we could always buy new ones there if needed. Even with less clothing, my luggage still went over the weight limit. I know, I could check two luggages, but the thought of pushing the stroller and pulling the carry-on and two big luggages at the same time just frightened me. Well, Stubborn drove us to the airport, helped us until the security check point, and my parents picked us up at the Beijing airport, but I still had to manage everything myself for a short while, even with the help of those luggage cart, it still sounds like a nightmare. So, I decided just take one luggage and buy a backpack carry-on. Man, I am so in love with my backpack carry-on! It's so convenient, perfect size, tons of conpartments, genius organizing design, and best of all, it frees both my hands to handle my baby or push the stroller. It has to be the best gift Stubborn bought for me!

Here is the list of stuffs I packed for our trip:
- For me: 3 tops, 1 jean (wearing on the plane), 1 capris, 1 shorts, 1 set of PJs, 3 sets of underwear, 4 pairs of socks, and 1 pair of slippers.
- For little caterpillar: 3 long sleeve tShirts, 2 jackets, 3 pants, 2 dresses, 2 sets of PJs, 4 pairs fo socks, and bath towels.
- my homemade portable fabric high chair, a.k.a. a chair sling.
- lots of gifts for family and friends (including a big heavy 12 by 12 scrapbook I made for my niece)
- enough diapers and wipes for a week (bought more there for the rest of the trip)
- medicines for both of us
- 2 big cans of formula, toys and favorite fruit and snacks for little caterpillar
- my camera and lenses, my old Sony camera set (gift for my niece), and a point and shot camera (my friend's gift for his mom)
- my cell phone, laptop, and all kinds of chargers
- portable DVD player for the long flight

Doesn't look like too much, right? Well, my luggage was 14.5 lbs overweight, which translate to about $200 fine! No way I was going to pay for that. So, we pull the heavy items out of the luggage and put them all in my backpack carry-on, which means there was no space for that DVD player we bought just for this trip. Don't worry, I didn't throw away a new DVD player! Stubborn was not flying with us, so he brought it back home. We managed to get it down to exactly 50 lbs with just one try, very exciting! But the result, my backpack was super super heavy! I could barely push it in the overhead compartment on the plane, and before boarding the next plane at DC, I went down to pick up my boarding pass from the floor, lost balance, fell down. Two college boys tried to help me stand up, and it took 3 of us several tries! That's how heavy that backpack was! Not very smart thing to do, especially when you have to chase a super active toddler around the airport!

Another lesson learned, not only pack an extra set of cloth for the baby, but also pack a set for yourself in your carry on luggage! I ordered orange juice on the flight from Boston to DC, thought we need that extra VitC to fight the germs on the plane. Within five minutes, little caterpillar accidentally kicked that little tray table, and pour almost two full cups of juice on my lap! I felt so bad about making a mess on the plane and ruined their seat cushion, also I was so embarassed and uncomfortable about the all that juice on my jeans! Felt like I peed myself! I literally sat there with wet jeans until it's dried by my bodyheat! So, REMEMBER to pack a set of cloth for yourself too!

Lots of toys and snacks are a must for long flight with small children. Also, it helps to have an extra seat for themselves. My girl loves to sit down and buckle up like mommy, so holding her on my lap was a nightmare. Lucky for us, people next to me always willingly gave up their seat and looked for empty seat somewhere else. There are so many little things to consider when travelling with small children. I couldn't write it any better than Rachel from Small Notebook, please read her Tips to Travel Overseas With Babies and Kids and all the related posts linked from it.

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