Here are 5 things I wish I knew about first time International Travel with a baby:
- It’s harder than you think. In a total of 11 hours flying, neither my husband or I saw one movie between us. I can hear you gasp. Yes. Not one! Don’t have any expectations about entertainment and you won’t be disappointed. If your baby does happen to sleep longer than a sleep cycle- go you! It might sound trivial (and perhaps it is) but those flights can feel like forever…
- Don’t pay for extra leg room– you already get it! If you’re lucky enough to fly on a big plane with a bassinet, and you get a bassinet seat, there’s HEAPS of leg room. They also seem to favour parents with infants and where they can, leave a spare seat between you and your partner. This is all the room you need as you can’t put the baby down on the floor anyway. Having flown now in the middle of the plane and at the front with the bassinet, we had no problems with either. I’m certainly glad I didn’t cough up any extra cash.
- For customs, you can’t use the super quick electronic scanning passport system with a baby (I know it has another name but i’m too tired to think and my brain doesn’t work anymore). You have to go see via a person/booth. You may get lucky and get ushered through the crew line (as we did on the way over) or, you may have to line up with everyone else (as we did on the way home). It doesn’t take that much longer, and in fact, can be just as quick. But don’t bother about scanning your passport for an e-card, there’s no point.
- Ask for extra pillows before you take off. They certainly help for feeding or a baby who wants to sleep in your arms (and not the perfectly adequate bassinet provided).
- Get on first. They always call families with children before business flyers, etc. Initially we thought ‘why on earth would we want to be on their longer than we need to?’ and then we found out why… you want your luggage close to you. When you have a screaming baby and you need Bonjella or a nappy or a toy fast, you don’t want to have to trek half way down the plane to find your overhead luggage. Getting on first means you have time to get set up, make sure everything is close and you know where it is, and you can settle in.