Little S and I flew from H-town to Montreal to visit some friends last weekend.
C was traveling for work so we just planned on meeting there.
The whole plan sounded much easier in theory than in practice.
Once I realized how few hands I had and how many I actually needed for all of the things, I made sure that I packed clothes + diapers + shoes for the little and myself for C to take along with him. The cooler weather still hasn't truly hit Houston the same way it has Canada, so I figured we wouldn't miss anything I had sent in that suitcase.
This wasn't her first flight so I totally felt like I "had it together" going into the situation.
I mean, doesn't that lady in the picture look totally together?
(I really should have done a before and after picture. Not kidding when I say I looked like a totally.different.person at the end of the day.)
Since I apparently forgot that this kid changes on the daily and had planned the timing of flights based on the lessons I had learned while traveling with her earlier this year I was completely thrown for a loop when I realized that those plans were completely inapplicable this time around.
Fun life lesson when traveling alone with a toddler that has all of the feelings all of the time.
Although there were a few moments (like when I thought I had lost our passports and my phone or when she screamed for the last hour of our flight home) that made me wonder if I would ever fly alone with her again, overall she did really well and the trip was about as smooth as it was ever going to be.
Here are some DO's and DON'Ts that I learned a long the way :)
Take your umbrella stroller. I was able to keep her under control once she was "over" being carried in the Ergo. I also used it as a makeshift luggage cart if she was in the mood to be carried. Win.
Have lots and I mean LOTS of favorite snacks. We had a minor major meltdown when we ran out of gummy snacks. The people sitting around me on the plane probably would agree with me when I say make sure to you have extras for your extras.
Let the tiny human run around the waiting area. I can't guarantee that this will tire them out enough to get them to sleep on the plane (didn't work for mine), but they are at least burning some energy. We ended up riding the conveyor belt sidewalk thing no less than 100 times during one of our layovers.
Have a variety of toys available. I packed a ton of new things that had components I knew she would love (stickers, blocks, etc) and would introduce them throughout the trip...giving me about 20 minutes of entertainment time when walking around or looking at airplanes wasn't doing the trick.
Use a cross-body bag or backpack. I made the mistake of taking a regular shoulder bag and it kept slipping down my arm which was just plain annoying.
Assume that because you are taking two sets of headphones, you will be able to use one pair. The tiny human will takeover both of them and you'll be cool with it because they are happy + quiet and that is everything you will ever want while traveling with a toddler. Well, that and maybe some coffee :)
Get frustrated. Give yourself plenty of time to get from Point A to Point B - that way you don't have the added element of time stressing you out.
Feel bad if you don't pack those cute little in-flight packages that are all over pinterest. I've flown near screaming kids a bagillion times and have never gotten one of those, so now that I'm traveling with my own kiddo I don't feel too bad that the people around me aren't getting them either. Plus, the last thing in the world I need is extra stuff to haul around. Sorry, not sorry.
Stop traveling. Trust me, the thought will cross your mind. Don't give in.
Flying solo with a little one is no easy task and it isn't always pretty. However, you definitely will feel super empowered once you get through it!