Does a baby necessarily mean curtailing your travel schedule? No - or at least, not yet.
- story and photos by Grace Wilson
Our first major plane trip was an adventure to Hawaii a few months before that. My husband has family there, so we wanted to show off our new bundle. In the airport, you get all sorts of special treatment when traveling with a small baby. We were granted the TSA Pre-Check for every flight, which meant keeping our shoes on and not having to unpack our electronics, which was heavenly.
No questions asked about liquids because: baby.
It also turns out a pram-style stroller also doubles as an excellent luggage caddy.
The flight attendants will work to get you get the best seating – choose the first row if you can with plenty of legroom. (Read: Plenty of room for baby stuff.)
Also, no passengers really want to sit next to you for fear of the meltdowns, so you almost always have extra seats around to stretch out. On some flights, you can even request a bassinet.
The old wives’ tales are true about babies flying. Make sure the wee one is nursing or taking a bottle as the flights are ascending and descending to relieve the pressure on their little ears. Also, iPads and phones (with headphones for the kid) are key, and don’t worry about all the judging looks. Everyone will thank you later.
Once in Hawaii, we didn’t let having a baby in tow stop us from doing what we wanted to do. We went out for meals and shopped, of course, but we also went snorkeling on a tour boat and hiked up volcanoes.
When Pearl was one and a half, we took her and our pooch Presley to Mexico. Have you ever tried bringing a Chihuahua INTO Mexico? Of course, not. Who would be so silly? We got loving looks all through the airport, until we got our bags. I could see the palm trees swaying in the distance and my mouth was watering for a margarita when a guard tapped my husband on the shoulder and motioned for us to follow.
My husband, Christian, gave a slight smile as my eyes got big. We had a stack of paperwork from Presley’s vet in preparation for the trip, and now it was time to show these government officials we’re all up to snuff.
Have you ever been detained in a small room in an airport with a small dog and a one-year-old? Of course not.
The sea breeze slipped away; the air got hot and heavy. They seemed to enjoy making us wait, and I occupied myself by reading the paperwork the Mexican official had on his desk. There was a list of things he was checking for – at the top it read something like: “The animal shall have no fleas.”
All of the sudden I was itching all over. The guard came in and I recall holding Presley’s little paws so he would not be tempted to give a quick scratch behind his ears.
After a few questions, a stamp on a paper and a big sigh of relief, we were on our way to the hotel. Once there on the island, we saw the preferred method of transport was golf carts – just like home! Pearl and Presley knew the drill, and we strapped them in and took off to find the nearest frozen drink.
We’ve found that no matter where we go, for the most part our little family follows along just beautifully.
I will say that carting a baby around who doesn’t walk or talk is pretty easy. The true difficulties come later when they are walking and talking and forming their own ideas of what they want to do. Forget traveling across the country or filling her passport with stamps. Now that Pearl is two, we can hardly cross the railroad tracks without her demanding, “Go back home now!”
Her father, who has been to almost 80 countries, says this part of the world is his favorite. So maybe Pearl is simply learning early there really is no place like home.