When my oldest was 6 months old, we were living in London at the time and decided to take a 1 week trip to Italy. This trip ended up being a huge comedy of errors and we definitely have some advice we can pass on to everyone to avoid similar pitfalls.
1. Don’t choose the cheapest flight because it’s cheap: How many of us have made this mistake. Choosing a cheaper airport that’s far away, an airline that charges for every checked bag, a time that doesn’t jive with baby’s naps, or a flight with 2 layovers to save money. Unfortunately, we decided to take a cheap airline that charged us for every checked bag (so we carried everything on...including a pack ‘n’ play, stroller, baby food for the whole trip, and toys!). The airport was far away so we had to take a cab at 4:30AM and we still almost missed the flight.
2. Check all regulations for domestic and international flights (Even if you have looked before!): The baby food for the week was problematic in the carry on. The airport security stopped me and had me taste test every single jar (over 20 jars!)! We were of course already late so panic ensued. Would all of this baby food be wasted!? The answer is yes, but not before this crazy American in London was yelling at the airport personnel about how much money we were throwing away! Imagine that scene.
3. Come prepared with a change of clothes for each person: This can be incredibly important when you are relying on car rentals, bus, or train at the final destination. If your luggage is lost or your clothing is soiled due to a baby poo, pee, or food on the flight, you will be prepared! We arrived at the Pisa airport and took a bus to the train station. We arrived to a desolate train station and soon realized the trains were on strike. We didn’t think we were going to arrive at our hotel that evening and the temperature was HOT! My son was sweating more than he had in his entire life and the extra change of clothing came in handy for him! We ended up walking a few miles to another train station with all of our stuff and got on the last train out of Pisa to the Cinque Terre.
4. Make sure you have a stroller/carrier with you where your baby can nap/sleep due to flight/train/bus delays: Of course there are inevitable situations that come up when traveling that force a nap or bedtime while on the go. Many times we can plan for these, however, make sure you have a plan incase things don’t go the way you thought. Have an ergo carrier packed in the carry on or make sure that your stroller is gate checked so the airlines don’t lose track of your stuff!
5. BREATHE: The most important thing that we learned on this trip to Italy with our baby was that we eventually arrived! There were many panic attacks, but we think it’s safe to say from the picture above that all of the headache of travel was worth every delay and penny saved on the airline!
Best of Luck on your travels this season!