Sunday, October 28, 2018

Tips for Travelling with a Baby (18-24 Months)

This is it. Our last set of free flights with Adventure Baby. We really maximized our opportunities over the past two years and are staggered by the numbers she's accumulated:

Flights: 28
Airports: 19
Countries: 8
Continents: 4

Thank goodness we didn't have to pay for any of those!

Our Thanksgiving trip this year, coming in a month before her second birthday, was quick and filled with good-quality family time. There are only a few things we wanted to share that may be helpful if you're travelling with a little one who falls in this age gap.

Before Your Trip
We spent a fair bit of time in the two weeks leading up to our trip talking about planes. We enthusiastically pointed them out in the sky, we read books about planes, and we talked through exactly what would happen on our trip from leaving our house to arriving at Erin's parents' place. This book: Hello, Airplane! by Martha Day Zschock was especially helpful. We talked about how Baby would have her own backpack that would go through the security scanner like a train (choo choo!) including Bunny. We even described the exact snacks she'd have on the plane...She was super prepped for the experience. The airport was an absolute breeze. It was the first time we didn't take a stroller. She wore her own backpack and walked herself to the gate. Craig boarded first with our bags and Erin and Baby waited until the very end, running around, watching the planes, and significantly cutting down the time aboard waiting before the plane took off (what we always find is the worst part of the journey).

During the Flight
We found this to be the EASIEST flight we've taken so far with Baby. She was so much easier to entertain and she understood that us being on the plane was a temporary situation. She also understood that we were going on the plane to see Grandma, Grandpa, and her cousins, so that really motivated her through the journey. Having her on our laps was no problem at all. One of the biggest challenges we find with a lap infant is how difficult it is to access your stuff. But at 22 months, Baby could hop down, crawl under the seat and pull out things we asked for. It was super handy!

We did a short play when we first got on before the plane started to move, then watched out the window for take-off and said "up, up, up!" as we rose into the air, which she loved. We had a snack with lots of food that takes a while to eat like Cheerios and blueberries. Then she played some more with her toys. This was the first time we had downloaded a couple of tv shows on our tablet so we cuddled and watched a bit of t.v. Then we changed her into her pj's at her normal bedtime, read a few stories and told her she'd have a short sleep on the plane before we got there. There was a little protesting but she eventually got to sleep for about 45 minutes before landing. We used our usual Sleep Sounds app to help her fall asleep.

What We Took
Her backpack held:
- Bunny
- 2 small board books and 2 small bath books
- Munch Mitt bag filled with tiny Robert Munsch stories
- Paper and washable crayons
- Buckle Toy
- 2 small bath toys (on the way home she also had the 3 Boon ducks her cousins had given her)

We also had a couple of games downloaded on our tablet which she played on the flight home instead of watching t.v.

The quality family time we got was priceless. We're so glad that we were able to squeeze in this last trip "home" before we have to start paying for Baby's seats. We'll see you all on the "other side."

Quebec City

We had little in the way of goals for our three days in Quebec City other than to wander and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere. We strolled the streets, lingered over delicious French meals, and lounged in parks while Baby played. Each day had an outing with purpose and one without, and below are our highlights.

Les Chutes Montmorency
Erin had visited the falls on a few occasions, but never with the opportunity to climb up to the top. This worked well as a goal this time around because the easiest way to get there on public transportation was a direct bus to the subdivision just upstream from the falls. An easy walk through a park brought us to its summit, and we were able to enjoy viewpoints beside the falls, as well as the bridge across the top, all easily with Baby in the stroller. There was even a playground right beside the top of the falls where Baby could play. Time constraints stopped us from riding the gondola and walking around to the base of the falls as planned, but it was nevertheless an enjoyable outing.

This babe has no fear!
The Quebec City-Levis Ferry & Rue du Petit-Champlain
Someone was pretty stoked about the ferry ride
a.k.a. "water train...choo choo!"
Craig hoped to get the iconic water view of Quebec but we hesitated to spend the time and money on a boat tour. Instead, we crossed the river on the ferry, which provided similar views for a fraction of the time and price. The moody skies highlighted the hills in the distance, and made the gorgeous Chateau Frontenac look all the more impressive.

On our walk down to the docks, we loved having Rue du Petit-Champlain to ourselves. Most of the shops and restaurants were still closed up tight and the early morning quietness was intoxicating. Baby showed off her skills climbing down stairs, and we took the Funicular back up, another first for Erin.

La Grande Allée
No visit to Quebec is complete without walking La Grande Allée. The city was in the midst of setting up for its St Jean Baptiste celebrations, so the best section was closed to traffic and we were able to fully enjoy the tree-lined street with gorgeous stone walk-ups, and festive atmosphere. (Baby's favourite part was watching the horse and carriage rides clip-clop past us).

We bid Quebec goodbye with happy hearts and full bellies and look forward to our next chance to visit in the future!

Tips for Travelling with a Baby (18 Months Short-Haul)

We've been around the world and back with our daughter but it's time for a trip a little closer to home. For our 17-day trip to Eastern Canada, we decided to fly with only carry-on items, so we felt it was worth a post to share our packing list and any tips we accumulated as we went. As half of this trip included a stay with family, we opted to bring limited clothes and toys, and did laundry every 5 days.

For more information on our long-haul flight with a 12-18 month old, click here.

Packing List
The great thing about packing for this trip was that we could look at the 14 day forecast and have a really good idea of the weather we were going to get. In all four of our destinations, it was looking hot! hot! hot! So we planned for sunshine and brought a couple of layers just in case. In the end, we had just enough space to pack some comfort foods for our week of travel in Quebec. That saved us from having to leave the touristy area to find a proper supermarket or drug store. Ditto for diapers.

Enjoying a Mom-and-Daughter
Crepe Date!
3 short-sleeved onesies, 1 tshirt
2 long-sleeved onesies
1 sweater
1 rain coat
3 pairs of pants of varying weights
1 dress, 1 romper, 2 skirts
3 pairs of socks
1 pair of runners, 1 pair of soft soled sandals
1 sunhat

1 washable Kushies bib
4 wash cloths
2 sheets for the pack n play
1 change pad
1 travel wipes container
35 diapers (this got us to Erin's parents' place so we didn't have to find her size while travelling in Quebec)
Pack n Play
Stroller (which we also used as a high chair)
Hand sanitizer
2 cloth cooler bags
1 small baby bowl, 1 spoon, 1 fork
1 stainless steel milk cup, 1 water cup
Medical supplies (D-drops, Baby Tylenol, nail clippers, saline drops, baby Polysporn, etc)

7 pouches in varying flavours (1 for each day of travel in Quebec)
1/2 bag of Love Child Ducks
1 tiny tupperware full of Love Child Owlies, 1 of Toodle O's
7 Love Child Oaty Chomps in varying flavours
5 Mum Mums

With such little space and time planned in the AirBnB, we brought only toys that could be used as entertainment on the plane and train. In Quebec, we supplemented by everyday household items like coasters, a travel toothbrush holder, tupperware containers, and the occassional Youtube video of trains on our tablet, as well as watching for dogs and buses out the window. :)

2 small board books, 1 small bath book
2 Little People
1 buckle toy
1 Munch Mitt bag filled with 6 tiny books
and yes, the Valentine's Day card from Gram that has now travelled to Asia and back with us!

There isn't much new to say about where we stayed. We continue to enjoy AirBnBs for their separate sleeping space for Baby and kitchen facilities. What absolutely amazes us is how quickly our daughter adjusts to new living situations. Within less than 24 hours, she knows the geography of our neighbourhood and can identify our building and unit as "home." She knows which room is hers and where Mama and Dada sleep (tours upon arrival of a new accommodation continue to be very important in establishing comfort and an understanding of where we will be while she's sleeping).  It's comforting to realize that babies adjust quickly, and adapt to their surroundings. Hopefully that helps quell some reservations of the dreaded "change in routine."

We will reiterate once again that timing is of upmost importance to our child when planning a travel day. It all comes down to her nap (yes, we are FINALLY on a one-nap schedule, folks!). We left for the Quebec City airport hours before we needed to be there because that's what worked best with her routine. We arrived, checked in early, got through security, and played in their Family Zone. We had enough time to attempt a nap in the stroller at her usual time before boarding, which meant that we could use food and toys as entertainment on the plane. Much better than us trying to convince her to nap on our way here! You know your child best so work with your regular daily routine as much as you can to make it a smooth travel day.

As always, our favourite part of travelling is the time we get to spend as a family. This trip included sharing some old memories but also building new ones together. All the feels here!