Traveling with a 1-year-old
I was getting a serious travel itch when my mommy friend told me that some airlines provide bassinets for babies on international flights. Since the double-digit hour flight was my biggest fear of traveling with my 1-year old, the bassinet provided a glimmer of hope. Plus I thought, "now's the time to do it before he's completely mobile" and "let's take advantage of free airfare for under 2-year-olds."
With over 20 countries under my belt (half of which I credit to Semester at Sea; that's what really ignited my international interest), Europe had somehow escaped me. So, Europe was calling my name. I was also in need of some inspiration for a new Global Grub kit.
I'm excited to tell you all about my trip (coming soon), but first, I want to spill the beans about traveling with a 1-year-old (well 13.5 months, to be exact). In short, I highly RECOMMEND.
1-year-olds are more adaptable than I realized! I'm the Mom that uses a sound machine and dark room for all naps, but during the trip, my son napped on-the-go as needed, falling asleep on laps and in carriers in broad daylight and noise-galore. He also adjusted to the time changes better than us adults. I attribute this to him being so tired from all the days' events, that he was ready for a full night's rest when his environment was finally peaceful.
I'm glad we flew via British Airways, which proved to be pretty family-friendly. You can reserve the front section of a row, so there’s more space for them to “play” at your feet (bring those disinfect wipes!), not to mention more space for you too. They also have the aforementioned nice-to-have bassinets. Notably, BA seemed to have the most lenient max weight restriction at 27 Ibs. An obvious tip is to bring lots of favorite snacks and be okay with the fact that it's not going to be a healthy diet day you're proud of. There's also personal TV's and my son was surprisingly entertained (doesn't usually watch TV) by one of the many kid movies offered. He also played with some of the food tray cups, spoons, etc. Besides easy to pack items like stickers, you don't need to bring too many toys... It's amazing what a straw can do! Above all, the beauty of airplanes is that constant white noise and those personal TVs that everyone is glued to with their headsets ON.
Whether you love cruises or not, it's a convenient way to see multiple places while having a home base. We went on Norwegian because the itinerary and timing worked out, and they had a promotion where the 3rd person in your cabin is free, meaning baby boy's fee were some nominal taxes (I was surprised that many cruise lines charge for little munchkins, although maybe they're trying to tell us something). As a foodie, I will say that even though there were over 10 restaurant options to indulge in, the food was okay/good. But I wasn't going for the food on the ship, so it was fine. And I liked everything else about the Norwegian Epic, a floating city of 4,000 travelers visiting ports by day, and doing all sorts of things on board by night (drinks, live entertainment, pools with water slides, casinos, bowling, rock climbing, more drinks... you get the idea). There was even a little kiddie room that had a bunch of toys and other kids, to boot (probably because of the 3rd person free promo). If we could do it again, we would've tried to book a Haven Suite instead which is so much larger than our tiny cabin and includes a separate small room that would've been absolutely perfect for the little one. If you can swing it, I'd definitely recommend that!
Another huge game changer: my parents and brother came. We figured 5 adults to 1 baby was a winning ratio! It was awesome we all went together, not only for sharing quality time and unforgettable memories as a family (Italy, Spain and France aside, little one started walking on the trip), but WOW, they were each a tremendous help! They helped keep baby boy entertained (although beware of grandparents giving gelato and croissants whenever you turn your head). They even babysat for some much needed hubby-wifey time. They could also regularly be seen schleping around all our baby crap! Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have such an amazing family?
Back to baby crap, we overpacked baby gear. We didn’t need to bring the oversized hiking carrier or hook-on chair that we usually love to use. For baby "equipment," I recommending bringing: a carseat (no base but a travel bag with backpack straps and/or wheels would've been nice for easier transporting), basic umbrella stroller and a carrier, if you like using one (my boy loves the Ergo Baby).
I'm going on and on here, but the point is to encourage you to travel with your 1-year-old! If you have any other questions or additional advice to share, please comment below.
As for me, it's time to come out with a new Global Grub Kit inspired by my trip! Ciao for now!