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I’ll never forget the day I came home from work and saw the lights still on in the house. I work evenings so I usually don’t get home until midnight. My wife works a “normal” shift so she is in bed long before midnight… except on this one particular night. I walked into the room and there she was… in the bathroom. She was being sneaky; both hands were behind her back. I have amazing trust for this woman… most guys would have ran if they saw a woman in the bathroom with both hands behind her back. But not me… in her cute little voice she goes, “You’re good at forecasting things…what are you doing 9 months from now?” as she revealed a positive pregnancy test. So many thoughts went through my mind. Of course I was excited, but I was also nervous. Would we still be able to travel with a baby?
Three weeks later we were headed to The Dominican Republic. We hadn’t told anyone about our soon-to-be bundle of joy, but we could hear the conversations.
“Oh, you’re having a baby? Good luck traveling” … “Your travel days are over.”… “No one likes a screaming baby on a plane, so you shouldn’t travel with a baby.”
It wasn’t over… You’re never too old, too pregnant, or too much of a parent to travel. Two months later we flew to Ireland, Scotland, London and France.
Building up to that trip was so much fun. There was a human growing in Melissa’s belly and we were about to take an amazing trip across The Pond. We heard more of what will for now be known as “The Talk.”
“Travel as much as you can now…you won’t be able to travel with a baby.” “Enjoy the babymoon… you won’t be traveling much after she’s here.”
Here’s the thing, Melissa and I are travelers. There is never a time when we aren’t thinking about or planning our next adventure. And each trip is different. It can be a winter ski trip, a summer beach trip, a cultural experience trip, or a trip to see our families. Melissa’s parents are in the booming metropolis of Odessa, Texas. My Dad lives in the shadows of Washington D.C., and my mom lives in the friendly beach zone of Wilmington, North Carolina.
In other words…we have to fly… a lot.
Our temporary hiatus from traveling
I will admit that Winter 2015 was torture for me, a soon-to-be Dad. I love to ski… no really… I love to ski! If I could live in a ski town, I would. (I still have 30 years to convince Melissa that Jackson, Wyoming is a wonderful place to retire.) Anyways, I took the season off from skiing. Melissa was 8 months pregnant in January 2015, and in February we had Avery.
Our first time to travel with a baby
It didn’t take long after Avery was born that we were ready for our first family adventure. We got a friendly surprise when I was called up to Minnesota in July to shoot a video for ABC. The trip had many purposes. I got to shoot a story that will air nationwide; Avery got to fly on her very first airplane; Melissa learned how to take care of a baby during a plane ride; and Avery got to go to her very first baseball game.
What I learned about traveling with a baby
Here is what I discovered: Airlines LOVE when babies fly on a plane, especially for their very first time. Avery earned her wings that day… a Delta Connection EMB-175. Once we landed and taxied to the gate, Avery, Mom, and Dad were all allowed to go sit in the cockpit and have our picture taken. Dad was geekin’ out hardcore. Yes, I am an aviation nerd.
3 weeks later Avery was on another trip..this time to Costa Rica. Her very first international trip. Give a kid a window seat and they will look out in amazement.
A month later Avery was flying to Canada for Mom and Dad’s anniversary.
A month after that Avery was flying to Wilmington to see her Nanny.
In other words…in the first 10 months of Avery’s life..she has 2 passport stamps and a total of 4 plane rides under her belt.
How we travel with a baby
How did we do it? For starters, this was our life before we ever had Avery. It was a non-negotiable for us. We don’t expect Avery to love everything we do, but she has to be willing to attempt it.
As for the plane ride… here is what I discovered after walking her up and down the plane aisle when she started to fuss. MOST people are tolerant of an upset baby. Yeah, there will be a few that will give you dirty looks and act like THEY were a perfect little angel when they were younger. Truth is… we were all fussy babies at one point. I did have a comeback ready should someone say, ” Great, we’re sitting next to a baby. This outta be a fun plane ride.” A simple, “There are more flights going out that you can can take should this upset you.”
I never had to use it… but was ready.
While in flight I did notice that there is a considerable amount of noise on the plane if you sit behind the wing that can drown out a good portion of a crying baby. The engine noise can drown out the sound of a not-so-happy baby enough that those 5 rows or more away can hardly hear it. Now if you sit in front of the wing then it is quieter and the sound of an upset baby can be heard a little more. This is what first class is for.
In other words… for the first few years when you travel with a baby you may want to try going to the back of the plane for flights. And hey, that’s where the cheaper tickets are anyways. Money saver!
And it never hurts to buy a new toy for the flight when you travel with a baby. Make sure baby never sees the toy until you’re on the plane. It will give him/her something new, and for some, a happy baby means a happy flight.
How travel changed
One thing did change for me. The window seat… what had forever been my go-to seat was no more. But that may be a good thing.. seeing my daughter look out the window at a world with no borders and all looks peaceful below .. is a good thing.