I made it back from my travels and I am ready to tell the tale!
It was my first time travelling with a baby (my eight month old son) and I admit I was pretty nervous. But fear not! It was actually fine.
I did make quite a few mistakes and learnt a lot on my way over though, so here is a list of some of the most important things:
- I had problems with my baggage allowance. I flew with RyanAir and paid extra to have a bigger baggage allowance, since I needed all the extra kgs I could manage to account for my baby’s things. Well, I was an idiot and thought I’d paid for a 30kg allowance. It turns out there is no such thing, but it is in fact 20kg. I was faced with a 100 Euro fine upon arrival (10 Euro for every kg over the limit) so I had to frantically play luggage tetris with my hand luggage in an effort to get the weight down. I was travelling with a friend so she was able to give me a hand during all this. Starting the holiday stressed is never clever!
- I had also paid extra to bring additional baby equipment with me. With RyanAir, you’re allowed to bring one item (such as a pram) and one baby bag on top of your normal hand luggage allowance, however I knew I’d need a car seat and travel cot whilst in Italy so I paid the appropriate fee to bring these items with me. In the end, my aunt was able to borrow the equipment from her niece so I thankfully didn’t need to bring anything extra with me. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the check-in desk couldn’t see that I had paid for these additional items (I tried to argue with them that since I had indeed paid for this equipment, but didn’t have it with me, I should be allowed to check in my suitcase without any additional charges. They wouldn’t, hence point number 1 above). So, helpful tip: screenshot everything. If you’ve paid for any additional things, make sure you can provide evidence of it. My booking didn’t specifically mention what I’d paid for, so I was stuck. Funnily enough, the check-in desk on my way back home could see what I’d paid and proactively asked where these items were so they could label them accordingly.
- Don’t travel alone. I went over to Italy with a friend and returned with my husband (he had to work so couldn’t go over at the same time as us). I’d initially thought I could do it on my own, but I was so incredibly glad to have someone with me when the time came. It would’ve been so much more stressful trying to keep an eye on the luggage and the baby, and making him food, changing his nappies and generally doing everything else that’s required with looking after a baby along with everything else that you need to do at an airport. Simply having someone to keep an eye on the luggage and baby whilst you go to the toilet is very helpful. If nothing else, having company will mean you can share some of the stress.
- Make sure your hand luggage is easy to carry. I am used to travelling with a cabin-approved suitcase (i.e. a little suitcase on wheels) but I have learnt that a backpack would’ve been a lot more practical. Since I was travelling with a friend, she was able to help with my hand luggage whilst I pushed the pram. Attempting to cross the airport doing both things at once would’ve been interesting to see…
- Book an aisle seat near the front (or back) of the plane. On my way over I had an aisle seat for row 2 of the plane, which was amazing as I could get up anytime (well, when the seatbelt sign was off!) and walk about at the front of the plane with Harry without annoying anyone else. For the way back, I didn’t book my seat early enough and there weren’t any aisle seats left!
- Relax! I was a lot more relaxed during my return journey, and as a result Harry was a lot more settled. Of course, a baby can have a meltdown at any time, but generally speaking a relaxed parent = relaxed baby.
These are the main lessons I will be taking with me the next time I board a plane with my little baby! Do you have any tips?