Thursday, April 2, 2015

A West Coast trip (+ some tips on flying with a baby)

Last week we flew out to the west coast and visited Portland and Seattle.

It was a work trip for H. and I - I had a conference in Portland, and he had one right afterwards in Seattle. Of course, we brought L. along. When both your parents work in academic publishing and travel to conferences, how long until you attend your first conference? Well, I guess about 21 months...

This was an end-of-day visit, not booth staff.

We managed to balance work and fun for L, attending the zoo in Portland (big hit!), seeing airplanes, trucks, buses, choo choos and all variety of construction vehicles of interest to tots.

L. loves airplanes, so loves flying. Good thing, seeing as this was flight numbers 19 & 20 for him. And, most likely, his last 2 free flights before he turns two and we have to purchase a seat for him (either I need to have a lot more money or we will need to travel a lot less going forward).

Not to venture too far into mommyblogging, but I have been asked how to handle their babies on planes, since we've become experts at it. So, let me offer a few tips:

Flying with a baby is far easier than flying with a toddler. I'd say that until about 1 year, it was pretty easy to fly with L.

1. There's the basics - nurse or bottle during take off and landing (the swallowing helps their ears).
2. Flying at about bed time works best for us - he'll sleep for most of the flight (note to baby-holder: go to the restroom first).
3. Aisle seats are key so you can easily get up and out of your seat if necessary.
4. Time zones! Well, going west I recommend a bedtime flight. When you arrive, wake them up and let them stay awake awhile, then have a "second" bedtime. That's worked for us. Flying east - red eye. They are miserable for you, but easiest for them.
5. Every airline we've flown has allowed us to gate check a car seat, a stroller, and bring a carry on for the baby (in addition to your own).

I have some recommendations for ways to amuse your toddler on a plane too, and I will share those in another post (stay tuned!).

L. is also recently obsessed with cars. We don't have a car, and don't spend much time in them - but on this trip we did, and L. loved every minute of it. We basically bribed him with a promise of going in the "vroom vroom car" (it worked). Only a kid that spends as little time in cars as this one could possibly love being in them as much. When we got home and had to take a bus to daycare he was practically in tears.

This was L's third time in Seattle. My brother and his family live there, so it was nice to spend time we them. We visited the Pacific Science Center (which has a toddler section!), the amazing Goodwill, and visited my best friend's new baby. All in all, a successful trip.

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