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Monday, January 10, 2011

international travel alone with a toddler...part 1

M and I went ahead of F to the US because we wanted more time with Family and Friends.

Part 1 Preparing...

This was not my first international flight nor M's. But our first "sans" F and originating from European side (which is much more difficult since we are not flying overnight like the from the US therefore we are awake most of the flight).

First I did some research on packing, what food to bring and how to occupy a baby during the flight...

PACKING - 3 words LIGHT LIGHT reason is because we are alone and second reason is in order to bring back A LOT of stuff from the US ;-)
  • Checked luggage - We only packed enough clothes to get through one week since we will be staying with family and a washing machine is readily available. I checked a small suitcase (carry on sized). I brought the smallest bag possible because when you arrive in the US you have to go through customs with all of your luggage in hand. No matter if you have a connecting flight or not (more to come on this in Part 2). F is bringing the large suitcase (virtually empty) so we can fill it up with clothes, English books etc...
  • Carry on luggage - I choose a backpack and a long strap purse in order to stay hands free to catch a runaway toddler! Following is what I brought on my carry on luggage
    • Computer with Chargers and adapters
    • Video/MP3 Player in case I need to calm down a little one (I have checked my plane only has overhead monitors)
    • Blanket
    • Sweaters
  • Stroller - we rolled our stroller all the way to the gate and checked it at the gate
  • Car Seat - we decided it would be best if my sister bought one in the US and we kept it there for future visits (or future children!)...M still has about 15 more lbs until he grows out of this new car that will be at least 1 year we hope. We plan to visit the US at least 2 times per year so a $85 car seat is worth it in my eyes. For others who do not have this situation you could rent one with rental car agencies OR I have read you can rent car seats and other products (pack and plays) from the web in most major cities. If you are going to Paris you will not need a car seat...Public transportation is wonderful!
M's TOY BAG - After researching how to occupy a baby/toddler on a plane I decided to make M a Toy Bag. Below is what I put in the bag. The trick is to bring out one toy per hour.
  • Playmobil 1-2-3 figurines - they are intended for 18 month + children...there are some other versions for older kids
  • Duplo/Legos - also for under 3 years old
  • Modeling Clay - I was going to bring Playdough but the container is just too big...I know they do sell smaller versions. But I had some generic clay individually packaged so I brought 2 of them.
  • Activity Sticker Book - In French for 2 years plus but we did a few lessons and he did pretty good
  • Colored Pencils and Paper - I choose pencils because I find that they are less messy...and I don't want to worry about him drawing on the tray table or window etc...
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Toy Car
  • Magnetic Fishing Game (I just brought a 1/4 of the game)
  • Small books
  • Milk - 1 liter of pasteurized milk
  • Baggy of Cherrios
  • Baggy of Dried Cranberries
  • A few Bananas
  • A few Clementines
  • Some kid cookies (has less sugar)
In my next post I will let you know how the flight went and a few tips that I discovered...


    1. Hi-- I've just finished reading through your blog, and I'm looking forward to reading more. My family lives in the southern US, and we hope to move to France in the next few years, and we're trying to figure out how to make it happen. I'm very interested to read about the experiences of others who have made the move.


    2. Kristi

      Thanks for reading! If you have any questions let me know