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Thursday, January 27, 2011

international travel alone with a toddler...part 2

The Airport and The Flight...

When we arrived at Roissy Airport (aka Charles de Gaulle) we went directly to ticketing.
TIP: The baby doesn't need to wait in line with you but does need to be present when you get to the front of the line as the Security Agent needs to see the passports as well as the Airline Agent.
The Airline Agent gave me a Access N1 which is priority through security. I was able to bypass the line and it was wonderful!

I brought with me 1 liter of milk and about 4 pom potes (apple sauce in 90 gram packages). I forgot to take out my liquids (personal as well as M's). I didn't realize until later but they didn't even check them at all! We placed all of our items on the belt and went through without any troubles.
TIP: A good idea is to keep the baby in the stroller until you have placed all your items on the conveyor belt (including coats, shoes and scarves). Then take the baby out and fold up the stroller and send it through the conveyor belt.
I walked through the metal detector with M in my arms but toddlers can walk through the metal detector alone. But since we were traveling alone I did not want M to go AWOL.

After passing security we found a place that M could run around before the flight (our flight departed at noon). I wanted to wear him out so after our lunch on the plane he would be ready for a nap. M found some friends to run around with.

We were one of the lasts to board. After take off M did not really eat well. He refused to eat or even try the pasta. But he enjoyed the bread, cheese and fruit. Since we bought a seat for M he was entitled to a full meal - if he was a lap baby it would depend on the generosity of the flight attendant. He did eat the snack (Pizza) they gave out before landing.

M was great the entire flight. He did not squirm or try to walk around the plane. I kept him occupied with the toys I brought for him but the most helpful was the Sticker Activity Book!
TIP: Bring out only 1 toy per not bring out all the toys at once

Nap time was a bit difficult since we didn't have much space. Luckily the 3 seats next to us were empty and after calming him down a bit (with a video of Lion King...yes had to bring out the big guns ;-) he was ready to stretch out.

Toys that worked for my 18 month year old and those that didn't:
  • Playmobil 1-2-3 figurines - YES
  • Duplo/Legos - NO (M was really into Legos at 12 months - 15 months but recently he doesn't seem to be into them very much)
  • Modeling Clay - NO (only because I brought a generic brand that was too dry on the return flight I am bringing only Playdough!)
  • Activity Sticker Book - YES most helpful (Stickers were special and could be reapplied multiple times)
  • Colored Pencils and Paper- YES (he is still small and had more fun putting the pencils back into the box than actually drawing ;-)
  • Pipe Cleaners - NO
  • Toy Car - Didn't need to bring it out
  • Magnetic Fishing Game- NO
  • Small books - YES
M really enjoys puzzles and trying to figure things out right now. For the return flight I'll have to find a few little toys he might enjoy better.

Getting through Immigration and Customs was a breeze as always. Since he was in his stroller and a bit drowsy. For customs I only checked one small bag so pushing his stroller and pulling the small bag was no problem. But trying to find the connecting flights terminal was a bit hectic at Chicago's airport. There weren't enough signs indicating where we should go. I had to ask but then it was a snap. I had M play again before our connecting flight. Then once on the next flight we settled in a watched the rest of Lion King. He fell asleep within 10 mins. And slept through until the flight landed.

In part 3 I will post about adjusting to the time difference.


  1. great tips that I wish I'd had the first time I travelled alone with my toddler. I'm glad the trip went well.

  2. Thanks Reb! I doubt I will do it again alone but at least I know I can handle it ;-)

  3. i will travel alone with my son 18 months after chrismas.... from erie, pa to vietnam, longest one 18 hours... i really worried

  4. @ dieu78 good luck with that...I sure hope your baby sleeps. Going back the other way is VERY difficult. So best of luck bring lots of MOVIES! As this works to calm them down for naps...the other toys are just to keep them occupied but when you want sleep just best to play a movie.