What do sitting too close to the TV, saying Beetlejuice 3 times, and baby travel all have in common? They’re all things people say NOT to do, but they’re lying to you! Well to be fair, I’m not crazy enough to tempt Beetlejuice and I now wear glasses after a lot of TV watching as a child, but I’m still confident about the baby travel part.
Want to explore the world with your baby or simply survive visiting family? Pack your bags and don’t believe these 5 myths….
- Bring the entire toy chest to keep them entertained: Guess what? You’re pretty funny looking! And even better, you don’t require batteries or cords to be recharged, just the occasional night of sleep will do (tip: to increase volume on parent toy simply insert one adult beverage). Bring 1 or 2 small toys that you can attach to your baby so they have something to chew on during your intermissions and that’s all they need. And please, for the love of everything that is holy, do not bring the loudest light-up toy you own that will sing annoying songs and give your seat mate a concussion when its thrown at them.
- Pack like getting shipwrecked is an actual possibility: While flying, I often think about the possibility of ending up stranded on a desert island and having to make my case to the rest of the passengers why I shouldn’t be the one eaten (am I alone in that?). Nevertheless, I don’t let these nightmares affect my packing. Rae gets an outfit and a jammie per day and I try to bring tops and bottoms that can be used interchangeably in case one outfit gets destroyed. The only extras I always pack are a bathing suit, a sweater and a hat. She isn’t hosting the Oscars (yet) and doesn’t need a dozen costume changes.
- Buy all new travel baby gear: Unless you travel with your own personal Sherpa I highly recommend travel friendly gear. If you don’t already own the gear and don’t want to make the pile of baby stuff in your basement larger, simply follow these 3 easy steps: 1. Purchase chocolate 2. Ask your mom-friend if you can borrow her travel friendly gear while presenting her with said chocolate 3. Don’t break it. Shazam! Combining your mom tribe and a bribe results in magic. Also avoid bringing things like travel cots by simply choosing hotels that provide them free of charge or using baby furniture rentals in a variety of cities.
- Everyone will hate you: I absolutely expected to be treated like a leper while traveling with Rae, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. You want to restore your faith in humanity? Just travel with a baby and you will see generosity and kindness coming from the most unlikely of people all around the world. Are they partly being nice for their own selfish gain to ensure the baby doesn’t cry the entire flight? Probably! Was I one of those people before I had a baby? Definitely! But a smile and a helping hand are valued all the same regardless of motive. Just try to avoid getting any projectile fluids on your neighbor to ensure they don’t go postal on you.
- They’re going to get sick on the plane: Sure, planes are like flying incubators for germs, and that woman who just sneezed behind you might have been in contact with the Outbreak monkey, but there are ways to minimize the potential of baby SARS during your travel. Wiping arm rests down, cleaning their binky if it hits the nasty airplane floor, and keeping them under a nursing cover when they fall asleep on you are all easy ways to lower their germ intake. To date, Rae has been on over 30 flights and only gotten sick once (knock on plastic airplane tray), and that was from her dad who brought home the sniffles from work.
Don’t get me wrong; traveling with a baby can be a pain, but then again so can traveling with adults! I always find solace in the fact that regardless of what happens during a trip, I’ll never see these other people again. And if I do, I’ll just lie about it having been me with the screaming baby on their flight last month.
Now this is all good and fun since Rae is less than a year old and not yet a rebel without a cause. I’m sure there will be plenty of other travel realities once she is a toddler, because as Jim Gaffigan says, “Traveling with 3 and 4 year olds is like transferring serial killers from a prison, you have to be aware at all times”. But for now, as the under appreciated American cinematic masterpiece of the 90’s Baby’s Day Out said, “no bib, no crib, no problem!”
Now stop making excuses to deny yourself a well earned vacation just because you’ve got a baby and explore the world! Just don’t say Beetlejuice while sitting 3in from the in-flight entertainment screen.