Hello from Austin! I meant to post while we were in Raleigh/Durham last week, but instead decided to relax and focus on getting the girls back into a schedule after all the traveling. We had a few quiet days with friends and enjoyed ourselves very much in North Carolina!
Anyways, I wanted to let you know how our travel went with the 2 littles ones! We had to leave our house at 4:30 am Wednesday to make our early flight out of Vienna. Unfortunately, our cab to the airport was a no-show and we ended up driving ourselves. It wasn’t a huge deal, except we didn’t plan extra time to park and walk in, etc. Thankfully, the airport is a ghost town at 5 am and we flew through security and immigration without any issues or lines. Because the girls were so tired from getting up early, Juni slept nearly the entire flight to London in my arms and Elin spent the time watching Frozen on my Kindle. It was an easy, easy 2-hour flight!
The flight from London to Raleigh was 8 or 9 hours long and it definitely felt like it. Juni slept for about an hour on that flight in the bassinet and then nothing after that. As expected, she was wiggly and difficult to keep entertained while she was awake. Eric and I traded off every hour or so to give one another breaks from the constant movement. I expected the plane to have television sets in the back of every headrest with a nice selection of movies and cartoons for Elin (like every other overseas flight I have EVER taken!), but we were on an older plane and there was none of that. My kindle died about 3 hours in (no place to charge on the plane), and after that Elin was left with a couple of activity books and crayons to keep herself busy. She did well, considering the lack of entertainment and even took her own hour-long nap on the plane. All in all, it was fine. No screaming tantrums or embarrassing fits. In fact, several people told us the girls did wonderful, which was nice to hear. It would have been amazing to have some in-flight entertainment for Elin at least, but now I know not to expect anything for future flights and will prepare accordingly. After many trips now flying overseas with babies, I have few little pieces of travel advice I would share with any parent facing a similar flight experience in the near future:
- Bring Neutral Colored Baby Food for the Flight – If your child is still in the mushy baby food stage (like Juni), only bring really light-colored beige baby foods. In Austria, it seems like baby food comes in 4 colors. Bright orange, green, purple and beige. I only packed the lightest colored foods for the flight because, like most children, Juni spits up or burps up some food after almost every meal and I did not want to be sporting a bright orange stain on my outfit the entire day.
- Always Bring the Baby Carrier for Baby – I had no idea London doesn’t offer stroller service until we were checking into our first flight at the Vienna airport (like where they bring you your stroller from the plane so you can have it in the airport during layovers). We would have been in so much trouble if we didn’t have our baby carrier on us to backpack Juni around during our layover. I threw it in last minute and it was an absolute life saver. I also used it on the plane when I got tired of holding her on my lap and wanted to give my arms a break. I would just strap her on and chill.
- Enjoy the Breaks – Like I mentioned before, Eric and I took turns handling Juni on the long overseas flight. As difficult as it was to sit back and relax during my “time off” from her, I did. I plugged into the communal movie that was playing on the overhead tv and just zoned out. It was hard not to get wrapped up into what Juni was doing 2 seats away from me and very difficult not to micromanage Eric (lol), while he was struggling with her during his “time on”, but it was for the best. We each got time to relax and take a break before having to face another busy hour with her. It’s a concept we also take into everyday life with the girls. If one parent is handling a situation, the other usually stays out of it to avoid unnecessary arguments and stress. Tagging in and out of stressful situations (like a screaming colicky baby, for example) gives one parent a break and the other an opportunity to start fresh and try something new to help the situation.
- Get On Schedule ASAP – As in, get on the “time-zone-you-are-in” schedule. (This goes for everyone – not just kids!) If it’s afternoon when you get in after a long overseas flight, but 3 am where you are coming from, just forget it. Forget that it’s really 3 am for you. It’s now mid-afternoon! You really have to wrap your head (and your kid’s heads!) around that if you are ever going to get out of jet lag. The kids can have a nap, but not go to bed for good. We put the girls down for a nap once we got to our friends house, but we only let them sleep 2 hours. Afterwards, we woke them up and did our normal evening routine of play, dinner, bath and then bed. It wasn’t easy and they were really crabby that evening, but it paid off because they slept all night. (And so did we!)
We had a little traveling to do yesterday with a 2-leg flight from Raleigh to Austin. (It seemed so easy and short compared to the overseas adventure!) But now that we are in Austin, we are having a great time catching up with family and stuffing our faces with delicious American food. (Smoked BBQ ribs tonight!) I hope you have a great week and I will check back on Friday to update you on what we have been up to. xoxo T