In our pre-baby days, my husband and I traveled quite a bit. We typically flew about 4 times a year, with 1 or 2 of those trips being international. When we decided to have a baby, we knew our travel would slow way down, but we also knew we wouldn't be scrapping it altogether. Or we thought we knew that, until we realized how much planning, packing, and coordination it takes just to get from the house to the car. Something as seemingly simple as a run to the grocery store can be an ordeal with a baby in tow, so the thought of a long trip with our kiddo along doesn't exactly scream relaxation. But alas, sometimes we have to face our fears.
We spent the last week visiting family in Minnesota, flying there and back with the little one on our laps. Those tiny ass airplane seats get even tinier when you're sharing one, but I’m very happy to report that both flights were totally uneventful and we returned home with our sanity intact.
Did I just get really lucky, or am I a travel mastermind? The latter, obviously, and I'm ready to share my secrets. Here's how to survive being stuck on a plane with your kid (without having to make any of those "I'm sorry for procreating" goody bags):
Make an exhaustive list of everything you could possibly need. Check it, double check it, and triple check it when you pack. Check it once more just before you head out. Then, leave yourself enough to time to turn around at least twice on the way to the airport for things you still managed to forget.
Wear a crap ton of jewelry. Your baby will have way more fun trying to rip off your necklace or steal your bracelet than playing with actual toys.
As for the rest of your wardrobe, try to look as tired and haggard as possible. This may win you a small measure of sympathy from the people seated around you, which may in turn prevent you from having to bitch out anyone who side eyes your crying baby later.
Packing a backup outfit for your baby is a no-brainer, but bring one for yourself too. You don't want to spend half a flight wondering whether the mysterious wet circle on your chest is a product of your own boobs or your child's butt.
Bring like 50 pacifiers. Maybe 70. Or however many you can carry. They'll be zooming out of your baby's mouth like missiles, and no amount of soap and water will make one seem clean again after you've fished it out from between two seat cushion/float devices. Alternately, just be way smarter than me and invest in a pacifier clip.
Don't panic if your kid has a meltdown or God forbid, a diaper blow-out. Everyone on that plane cried and crapped their pants in public at some point during their life, and at least a few of them were probably in college at the time.
And this last one is the most important one of all:
Do not under any circumstances check the time. You really don't want to know how much longer this flight is going to last.