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Bavarian Summer: Final Preparations for the Little One

As I’m typing this, I currently have seven child travel related tabs open in Google Chrome. Baby M has turned the corner on her illness giving me the confidence that she’ll be ready to leave later this week – so now it’s time to plan. We’ve got a one hour domestic leg, two hour layover, and then a seven hour transatlantic segment to get ready for. Let’s do this.

Ready to go!
Ready to go!

Conveniently, awty just wrote up a nice little packing guide (so make that eight tabs, ask my wife if you think I’m exaggerating). I wish I was that organized, but I’m not. Instead, I just wanted to share some of my thought process about packing and getting ready for Little M to make her second trip to Europe. I’ve been running through different ideas in my mind so I think putting them down in writing will help me sort them out – plus I’d love to hear people’s opinions (no flaming!).

Contents of Little M’s Carry On Bag of Distractions

Yes, we will be bringing a diaper bag with diapers, wipes, two changes of clothes, and a changing pad. But that’s not the stressful part – the stressful part is what to put in THE bag. AKA, what are we going to bring to distract her and prevent a meltdown. As a little aside, our travel habits unfortunately don’t give us enough practice to come up with any tried and true methods (not that there is even such a thing). Our trip to Italy was super smooth, but we haven’t been on a flight for more than two hours since. No matter how she does on this flight – she’s going to be totally different by the time we’d be able to apply any of the lessons learned from this one. Such is life. So not only do I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I never even get to apply lessons learned. Hopefully my thought process is helpful to some of you, but I’ll never claim to be a Mommy Points or Trips with Tykes or Have Baby Will Travel or if I continue to list my open tabs this will never end. But hey, at least I’m a dad operating in this space. Oh wait.

Our preliminary staging area. Note: Irish Spring not for baby :P
Our preliminary staging area. Note: Irish Spring not for baby 😛

Anyway, here’s what we’re thinking of bringing to distract M:

Comestibles: String cheese, crackers, Cheerios, milk, water

Toys: Legos, stacking cups, wrapping paper

Other Distractions: Drawing (scribbling) supplies, airplane amenity kits, stickers, books, pictures of family (printed)

911: Tablet, Lufthansa in-flight entertainment

Writing down that list, I’m not even sure it’s enough! But we still have a few days. Anyway, we just “practiced” unwrapping things with Little M to try the “give presents for good behavior on planes” trick. I don’t think she gets it, whenever she unwraps something she just gives it back to us to wrap again… She’s a big fan of legos (duplos) although that generally consists of building the longest row of blocks she can make; I sense lost legos in our near future. She is pretty good at getting distracted for long periods of time – the key is having the right distractions; like, she can take a spoon and pretend to move liquids from one cup to another for like ten minutes straight. Mental note: bring some spoons.

I'm not even sure we put a present in there...
I’m not even sure we put a present in there…

Anyway, she hasn’t really watched TV before so I’m not even sure how she will react if we show her some stuff. She sees me on my computer headset all the time so whenever she puts headphones on she starts talking…don’t think she totally gets the concept yet. But at the very least I think she will enjoy looking at pictures on the tablet and on our phones.

What to do about food?

Our first departure is at 1:05 PM for a short flight. This could be great or it could be a disaster. Our current plan is to bring lunch for M to the airport, feed her there, and hope she naps on the flight (it falls right into her daily naptime). Of course, if she’s still a bit under the weather, all bets are off. Our next flight takes off right around dinnertime, so I’m thinking of bringing a second meal just in case she rejects everything on the plane. Honestly, she is not a picky eater at all – except when sick. So best to have a back up plan I think.

Dr Brown's 8 oz bottles
Thought we were long done with these, but they do the trick for milk storage

Milkwise, according to my rudimentary knowledge of calculus, we need to bring approximately 10 gallons of milk for the 12 hours of travel. OK, I’m probably going to round that down to like 24 ounces. Three weeks ago it would have been 16 but she has been on a milk binge lately. Aside from that, I think we’ll just need to bring a bunch of  crackers as snacks, maybe animal crackers if we are at Defcon 2. I think we should be fine because there should be a near limitless supply of bread in our cabin. Like any good toddler, M loves her some bread!

What about the stupid carseat?

Ack. Largest source of stress BAR NONE. Life was so easy when we had a carseat + caddy. Take it into the terminal, gate check both, continue your regularly scheduled programming. Now we have a separate carseat and stroller, and I can’t decide what to do!

If only she was a little bit shorter...
If only she was a little bit shorter…

Admittedly, I’ve gone a little loco about this entire situation. First, I bought one of these bad boys. I was like, hey, we’ll just check the stroller in, or maybe bring both and try to gate check both, and wheel M through the terminal with this like COOL PEOPLE.

Look how cool this is!
Look how cool this is!

Now I’m waffling – if I could guarantee that we could gate check both I’d do that, but there are no guarantees since that technically violates the rules. We are bringing our super cheap umbrella stroller though, so I think if necessary I’m more comfortable checking that in with regular luggage (in a garbage bag maybe?). Throw some diapers in that bad boy too. (A week from now I will write a post titled “My garbage bag ripped and we are now diaperless.”) But yeah, I’m still leaning towards dragging it through the airport on that thing. I can throw M in our Beco if she doesn’t want to ride shotgun.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for listening to my ramblings. The reality is, I know everything will be fine, and, oh yeah, my parents are coming so I’m not complaining. Still, this is why we never get to plan our trips anymore – prepping to bring Little M takes up way too much processing power! Better get to packing…

Other Posts in this Series

Introduction

Final Preparations for the Little One

Lufthansa First Class with a Toddler

Slow Days with a Sick Toddler

Sightseeing in and around Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Observations After a Week in Germany

Climbing to AlpspiX and Neuschwanstein Castle

Zugspitze and Mittenwald

Sound of Music Bike Tour in Salzburg

Lazy Sunday in Salzburg – not

Rainy Days in Berchtesgaden

Visiting Museums and Biking in Vienna

Food in Germany and Austria

Rating the Toddler Friendliness of Our Hotels

Lufthansa First Class Terminal – Good for Toddlers?

 

Joe
Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less
http://www.asthejoeflies@gmail.com

18 thoughts on “Bavarian Summer: Final Preparations for the Little One

  1. Great post. The wrapped up “presents” are underrated – you can also reuse the paper towel if you use one to wrap. Sounds ridiculous until you need paper products on a plane 🙂

    You guys are going to have an awesome time. Regarding gate checking two pieces, I’ve never had an issue doing it domestically. I’ve never tried it international, though. Please do keep in mind that some airlines/airports do NOT return your stuff on the jet bridge when gate checked. We flew BOS-CDG-FLR this winter and the gate-checked stroller was not available at CDG. I’m not sure what airports/airlines don’t return gate checks until baggage claim, but that sounds like something I’ll eventually need to research and write up.

    1. Oh yea when we went FLR-AMS last year I had to explicitly request the stroller be available in AMS and they put some other special tag on it. Good point!

  2. Thanks for the shout out! Sounds like you are asking all the right questions and that is half the battle. A few thoughts – if you aren’t using the car seat on board, why not just check that at the beginning of the trip and use the stroller only for getting to your gate? Are you worried about damage? If so, buy a cheapo one (Cosco Scenera) for just travel. If it gets dinged, no big deal. Same calculus as the cheapo umbrella stroller. You can buy protective bags for both strollers and car seats to help with cosmetic damage like grease stains.

    A few other thoughts for THE BAG: if you live near a Target (or a Dollar Store), get there asap. There is serious inspiration in the Target dollar section. One product I like – “gel clings” that you can stick and restick to windows. Works really well for planes for the toddler set. Other ideas: silly putty, wikki stix, pipe cleaners, and triangular crayons (don’t roll off tray table).

    Hope your daughter makes a speedy recovery and have a great trip!

  3. I see that you’ve already bought the car seat mover thing, but here’s a tip for how to move a car seat through the airport with (relative) ease without having to buy yet another baby item.
    Flip the car seat over the top of one of your carry-ons so that the bottom is facing up and it nests over your luggage. Next, connect the car seat latch straps to themselves (in the rear facing configuration, so they are long enough) and use it to hang over the luggage handle. You can then use your carry-on to carry your car seat for you. For an infant seat, just use the stroller handle. Your child will obviously then have to ride in the stroller.
    We’re headed to Europe, five cities, for three weeks in August with our three children (4mo, 2, 4) and are skipping car seats entirely. They really are a giant pain to transport even with the tip above. Two umbrella strollers, an ergo baby carrier (seriously, ditch the bjorn, the baby doesn’t want to dangle from their crotch looking away from you wondering where you are–it’s a baby), walking and mass transit is the plan. As with everything parenting, we’ll see if this was a good idea soon enough.

    1. Nice sounds like an awesome trip. Normally we would have ditched the car seat but we are renting a car for two weeks so that wasn’t an option. We’ll see how it all works out too…

  4. In my experience, most airlines can provide a bag to check a car seat at the check-in counter. You could probably get them to give you that bag for your stroller or car seat. The bags are much more durable than a garbage bag. At your destination, the bag can serve as a “dirty laundry bag.”
    You have some great ideas for occupying Baby M. Another suggestion is to put cheerios or raisins into a pill dispenser case – you know, one of those plastic rectangles with individual flaps/doors for each day of the week. If she has enough finger strength/dexterity to open the doors (after some seconds or minutes of trying), it’s a good way for her to play independently while providing the cheerios on a slow-drip IV to make them last longer.

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