Secret Life of a Travelling Baby: CONCLUSION & SOLUTIONS!
Posted on 12 September 2018
Finally, we arrive to part three of the Travelling Baby Blog Series. It’s really long but I think it’s worth the read!
(YYZ -> MIA in March 2018, Baby Bjorn most essential travel item ever! 11 Months Old)
The next trip we took was a week vacation in March for Miami Music Week. Carlo had to work there all week so we figured why not! André and I tagged along and it was mostly just the two of us hanging out but we really enjoyed being in the sun in the middle of a cold Canadian winter season. The flight to Miami was a breeze because it was half empty as MMW takes place a week after Canadian March Break. We lucked out and had a row to ourselves and André had his own seat on the way there and home. The flight is the perfect length when travelling with a baby. 3.5 hours is very tolerable and manageable for both baby and parents. In the future, we will be doing family vacations with shorter flight times as it makes everything so much easier for everyone. We rented an apartment style hotel that was one bedroom with a full kitchen. This is necessary when you have a daddy who is out late nights working and a baby who needs to eat regularly. We went grocery shopping when we got there, however, we found that really challenging in South Beach. Maybe we just didn’t put enough effort in finding grocery stores, so we ended up with a lot of frozen entrees and not the best snack choices from Walgreens, gross. Luckily, I brought a ton of fruit and veggie packets for André and brought a bunch of pre-made muffins from home to hold him over. We ended up eating out a lot, specifically tacos lol, but that was the plan anyways. André and I woke up early every day went for sunrise walks each morning.
(Daily sunrise walks in South Beach! Brought the Uppa Baby Stroller but wish I didn't.)
We hit the beach a few times as well as the pool and just spent a lot of quality time together. This trip I decided to bring my larger Uppa Baby stroller even though I found it difficult in Costa Rica and didn’t really want to bring it, but I figured we’re still in North America so it shouldn’t be a problem. I was wrong! Walking down the busy streets in South Beach and trying to maneuver in the very busy restaurants was very annoying and challenging so I vowed from this point forward that I would never bring the huge stroller again. I did purchase a portable high chair that was amazing for travelling. I highly recommend the Summer Infant Portable High Chair. It even comes with a tray so babe can eat anywhere.
I brought my Baby Bjorn carrier as mentioned before that a baby carrier is 100% necessary when travelling and on vacation. We brought a cute pair of sound proof headphones since we planned to join Daddy at one of his day parties and we also brought the Nuna Sena Play Pen for André to sleep in since the hotel said they didn’t have any cribs online. Overall, we loved the trip to Miami, beautiful weather and super chill vibe with the fam. Mommy even got one night to party so that was fun!
(Visiting Daddy at a gig! Bjorn carrier and sound proof headphones!)
So, knowing everything I knew from all these previous trips I was still searching for the perfect travel stroller and some kind of device to make a bed for André on flights. We went to Buy Buy Baby to inquire about travel strollers and again I had it in my head that it had to be an umbrella stroller, but one that reclined all the way down so Dré would be able to nap in it. I didn’t consider any other type at this point… I just didn’t know the available options and didn’t really ask. Silly of me. We found an umbrella stroller by Joovy for $240 that reclined all the way down. I was really excited about it and thought I hit the jackpot! Unfortunately, André didn’t really love it because it’s still an umbrella stroller. The straps aren’t really comfortable for him, it’s very open and even though it reclined all the way down, he had zero interest in using it to sleep. So again, we were back at square one.
(Joovy Umbrella stroller... #fail)
I can safely say I finally found the best solution to create a bed for babies on planes and trains! I literally searched and tried everything, and I was even considering buying a small dog bed so he could lie in it on my lap! But thankfully I found an inflatable footrest with a pump that is placed right in front of your seat and you can put a blanket over it and it literally makes a bed for babe. I used it on the way to and from Europe in June and again on the train to visit my Grandmother in Montreal this past summer. It is the BEST $25 I have ever spent. If you do buy one, make sure you purchase the ones that comes with a pump. You would be completely out of breath and totally winded if you tried to blow one of these up without a pump. I will never travel without this gadget ever again. Best. Purchase. Ever!
(Kilofly Inflatable Foot Rest and Pump! Best thing of life!!!)
In June, we went back to Ibiza. As you know Ibiza is a second home to me and I had never been in the month of June so I figured while I still had the opportunity being on mat leave, let’s do it! We absolutely lucked out when we booked our flight because we chose to fly to Frankfurt, then connect to Ibiza. Beginning of June no one goes to Germany so we had an entire center row with 4 seats to ourselves. I always ask when we check in, and again when we get to the gate to double check if there is an open seat beside me, or request to be changed to one so André gets his own space without me having to pay. We have been super lucky thus far, but now that he’s a full toddler and 25 pounds I will be paying for him to have his own seat. At this stage, there is no way I could manage to have him on my lap regardless if it’s free.
(Just a few images of what it looks like to be prepared to travel with a baby/ toddler! Plane to Ibiza and Train to Montreal Summer '18 1 Year and 15 Months old)
I have gone into detail about preparedness in the past two blogs but I will mention once again that you need to be over prepared when flying with a baby. Bring lots of food, toys, loaded iPad and books, whatever it takes to keep your baby from disturbing anyone around him. We learned from our first trip to Europe that travelling for 15 hours and taking two flights was not a good choice with a baby. This time, we booked a hotel room at the Frankfurt airport and flew to Ibiza later that evening. It was tricky because we arrived at 7am, then went to the hotel, slept for a few hours, showered and then went back to the airport. Unlucky for us, the hotel I chose was the farthest one from the terminal even though it’s technically attached to the airport. We were walking for 45 minutes with all our bags to get to it and had to stop and keep asking people where it was! Needless to say, we were soaked and kind of wanted to cry when we arrived to our room. André slept in a crib they provided but Carlo and I were so wired we didn’t get much rest even though we were exhausted. If we do this again, we will fly somewhere and stay a few days instead of rushing to the next destination. It’s just too hard. Thankfully, our flight into Ibiza was also not completely booked so we managed to get a row of 3 to ourselves and André had his own seat once again.
(So tired but almost in Ibiza!)
Initially when I booked this trip to Ibiza I booked at one of our favourite condo-style hotels and I don’t really know what prompted me to check Air-BnB but I did. I came across this beautiful town house in Cala Tarida, an area of Ibiza that I have always wanted to stay in. So I cancelled my original plan and booked the villa. If only I knew then what I know now… this is a WARNING to anyone using Air-BnB and renting homes in places like Ibiza. The town home was lovely and in a beautiful little community, however, it was higher up on a mountain, about 200 meters from the beach and there was NO SECURITY. It was a community that was supposed to have 3 or 4 phases, but due to the recession only 1 phase was built. Long story short, bad people who specifically go to Ibiza to rob people know that tourists are always in these homes. We were robbed while we were IN THE HOUSE with my baby! They stole money, personal belongings, all our baby gear and OUR RENTAL CAR!!!!!!! Thankfully we were all ok and these people weren’t looking to hurt us, they just wanted to steal from us. I have to remind myself how lucky we are that we are all ok. This could have been so much worse. The problem here was that because we were staying in a house we got really comfortable. When we first arrived, we moved the kitchen table into a corner so André would have more room to play and I checked the window and the sliding door to make sure they were locked and they were. The house also had a roof top terrace where I would go up once André went to sleep to watch the sunset and have a mimosa. Our house was right beside the common pool and I think who ever was stalking us was coming into the house when I was on the roof to scope it out and they opened the window where the table was and made it look closed when it was actually now open. There were a couple of mornings where I went outside to eat breakfast with André and noticed all the pillows from our couch were on the floor but didn’t think anything of it. Looking back, I now realize that whoever was stalking us to rob us was jumping from the pool area, onto our mid-level balcony then jumping down into our little gated area onto the couch. Whoever did this was watching and stalking us for a few days before too. This is what bothers me most and is the creepiest part about this whole situation. Also, Carlo was travelling and working a lot so Dré and I were alone for a good portion of the month with zero security. Another thing that was really scary was the night we were robbed I heard what sounded like keys dropping so I went back down to see if it was Carlo. I turned the light on and had a really eerie feeling so I ran back upstairs. The next morning when we went to pack up for the beach Carlo asked me where I parked the car. I told him I always park in the driveway cuz I feel safer and he’s like the car is gone! So, what I heard was someone picking up and taking our keys. They actually removed the car key from the key chain and left me the key to the house. Nice robbers!!! We called the police and they told us to go file a report at the police station. We had to call a cab, I had no stroller, no baby carrier, yes, the stole my favourite Baby Bjorn baby carrier… and all of André’s shoes and toys! So, we had to take a cab with no car seat to the police station where we filed a police report and they laughed at us when we asked what they are going to do to find the car! It completely ruined our whole vacation vibe and we still had two weeks to go. I contacted the host right away and she did try and help us as best as she could. Luckily, she had home insurance and was kind enough to have someone come and file a report. We did get back about $3500 from everything that was stolen from us but her home insurance didn’t cover the rental car. I will tell you that this issue is STILL NOT RESOLVED and it is something that has caused a huge amount of stress for both Carlo and I. I have insurance through the Capitol One Aspire Card but we are still just sitting and waiting to hear the resolution to this. Such a buzz kill. Always make sure you have insurance if you rent a car, buy theirs or have third party. You never think this will happen to you but it did to us. I’m still in shock and it’s still really hard to process. We left the town house that night and went to the hotel that I originally booked and stayed in San Antonio for the last two weeks of the trip. My best advice to you all and what I will do from this point forward, always book at a hotel or condo-style hotel with 24-hour security, especially if you are travelling with a baby. What a mistake this was, but you live and you learn. Aside from all of this, the house itself was not child proof so we kept chasing André and having to watch his every move. He would turn the knobs on the stove and turn it on, he would open every cupboard and all the glass dishes were at his level, drawers with knives etc. were all in reach. I purchases these awesome child proof gadgets called Baby Houdini that keeps the cupboards and drawers locked and I was contemplating bringing them and didn't. Also a huge mistake! Our lives would have been so much easier if I did. They stick on and come off really easily without leaving any marks.
(Baby Houdini Child Proof Locks... $20 to save so many headaches lol! Bring them because you never know what the kids will get into!)
The stairs were also a total hazard and the floors are hard ceramic tile. Not up to North American standard that’s for sure. I like to cook for the family especially for André and the house didn’t even have a peeler. I know this sounds crazy but I have a way that I like to do things and when I went to ask at the grocery store for a peeler the had no idea what I was talking about! These Europeans are #savage peeling fruit with just a knife! Aside from that, all the knives were super dull and useless so I should have brought my peeler and a ceramic knife so I could function properly in the kitchen.
(Us on the rooftop watching the sunset probably getting robbed as we were taking these pics... Cala Tarida, Ibiza June 2018)
Once we were settled in the new hotel, we had to go buy everything for André. I found a baby store in Ibiza town and bought this amazing compact travel stroller by Baby Monsters that reclines all the way down, but is more like the Uppa Baby kind of style, not an umbrella stroller! André loves this stroller so much we would take morning walks all around the boardwalk in San An right beside the water and he would sleep for an hour as soon as we got going.
(Super awesome compact travel stroller by Baby Monsters, Spain. Reclines all the way down for optimal travelling sleep sessions! Sunset Strip, San Antonio June 2018)
It is super easy to open and close, it’s really small so was easy to maneuver in smaller places in Ibiza, and it is super comfortable for Dré. When you buy a travel stroller they have so many similar to the one I bought in Ibiza in North America. Graco, Evenflo, Chicco and Baby Trend are all examples of reasonably priced (between $200-$400) compact travel systems that I would 100% recommend for travelling. This stroller even saved us at the airport when normally André would be over tired and freaking out, he slept!
(On way back to YYZ... sleeping through the hard parts in the Baby Monsters stroller!)
Since my Baby Bjorn carrier was stolen I had to buy something to replace it. They only had a few options but I ended up buying the Ergo Baby 360. I 10000% prefer the Baby Bjorn over this carrier, however the one thing I do like about it is that it holds babies up to 45 pounds. The support is amazing and it doesn’t even feel like I am wearing him when I am since the weight distribution is mostly on your hips. But I still miss my Bjorn even though Dré wouldn’t even be able to use it at this point!
(My big boy still like to be carried around by mommy. Ergo 360 makes this easy! Cala Conta, Ibiza June 2018)
The only good thing that came of this whole disaster of a trip was some really beautiful pictures with my family. Carlo and I did a walk-in wedding at City Hall in Toronto a few months after André was born, and I never had any photos or anything done. So, we took this opportunity to take some really amazing photos that I will cherish forever! Always find that light in dark moments...
(Ibiza I will love and miss you forever... June 2018)
The flight home from Ibiza was amazing since we used all our points to book Business Class. From everything I have learned from all of these trips, the way home from anywhere is always the most challenging. If you can afford to fly Business Class, or if you have enough points DO THIS WITH YOUR BABY! It was hands down the BEST! At first, André was his delirious self and was jumping back and forth between Carlo and I, but once the flight got going, food started coming out he was pretty happy. Once I put him in his Zipadee Zip (best sleep sack ever... Google It!) he knew it was time to sleep, we reclined the seat all the way down and it magically transformed into a bed where we both slept most of the way home. It was worth every friggin' point!!!
(Business Class for the WIN!!! André in his Zipadee Zip sleeping like a baby almost all the way home!)
In Conclusion, hire a Nanny and travel First Class! LOL! No but seriously, make sure you are:
- Over-prepared with food, fruit packs, toys, books and loaded iPad for baby
- Have a separate Diaper bag with babies needs and yours
- Pack the Footrest and Pump to make a bed for baby
- Buy baby their own seat if they are over 18 pounds, really fussy, hyper or difficult to manage on your lap for hours at a time
- Have a Baby Carrier everywhere you go
- Bring a Compact Travel Stroller
- Travel Insurance for health, rental cars and even stolen property
- Rent a place that has 24-hour security and is in a safe area
- Bring your own pack-and-play if they don’t provide a crib
- Bring any cooking utensils and gadgets that you love at home because they likely do not have them where you are going (carrot peeler and ceramic sharp knives)
- Bring the Baby Houdini child proof locks just in case you need them
- Portable High Chair, Summer Infant is perfect
- Bring Baby Tylenol, Advil and Motrin
- Pack at least a few days worth of clothing and baby needs in your carry on in case they lose your big luggage
- Always have hand sanitizer near by
- Get a prescription for Xanex lolol!!!
- Enjoy these moments as they go by too fast and make memories that will last forever!
Thanks for reading and I hope you have an amazing vacation with your babes!
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