We are back in San Francisco on vacation, and it doesn’t feel weird or sad. It feels just right. It feels, as we never left, as if the past ten months — our trying repatriation full of unexpected uphill battles — didn’t happen.
These past three days, I’ve:
- Swapped my nearly two-year-old iPhone for a new one for free, hurray for Apple Care and friendly employees at Genius Bars
- Been drinking buckets of cold brew (the Rolls-Royce of iced coffee) and Kambuchka
- Consumed several bags of nachos with guacamole and savored roasted seaweed, and perfectly ripe strawberries, blueberries, and avocados
- Been hanging out at open-air shopping malls, finding shade in stores such as Free People, Anthropology, and Barnes & Noble — three times already
- Been opening way too many packages from Amazon
- Passed our old home, now painted in a pretty pale blue color, and wondered how I ever managed to drive up our insanely steep and narrow street, maneuvering us into security from buses going downhill
- Crossed Golden Gate Bridge three times in both sunshine and fog — it never gets old
- Downloaded the Uber app
- Gotten stuck in traffic in the middle of the 2017 Pride Parade in downtown SF surrounded by happy people, dressed in rainbow colors
- Found home in our friends’ home and let our pseudo family handle everything from folding and opening my stroller to driving up their crazy steep, narrow driveway
- Gotten all of our favorite yoghurts, cheeses, and snacks at Trader Joe’s
Home! San Francisco, we ❤️ you.
Parents are often reluctant to fly with their baby, especially when traveling alone. Don’t be! Most likely everything will go well, if not, the reward of getting to your destination will outweigh any few miserable hours.
Our babies might have hated their car seats, but all three of them have been excellent airline passengers. Flight attendants and co-passengers always compliment us; in general people are kind and never seem annoyed or rude, don’t worry about that part. I have travelled with the kids from they were four months old on multi-flight stops including up to eleven-hour flights.
Here are my basic survival tips:
- Wear flip-flops or slip-on shoes, which are easy to remove at security screening.
- Wear a backpack.
- Have your travel documents and passport ready available for instance in a cross-body bag.
- Dress the baby in soft, easily removable layers.
- Gather any baby food in a clear bag and tell security you are carrying baby food at baggage screening.
- Wear baby in a baby carrier; Car seats and strollers are just extra heavy things that you will have to deal with, and you can check them for free.
- Security will most likely let you keep baby in the baby carrier, when you walk through security.
- Wear a dress or a skirt so that you can use the bathroom with your baby strapped on you if needed (probably TMI :)
- Get a window seat!
- If you are nursing, wear a large cardigan so that you can breastfeed discretely (which I did on my last flight, seated next to a distinguished business traveler from India).
- A large cardigan also works as a baby blanket.
- Put toys, baby wipes, diapers, extra clothing, and baby food in a smaller bag and place it under your seat (don’t place them in the overhead compartment).
- Nurse, use a pacifier, or give your baby a bottle during take off and landing.
- Airports have larger family restrooms to change your baby (in the picture).
For toddlers, pack a small bag with a few new toys that they can open during the flight (minifigures such as Lego transformers are great). Give them stickers or sticker books to play with during the flight.
… And book your flight on a Tuesday or on weekends, where to next?