Last week, we went on our first flight with our girls aged 4 years and 16 months. I won’t lie – I did not sleep well the night before! I was getting really worried about all the things that might happen on the plane – screaming baby, annoyed passengers, having to manoeuvre them back and forth through the narrow aisle for Number One’s and Two’s, nappy changes in a space the size of a stamp…
What did not concern me, not for one moment, was the fact that (to the horror of most parents, as we would soon discover) we would not be flying with a pushchair. In fact, we don’t own one. We sold ours over a year ago as we weren’t using it at all. The only reason we had a pushchair in the first place was that the 5-in-1 package deal for the car seat included a moses basket, the pram and various accessories and was way cheaper than the single car seat.
So we went on holiday from Bournemouth International (which always makes me giggle) to Palma de Mallorca, where we would then pick up our hire car with fitted child seats. It turned out that most people at the airport and during transit were incredibly nice and even the important-looking business people sat one row behind ours would regularly interrupt their important-sounding discussions about Brexit and the decline of the Pound in order to keep our girls entertained by playing Peek-A-Boo and handing them a vast array of distraction material ranging from empty plastic bottles to crayons. While we did have a nervous bladder amongst us which kept us busy for the best part of an hour, the flight was over soon and the relief (passengers and parents alike) was palpable. One lady from the plane even approached us on our way to the exit and smiled: “Your girls are gorgeous. You all did so well.” Flight – CHECK.
Once we got off the plane, I quickly strapped the little one in our TULA carrier, which is, I should add, suitable for both front and back, allowing us some flexibility depending on her mood and sleepiness. When we queued for passport control, a mother pushing a pram noticed our lightweight option and shrieked: “So you’re telling me you don’t have a pram with you? Not at all?!” and hastened to add: “I could never ever do that. I quite like the fact that I can just park her somewhere, especially in a restaurant!” Whilst we watched other parents trying to juggle a pram, a trolley and one or even two other toddlers, we whisked through the airport, picked up our luggage and went on to our (amazing and completely child-friendly, btw) hotel in Cala d’Or, about an hour’s drive away from Palma.
During our 5-day stay, our daily programme consisted of going to the pool, ambling along the nearby beach and marina, going on day trips to some Mallorcan sights and, of course, having breakfast and dinner at the hotel buffet. Every day, our little one (who has just started walking) was happily carried in her carrier whilst feasting on some Spanish ice-cream, snoozing or chatting away. To keep her head in the shade while she was asleep, we gently covered her head and face with the removable carrier hood. Not once did I or my husband feel that we could have done with a pushchair! It was such a special time, and so much fun to watch the girls in a new environment.
What’s great about traveling with a carrier:
- Less weight and less space needed whilst traveling (ie. cost-saving)
- More agility in narrow and crowded places such as airports, towns, supermarkets
- Staircases are no problem
- Amazing bonding experience with your child (there’s nothing better in this world than feeling the weight of your little one’s head against your shoulders, her little fingers play with your hair, her soft breathing against your neck…)
What’s not completely great:
- Having ice-cream running down your neck! 🙂
- You need someone to carry a small extra bag for nappies, drinks etc. which would otherwise just go under your pushchair
- You can’t “park” your child eg. when going out for dinner, which was OK for us as she’s a happy bunny in a high chair anyway (as long as you keep throwing her food!)
So for us, traveling with only a toddler carrier worked extremely well. It is fair to say that this option is much easier when you travel with a partner with whom you can share the carrying and who can help strapping the baby on your back (although I have a special Ninja technique for lifting her onto my back which I have practiced on my bed hundreds of times, ha!). As a family on our first plane trip who loves going on walks, hikes and adventures, I felt like we chose the option that suited us best. Traveling without a pushchair – CHECK!
What’s next? We are planning on discovering at least one amazing place a year (carrier only, of course! 😉 …).
Italy for a gourmet feast (I’m feeling inspired by my new favourite novel “Us” by David Nicholls), Spain for more food (and some great museums and parks), the South of France (because it’s awesome), and one day, hopefully, we will take the girls back to Mexico to show them where Mummy and Daddy used to live. One step at a time though!
Wishing you happy holidays wherever you are,