Here’s a little bit about Ann (from her own blog): “Prior to becoming a traveling opera wife and full-time mother, Ann Hinckley Stucki studied socio-cultural anthropology as an undergraduate and went on to receive her master’s degree in social work. She has worked in a variety of fields from health education, mental health/community/school social work, geriatrics, childbirth labor support, and disease prevention in Latin America. Her research pursuits have taken her from a Costa Rican/Nicaraguan border dispute to London, England to present graduate research at a Medical Anthropology conference. Additionally, she is an award-winning photographer and enjoys portrait work. She also teaches fire breathing.” – Well Ann we wanna see pics or a video of you fire breathing – don’t we?! (If you want to see it add a “HELL YEAH!” to the comments at the end of this post ;0))
Take it away Ann…
“Congratulations! You are going on a trip with your child/children! How very brave of you! Tickets purchased, bags packed, and now to get yourself, the luggage, personal belongings, and children from your home and actually onto the airplane! This is not my favorite part of traveling but it is strangely inevitable. I love reading and applying travel tips/ideas and I am hoping to pass along some of my favorites here. We do not do things perfectly by any means, but we are always trying and with a little trial and error, we have come to a few loose conclusions/suggestions.
Getting to and through the airport:
Sadly, we do not have easy public transportation in our home city to the airport. This first tip may not always make sense, but occasionally, when we haven’t had a spacious car owning friend available to take us to the airport, we have gotten a cheap car rental from the airport the day before so we can drive ourselves and check in the car at the same time. Sometimes when family, luggage and multiple car seats already take up most of the space in a car, we have found this to be a nice option. It can be a lot less expensive than getting an airport shuttle or taxi.
It seems that the most harrowing leg of air travel with kids can actually be the short luggage-laden trip from curb to ticket counter. We love the sky cap and feel like tipping the nice guys who take our baggage at the curb is money well spent! If we are checking in a rental car, once my husband’s ID is checked, he can take one of the kids and return the car while I take care of the check in. Airports in the United States drive us crazy because they always charge for luggage carts. I think just about everywhere I have been in Latin America/Europe/Asia/Middle East and all have had complimentary luggage carts for passengers. Come on America, help a family out!
Once you are through the airport doors, there is that lovely detail of getting through security. How we love the security screenings! Please unpack most everything you have just neatly packed to make it through your day of travel. Worst of all, the kids have to walk through too. My kids especially at age 1-3 are runners which makes security extra exciting. Once when I was traveling alone with my two kids, I was lucky enough to be selected for an extra security screening. There was a nice lady behind me who thankfully stayed with my kids. My almost two year old daughter would have run off to board a flight to Ghana given the chance. I find it adorable too when security makes me take my toddlers’ soft soled leather shoes off (they are practically socks), as if my child is the next shoe bomber. If you are traveling with a stroller be ready because you will need to fold the stroller and get it x-rayed at security. You can ask to have the stroller hand checked if you have too much to handle through the check point. Remember too that even though there are limitations on liquids you can travel with, breast milk or prepared formula and baby foods are fine to take through (Caveat: In London once, I was asked to take a drink of the contents of a bottle, presumably to prove it was not a hazardous substance. Thankfully it was apple juice, and not my own breast milk.) I always make sure to have an empty water bottle to fill up on the other side of security and a couple of extra sippy cups for beverage service on the plane. Also make sure to take advantage if the airport security has a special line for people traveling with kids, well worth it!
One final thought: as kids get old enough, get them involved in the process. Our son loves having his own little backpack of toys to put on the security conveyor and loves taking a turn pulling a roller bag. He knows the routine so well by now, he hardly needs directing. He has flow so much he has already earned his own frequent flyer ticket.”
Thanks so much to Ann for Part one! We’ve got more advice from Ann about how she adapts&survives!