I pounded my heart out on google leading up to the first long haul European trip with a toddler. There were many posts with lists and great ideas but none of them mentioned some of the things which can go horribly wrong. A broken stroller, 34 hours flying direct and one frazzled mamma makes for an interesting story. I don’t plan on boring you with all the details, but rather save you from such drama. Purchase a cheap nappy bag / day bag I bought THIS bag and it was fantastic. No longer was I worried about a special bag being stolen. I kept my camera and wallet with me and everything else for toddler and the day ahead in the bag. It sports lots of pockets for tissues and toys and wipes with access to all with ease. Adding to the glamour it matched most of my outfits too and didn’t stand out as something a robber would want. If all that wasn’t enough it is light and can completely fold or roll up for packing inside your luggage.
Consider purchasing a cheap stroller
The most important thing for your baby or toddler in Rome is the tool of good sturdy pram. The really light weight cheap travel prams don’t cope well with the cobble stones. One of the worst turn of events is having the domestic airline on the first leg of your trip break your stroller. International travel insurance, this part of the leg isn’t covered. This would be very bad should it be a beautiful expensive pram. That said, if you’re traveling Singapore Airlines your pram / stroller will be very well looked after. I found one from Kmart and it was fantastic, but it was destroyed before it could leave Australia. It was about $70. Handles are good for hanging things. The strollers with just one long bar are not practical. A little basket underneath the seat is great and the bag listed above will fit over the stroller handles well. Try also to and find one which reclines because your toddler’s sleep patterns will be a mess.
Position on the Plane
We chose a seat behind a bulkhead with the baby cradle for the little guy. These cradles accommodate up to a 13kg baby weight. This gave us more leg room and somewhere for him to lay down. If you plan on travelling at night, try to ensure your bulkhead seat isn’t directly behind the kitchen as it can be very noisy. However if it’s a day flight this is likely perfect. The constant goings on and noise will make sure your baby isn’t the loud distraction for other passengers. Check seatguru for great plane layout and seat inclusions http://www.seatguru.com/ As our little boy was 18 months old there wasn’t really too much room for him to stretch out in the cradle with the required seatbeat clicked into place at all times. Also, if the seatbelt sign comes on you will need to remove your bub and strap hime / her back in with you, which means they are now awake. Damit!
Tips on the Plane
Get yourself changed (and toddler if you have dressed them in good clothes). I chose an old Mela Purdy outfit. Breathable, comfortable and not too daggy. I bought some black ballet flats which rolled up to save space. I was comfortable and not at all worried about orange juice spills or food smears which are highly likely to happen with a toddler eating three or more meals on your lap. Meals were great on Singapore Airlines and I didn’t need the extra snacks I had packed. The flight attendants delivered the little guy’s meal to him 30 minutes before mine and each item was in a little compartment which took lots of time and entertainment. Perfect. Each meal took about 45 minutes. The ability to order extra snacks at any time meant no need to open any of the ones I had read on many other blog posts that I needed to pack. Of course it goes without saying, pack extra wipes. Sleep when toddler does. Relax as much as you can. And remember the drinks cart is just a call button away. Just a taste of the next part in the toddler series….ROME!