Re: International travel with infant and toddler?
posted at 12/6/2011 2:32 PM EST
We traveled to the South of France this summer with an eight-week old and a 3 year old. It was an incredible, wonderful, fantastic trip and I am so glad we did it. Our trip was definitely easier than yours sounds, but we had some of the same stumbling blocks and benefits. I'll try to give a quick rundown:
There is no direct way to get from CT (where we live) to the South of France. We flew out of JFK to Nice (two hours from our end destination). We hired a car to drive us to/from airport on both sides. Both car services provided a car seat for our 3 year old. (We traveled with a car seat for our 8-week old, plus the stroller base for her car seat which we gate-checked).
We bought seats on the flights for both children. This is a personal preference, but in all of our international travel, we have found it much easier to have the seat and car seat for the infant. In this case, it was especially helpful when dealing with a potty-training 3 year old ...
Our 8-week old slept for take off and landing on the flight over and was awake (but content) for the remainder of the flight. (Tough on my as it was an overnight flight; nice for the rest of the plane!) One the way back, she slept about 1/2 of the 9 hour flight. All in all, we considered ourselves very lucky!
We use the CARES system when flying with our 3 year old. (http://www.kidsflysafe.com/)
We love it.
We were staying with my brother and sister-in-law, so laundry facilities would be available to us, which made packing easier. In addition, my sister-in-law had a basinette for our 8-week old to sleep in. If there is any way you can arrange to borrow or rent crib(s) for your kids while there, it will help tremendously with the minimizing of gear.
We brought the Moby Wrap for our 8-week old. If I was making the trip now (she's almost 6 months), I wouldn't go without the Ergo.
Ours was an incredible trip and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. I think traveling with a less-than-six-month-old is far easier than contemplating travel with a 1 year old plus toddler.