1st of December 2019 – we did it.
I got my baby and roughly 70kilos of luggage and we crossed over 2300 km / 1500 miles between London and Guimaraes in Portugal.
That involved a taxi trip (Thanks uncle Danny), Bebe first train journey (which he loved btw), a couple of busy airports, an excellent service from BA when it came to check-in, and a peaceful flight (which Bebe adored and behaved), we finally arrive at Porto’s airport to be received by my dear cousin Bruna, which was the only person that knew of our little surprise trip (everyone was expecting us 2 weeks later).
She then drove us home where we almost gave a heart attack to both my mum and dad. They were sooooo happy to see little Romeo as they were on a countdown waiting for the magical 12th of December then turned to be the 1st of December. Here is the video if you need a laugh 😀
We had a wonderful time in Portugal, visiting family and friends and Romeo absolutely adored being surrounded by his super mega large family.
But let’s talk about what it means traveling with a baby when you have no help.
So let me tell you.
It is a mission!!!
Taking him to the doctor’s, which is a 5min walk from home, can be considered an adventure so imagine adding taxis, trains, planes, cars plus a total of 7h+ trip and 1500 miles. Oh and let’s not forget the 70kg of luggage that was also added to the mix. All this, BY MYSELF.
I deserve a medal!!! :p
So, my biggest advice is PLANNING.
PLAN PLAN PLAN. Be prepared and know what to expect. This is not about you anymore and it isn’t like grabbing a couple of things and getting them in a backpack… It requires more prep and mastery.
I am going to give 5 little tips that helped our trip to be successful:
- Make sure you are packing everything you need (in our case, we traveled during winter, which can be a bit of a painful process as you will obviously need to bring more bulky clothing). Also, in our case, there’s a lot of products/foods that Romeo uses that I didn’t have in Portugal so I carried stuff that was bulky and heavy. But all good, as long as you know how many kilos/number of luggage you can carry with you, according to the airline and your strength… Documents such as Passport are obvious, but I also brought his Birth certificate, because if you travel solo, there’s a big chance you might be asked for it, depending on your child’s surname, etc.
- It might be too much to travel with a pram or pushchair AND a baby car seat. So, if you like me don’t have a baby car seat wherever you are going, you might want to take your own car seat from your travel system as you will need it to transport your baby during your travel and at the destination. Fun fact, he hardly ever used his car seat in London as we hardly use cars, but in Portugal, he used it all the time. So, as much as is not the most comfortable way to transport your baby for a few hours straight, it did really help not having to carry 2 different pieces. Obs. There are also specific travel strollers, which in my case I just don’t find them that appealing tbh, but great if you find them helpful, however no car seat
- Before you board on the plane, you will have to let go of the car seat/pram/pushchair or whatever you are using so it can be transported on the airplane cargo hold – unless it is a travel stroller and it’s small enough to bring with you inside the plane. So in these cases, make sure you have a baby wrapper (we have a couple but the Ergobaby is my favorite) so you can “wear” your baby and have your hands free, so you can carry the rest of the luggage you still have to bring with you inside the plane. It will be helpful and much safer for your baby.
- Then we have the flight itself. Romeo was only 3 months when he took his first flight and I was super worried about how he would behave, mostly because of the pressure and his little ears. So I decided to design and print a little note from him, which was a sort of an apology in advance. In fact, I printed over 30, put them on separate envelopes, and with the help of the flight attendant, I gave an envelope to each one of the people that were close by, a couple of front rows, back rows, and side rows. Basically the message was sweet, explaining it was his first flight and we were worried he would be upset because of the air pressure. And everyone was so very nice telling that there was no problem and it was completely understandable, which really put me at ease, as I was worried to be that mum with a crying baby for the entire flight and receive sort of death threats in the form of laser eyes type of looks… Luckily, Romeo is a champ and not only he didn’t cry but was also the most well-behaved baby from the entire flight and everyone ended up coming to congratulate us, which was really sweet. Also, during the flight, make sure you have your baby dummy – if he uses one, enough food for the trip, and a blanket as it does get cold during the flight.
- Make sure you have someone on the other side waiting for you both. I could only go through this because I kept telling myself as soon as I would land everything would be so much easier. And it was because as soon as I got back my 70 kg of luggage and his pram, I just left the security area and my cousin and his partner were there with open arms waiting for us. And suddenly I am no longer carrying anything and could finally enjoy myself. In case no one is there too pick you up, make sure you have made previous arrangements like booking hotel, etc, and get a uber or taxi to your destination – but I would advise seeing if your hotel offers a pick up from the airport as its much safer.
Well, and this was it. My baby’s first trip!!!! The first of many…
Can’t wait to take him all around the world with me <3
Emma & Romeo