Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Traveling Mom and 2 Kids to Italy

We are currently in Italy visiting my husband while he works, training military. Yesterday we traveled from Baltimore, Md to Padova, Italy. It was just me and my two girls 4 and 16 months. Wow! what an experience. My girls were excellent the entire 3 plane - 18 hour trip. I, however, am completely exhausted. I am no hero, this was not our first time traveling internationally but it was my first time doing it without my husband. But my choices were 1) go and visit him taking both little ladies with me or 2) not go..... so the choice was very easy to make.

We traveled with 2 checked bags, 2 checked car seats (which are required in Italy), 3 carry-ons, and 1 stroller. The three carry-ons included a diaper bag, a Melissa and Doug roller suitcase which included books and coloring activities, and my personal carry on which included my computer and other things I thought I would need to keep myself entertained. Well, this was indeed, my first mistake. For future reference, a mom traveling with two kids has no time to do anything for personal entertainment. When my two beauties were awake I was making sure they were not standing, being dangerous, or otherwise making poor choices, while on the plane. When my little girls were sleeping, I had to sleep. So, next time I will just check my bag with my personal items, one less thing to carry.

Our flight path included Baltimore-Atlanta-Paris-Venice, with less than a 90 minute layover on each leg of the trip. Rushing from gate to gate was not difficult until we arrived in Paris. Paris has to be the biggest airport I have landed in. I had to go from gate E? to D55 which does seem like far but was about 1 mile walking. The signs were not helpful to find the "D" gates. Several of signs pointed down which made me think I should take an elevator down but then when I looked straight ahead I kept finding signs pointing to "D". So, I thought I would follow the signs. I did eventually find "D". Once arriving at "D" I was told my infant in arms daughter actually needed her own boarding pass, which was not necessary in Baltimore or Atlanta. I then had to go to the AirFrance service desk and had them print her out one. We ended up being the last people on plane. I am sure there has to be an easier way to get around in the AirFrance airport, maybe a tram or bus, but I did not find it and did not have the time to explore.

Like I said before, traveling with my little ones was a lot of work but so worth it. They gave me some of the best laughs and smiles while traveling. Now, we are in Padova, Italy. My husband will be working during the day and I will be exploring Padova with my girls. Today we slept till noon and had to eat in the hotel because everything closes at 2:00. So, tomorrow we will begin our exploring.

Here are traveling with babies internationally tips:
  • Traveling with kids automatically bumps you to front of almost all airline lines. You will be able to board first, go through customs, etc....
  • Do no bring a carry solely for your personal entertainment items. It will just be a nuisance and something extra to carry.
  • Map out the Paris Airport or have a layover grater than 90 minutes.
  • Have passports and boarding passes in their own sachet, because you will need quick access to these often.
  • Bring several "d" rings. Being a military family, we often have "d" ring laying around and I have 2-3 in my purse at any given time. They are great to hanging coats on the stroller, attaching carry one bags to the stroller, and other random things you will need to hang or attach to each other.
  • Bring an iPad or other tablet with movies already loaded. I had about 50 movies loaded on my iPad and it kept my 4 year entertained until she fell asleep from Atlanta to Paris.
  • From Atlanta to Paris the flight was not full so the flight attendants allowed us to use three seats. My 16 month year old did wonderfully having her own seat. So, if you have an infant in lap I would always ask if there are any available seats.
  • My 16 month year old is attached to her blanket so reduce the amount of times my daughter dropped it on the floor I attached it to the stroller with "d" rings.
If you have any additional tips or know the secrets to Paris Airport please comment below. Here are some "d" rings and "s" rings for those who not are military or hikers.

D - Rings

S - Rings

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