Monday, March 23, 2009

Travel Question

I'm going to Denver in a couple weeks, as are my parents, to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. Me, a two-year-old, an airplane--two and a half hours. The question is: to bring car seat or not to bring car seat?

I'm thinking it would be easier to strap Anna in and tell her she can't get out, just like in the car, than to have her wiggling everywhere. Last time she slept two hours one flight, which I doubt would happen with no seat. A contained and possibly sleeping child would probably be much nicer for the poor person in our row than Queen Wigglesworth demonstrating her hopping abilities on the seat.

On the other hand, I will have to get the seat, the suitcase, the backpack, and the child from parking to luggage checking by myself. Once I check the suitcase it won't be quite so bad, and thankfully it's a direct flight, so no problems hauling it through another airport. But I'm not sure if it's worth the trouble or not. My sister-in-law can borrow one for Anna to use if I don't want to bring it, so it's not a must.

I'm thinking the deciding factor may be whether or not I can find some way to strap the seat onto my suitcase for the car-to-luggage-check portion of the trip.

What say ye who have traveled solo with toddler?


Heather said...

I've done the solo travel, and also two parents/two tiny kids, which is a little bit similar. We've had our three year old in the airplane seat with the car seat and without, and with is SO much better. It keeps him up high so he can see out of the window and use the tray. And he is strapped in and can't escape to climb all over us. I think the familiarity of the seat makes him a little calmer, too. He thought it was pretty exciting that his seat was in an airplane.

We use this bag (there are lots of similar ones out there), which helps a ton. It has wheels, so you can pull it, and straps to throw it on your back or over a shoulder. We often zip other carryon bags inside it while we're making our way through the airport. Much easier than trying to carry it.

WMW said...

Thanks, Heather! Handy bag--I think I would get one if our flying-with-car-seats days weren't coming to an end (less flying in our future once we move this summer, most likely).

Amy said...

I think it depends if A. can walk through an airport holding on to you, or if she's a runner, or needs to be carried after walking a distance. If she can walk on her own, then you are free to carry the other "stuff."

Roman seriously refused to walk long distances and was also a "runner" so we had a leash (totally different story). Anyway, if you can trust that she'd stay by your side in the airport, then I would take the carseat. She can maybe even pull a suitcase if you pack light enough?

paige said...

bring the carseat, borrow a bag for it. I've done lots of solo travel with my tots (mostly my big one) and the carseat was so nice to have on the plane--worth all the hassle of dragging it on, etc. If you check your luggage at the curb, you can pile the carseat on your stroller or get one of those carts and pile Anna on top of everything. Not ideal, but it will get you from a to b!

Ren said...

When we flew to Texas with the girls they were 2 1/2 and the car seats were a pain for hauling but a must on the airplane. They were happy in their seats, could see out the windows, didn't fuss or try to get out and they slept for most of the flight. I don't think this would have happened if they were just told to sit in a big seat with a strap across their laps.
Then, when we had a strange car to travel in, at least they still had "their" seats.
Just my 2 pennies-at least it's a direct flight!

Orange Girl said...

Well, apparently I am the odd gal out. Just flew to CA with Isa (who is 19 mo) without the carseat on board. Honestly, it is a money issue for me- until the airline tells me I have to have a seat for her I can't afford to buy it. Luckily, she's still a fairly cuddly, lap-friendly baby, so it wasn't too bad and she actually slept almost the entire flight home.

It's hard enough to wrangle a child and a diaper bag down the aisle of the plane without smacking into all the other passengers. I could never figure out how I was going to even get the carseat on the plane... And then what do you do with your toddler while you're installing the seat? (I know Isa would take off down the aisle to go greet other passengers!)

So, I checked the carseat in one of those travel bags and carried Isa through the airport in the Ergo (as a backpack). One great thing about that method is that you can walk through the metal detector with baby still attached! Totally minimizes (much of) the hassle of waiting in line & going through security.


RMMcDowell said...

When we went to Florida, we just put Meggie's car seat on the handle of our pull suitcases--tucked it through the "bar" on the back. It made it so that one adult could take the suitcase, the car seat, and the child. With Anna walking, you could force her to hold on to the strap of the car seat and walk next to you . . . if she would do that. Ellie would, but she's just a bit older.