This day had to come, everyone knew it would, they just wondered when…. And we waited a bit and suddenly bought plane tickets, the first time for a family of 3! That is, our first flights behind the fence ;)
The introduction to this story is a bit longer…. Well, when Olive was less than two months old an interesting opportunity arose for us to travel further. We didn’t delay long and bought 3 tickets! …For a 9 hour flight! However, let the details remain a secret for now, because this adventure is yet to come :)
Why am I writing about it? Because it is worth knowing the genesis of our first flight with Olive. Well, we are not experts in flying in a baby, because we had no experience. To be honest, until recently we counted ourselves among those who are able to ask the flight attendants to change seats if there was a behemoth around who looked like he might make the next few hours more pleasant by crying ;) Even if he was the cutest thing in the world, the chance of crying was still high, so why tempt fate?
Of course, our approach changed when Olive was born. We understood that children cry because it is their only means of communication, and they do not necessarily get hurt or want to make an 8-hour overnight flight memorable for all fellow passengers ;)
We knew about the fact that we wanted to travel with the baby, nevertheless, the older Olive got the more question marks and doubts (because how to predict and plan anything more in advance). First we tried ground transportation methods – weekend trips abroad and in Poland by car – test passed!
Initially, a baby really needs very little to be happy – milk, a dry diaper and parents, that’s the whole key to success. The farther into the woods you go, the more commitment is needed. The child interacts with others, tries to communicate not only by crying, so you also need to take care of other new forms of entertainment for the youngest travelers. Especially since there is a really long flight ahead of us, so we decided to fly somewhere in advance to test :)
It may sound strange, but all in all, we told ourselves from the beginning that it is better to do everything in small steps. And so it was that we wanted to go somewhere for a week in January/February, and the prospect of a longer flight motivated us to go on vacation by plane rather than by car ;)
Table of contents
What direction to start with?
Of course, there are plenty of places we would like to fly to, but let’s be realistic :) We assumed that if a flight, it would be direct and 3-4 hours at most, and the destination should be warmer than Poland. Initially we wanted to fly from Lodz, but the poor network of connections unfortunately discouraged us. So we searched from Warsaw. We only considered cruise flights, because charters at this time fly mainly in exotic destinations, and so the flight is long. Of course, we only included the directions where it is safe and the health service works properly :)
Our choice fell on Italy, more precisely on Sicily:) We told ourselves that even if nothing would come out of the sightseeing, at least it would be possible to eat deliciously ;) We did not set our sights on the beaches at all. We chose Wizz Air, because the flight came out the most favorably priced, and also the connection itself suited us best (Sunday-Sunday).
What else decided this direction and not another? Since not beaches, you need to have something to do on the spot, after all, you do not fly so many kilometers to sit in a hotel. It is amazing how many interesting sites and monuments there are on this largest island in the Mediterranean! Both ancient temples, villas, amphitheaters, necropolises, baroque monuments as well as the reigning, eternally active volcano Etna.
Initially, we wanted to drive all the way around the island, but studying guidebooks and websites, we concluded that it was too much for one week. And given that our pace is a bit slower now, we decided to find an apartment in the eastern part of the island, and we will return to the western part at some point. Honestly? A week is not enough even for the eastern part :)
However, if for some reason Sicily does not seem an attractive destination to you, then from other destinations interesting options for the first flight with a child in our opinion are also: Portugal (Algarve), Spain, Malta or Greece (including the Greek islands).
Child’s plane ticket
Questions often arise, do you have to buy a ticket and a seat for your child?
No, you don’t have to buy a seat, but you can.
And yes, the child does not fly for free! This is quite a common myth ;)
Admittedly, children’s tickets are much cheaper, but still you have to pay something there – prices vary from airline to airline (it can be 10% of a regular ticket, or some minimum fixed amount). A purchased ticket does not mean that the child has a seat. The general rule is that a child under the age of 2 sits on the lap of his parents.
However, what is worth thinking about? However, it is worth considering buying a seat for a child, even an infant. That’s what we did this time. Why did we decide? A simple calculation: we knew that we wanted to rent a car on the spot for the entire stay, and you always pay quite a lot of money to rent a car seat.
After checking this cost, we found that it was cheaper for us to buy an extra seat on the plane and take our car seat with us! We will write about how a child travels on an airplane in the next post:)
Luggage and packing… And a stroller for the baby?
About packing I would most like to forget :) Unfortunately, the whole process is very difficult, and it’s not just about the number of things to take, because that’s not a problem. It’s more about the fact that packing now takes 2 or 3 times as long, because every now and then you have to feed, change a diaper, carry, etc. So our advice: start packing early. Seriously. I’ve always been lousy at it, but now I know that you have to stand on your head not to do it right before you leave.
What to bring? In fact, a lot depends on where you fly. Sicily, like many other European destinations, is a place where you can easily buy everything for your baby, so the most important thing is to take a supply of diapers, wipes and pads for the first few days, as well as clothes, medicines, food and toiletries.
Contrary to appearances, we didn’t have the slightest problem fitting into the kilogram limit, as Wizz Air has as much as 32 kg in the largest option, which we would have easily packed into (our luggage included more than one suitcase).
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Bazując na naszym doświadczeniu, praktykach i popełnionych błędach, chcemy pomóc Ci w pakowaniu, bo wiemy, że jest to wyzwanie dla wielu osób.
W tej książce znajdziesz 180 stron pełnych praktycznych informacji, wiele uniwersalnych porad, głównie pod specyfikę wyjazdów, ale wszystkie skupione są wokół pakowania na wyjazd z dziećmi.
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In addition, for the baby you can take a stroller, which when boarding the plane is taken to the hold, but not ours ;) We first traveled with a stroller Babyzen Yoyo, which is the only one that meets the requirements for carry-on luggage, so we could easily take it with us, which proved useful when we exited the plane and waited for our luggage (note that they don’t always issue strollers immediately upon exiting the plane).
In general, the stroller worked super well during the trip, because it folds easily, is mega-light, and with the strap you can quickly throw it over your shoulder and it looks like an extra bag…. probably the flight attendants did not even notice that we have a stroller in the bag ;)
Baby on board!
This is what we feared the most. Will Olive take the flight well? Will she sleep? Will she cry all the time? Won’t it clog her ears?
So many questions… Fortunately, we scoured the Internet beforehand and knew that the most important thing is that the baby should drink something during takeoff and landing, then it will regulate its own pressure, by swallowing.
It worked! Both during takeoff and landing I fed Olive, which calmed her down and she even fell asleep, but not for long :)
The flight itself was extremely comfortable. Both for us and fellow passengers…, because getting ahead of your questions: Olive practically never once cried during the flight there and back. Ot, you can see he is a born traveler after his parents ;)
Acclimatization on the spot?
Here everything already depends on the child. I have read about children who have trouble acclimatizing (even if a car trip far from home is involved) and it takes up to a week or more. We can’t imagine it at all, and fortunately with us there was no problem.
At the site we were greeted by nice weather, about 15 degrees, only to have it start pouring after about half an hour, when we fixed the car! Fortunately, this was the first and last rain we experienced during our stay in Sicily.
In general, the weather was warmer than in Poland, the air was cleaner, and we didn’t notice that Olive had any problem adjusting to the new place – anywhere is good where the parents are :)
The first flight with a child is quite a stress, mainly for parents, because for children (especially the older ones), it’s more fun and games. By focusing on the child, we ourselves forget that flight used to stress us out.
It is worth preparing for the flight properly and try to relax, because only calmness can save us :) We will write about it in the next entry, that is, how to prepare and survive the first flight with a baby.
With this post we also start our coverage of our stay in sunny Sicily, soon the whole report along with a handful of practical tips :)