Monday, 14 November 2011

How I Travel with Grant...

It has been a while since I last posted on my blog...since then I have had a son, Grant.  He is 6 months old.  I have also changed jobs.  I currently work for a healthcare consulting firm, and my work requires travel up to 100% of my time.  I love traveling--but with this career decision came another decision regarding my son.  Do I leave him home with my mother, who will care for him while I travel for work?  Do I bring them both on the road with me?

I have been fortunate enough to have traveled with Grant (my son) several times during his 5 months of life.  Over these last 5 months we (my mother and I) have developed several techniques that make traveling with Grant manageable and even enjoyable.  I am delighted to have them both with me all week long. 

Many people have asked "How does that work?  How do you travel so much with a baby?"  So I decided to write a new blog entry on this very topic...

Travel Infrastructure
Accommodations
  • I have established a Hilton Honors account.  The Hilton Honors program is for any of the Hilton family hotels such as Double Tree, Homewood Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, and Hampton Inn to name a few.  Anyone can do this, even if you do not travel that much.  You can create a profile with the reward program and can specify anything from number of towels in the room to the space requirements.  I have requested the following: towels, refrigerator, microwave, enough space for a large stroller and pack and play, 10 wash clothes, 6 towels, 10 hand towels, and 20+ hangers.  I have the same arrangement with Marriott as well.

Frequent Flyer Accounts
  • I have one as well as Grant and my mother for each airline that we fly. I update the profiles to request that seating together if not already assigned such as on Southwest Airlines.

Gear
  • Car seat--Recarro.  Very comfortable. Extremely safe.  Airline approved for use in a seat on the plane.  I prefer to have Grant in a car seat on the plane mainly for two reasons. 1.) To protect him during turbulence on the flight.  You are mistaken if you think you can hold a child securely on your lap during a very rough flight.  2.) To enable me to run to the restroom during the flight, and allow for a flight attendant to easily keep an eye on him,

  • Stroller--UppaBaby--Vista.  Rugged and durable.  High utility with the ability to combine the infant carrier and bassinet options with a stroller seat.  This is able to be collapsed and I have purchased a zip up cover bag for it, when checked at the gate for a plane.  The cover is also handy for use with packing the stroller into the SUV.  Once in the cover, you can stack additional items (keeping in mind sensible weight limits) on top of it.
  • Crossover SUV--Supper handy for road trips.   Easy to pack all the needed supplies and equipment.
  • Diaper bag with stroller latches.  This is a must for running through the airport while carrying a laptop and purse.
  • Pack and Play--This doubles as a crib and a playpen.  I am a big fan of the Chicco product--very durable and comes with additional toys that are incorporated into the travel bag system.



  • Exersaucer--I use this as a play option for Grant.  It has come on the road with us, because I have been able to break it down and transport it in the SUV.  It breaks down in about 10 minutes.

  • Crockpot--This has been an awesome solution to sterilizing bottles on the road.  Washing in a bathroom sink is a bacteria haven--so even though Grant is older--I still sterilize the bottles as an additional precaution since the bottles are sometimes washed in a bathroom sink.

  • Bathtub--This is also a "typical beer tub".  This is perfect for not only bathing Grant, but also for storing/carrying loose items to and from the car or for carrying laundry to the laundry room in the hotel.
  • Packing Grant's clothes and other needs for travel in an organized way is critical.  Grant's things are packed in ziplock bags.  One complete outfit per ziplock.  That way we only have to reach in and grab a bag without sorting through the clothes to find something that matches.  We have the clothes in one spot and sleepers in another location of the bag so we know to reach in on the right for an outfit or reach in on the left for a sleeper.  We pack a diaper bag, an "eco friendly shopping bag", and a suitcase in this way.  The diaper bag is for hour(s) long stroller excursions, the "eco friendly shopping bag" is for use in the car for long road travel/day trips.  The suitcase is meant to hold the rest of his things for travel. 
These are just a few of the tools and techniques used to make a tot super mobile.  This approach to parenting and working has been hugely successful for us.  It may not be for everyone, but it works for us.  Having said that, the right tools for the job are a critical part of that success.  I am happy to provide further insight if there are additional questions.