Travelling long haul with a baby

Why, hello there! I’m back.. but this time who knows how long for, until I disappear from my blog for another several months! I always like documenting our travels because, I must admit, I love reading back through all my travel blog posts and seeing all the photos I have forgotten about.

Friends and family will know that this trip has been planned for SO long. We were due to return back to Thailand last year but decided to cancel because I was heavily pregnant and I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it like I would normally so we decided that we’d attempt the trip with our baby instead and Josh had the best idea of asking me if I’d like to go for a month before him, along with my mum… so of course, I said yes and several months later we landed in Bangkok.

Usually we split the flight in to two and fly from Manchester to either Doha or Dubai and then on to Bangkok but this time the flights worked out much cheaper with Singapore Airlines, which meant a 13 hour flight from Manchester to Singapore, then a 2 hour flight on to Bangkok, with a 2 and a half hour break in between – however, this turned out to be much longer and we were delayed arriving in Bangkok by 4 hours! Not only that… but my suitcase went missing and I didn’t receive it until day 3 of our stay which was SO annoying but I was determined not to let it bother me.

If you’re here you’re probably wondering what it’s like flying this distance with an infant.. I was unsure how it would all pan out because I had so much stuff to carry around with me and Mali isn’t a good sleeper but she was kept entertained by just looking at people and people talking to her and playing with her, which was lovely. She didn’t sleep much at all on the plane, only 2 x 2 hour stints which is very very little but I tried not to think too much about her sleep because I know that trying to get her to sleep and forcing her doesn’t work unless I can get her in a pitch black room, in her cot, at home.

The 13 hour flight was daunting but it actually seemed to go pretty quick and next time I’d probably try and get a direct flight to Bangkok, so there’s no getting off the plane and on to a connecting flight, less chance of a delay and less chance of a bag going missing too but direct flights tend to work out a little more expensive. We always use Dial a Flight to book our flights with, they often give us the best deals on flights and can tell you which airlines are cheapest at the time of booking which saves you the hassle of looking. If you’re booking in advance you can pay a deposit and then pay the rest off in full so many weeks before you fly or you can call whenever and pay it off bit by bit.

Tips for flying long haul with an infant

1. Request a bassinet if you’re flying long haul, and request it as soon as you make your booking. The bassinets come on a first come, first served basis so you’re more likely to get one the earlier you ask. The seats with the bassinets also have a little more leg room, which is nice when you’re sat in one place for 13 hours! It’s also a great little floor space to put baby down if they can sit up themselves and have a play.

2. Check with the airline how much extra baggage you can take, including hand luggage, check in luggage and a pushchair. I was able to take an extra 7kg hand luggage bag, 10kg check in and a foldable pushchair which I could use around the airport and then fold down and leave just before boarding the flight. The extra baggage was needed because I was carrying about 18 tins of prescribed milk for Mali but I probably wouldn’t have bothered with an extra hand luggage as it was just another bag to think about but I did need it, it was just a lot of stuff to get through security and stressful at Manchester because it was so busy.

3. If you’re carrying formula, any special dietary related foods for baby, medication etc. I’d spread these out across multiple bags just in case any of them do go missing. Or you can pack it in your hand luggage if it’s sealed – just remember whichever you do, I’d get a copy of prescriptions and a doctors note to show proof of why you’re carrying it. I packed most of Mali’s milk in my hand luggage and every tin was checked by security to make sure it was sealed.

4. Take lots of snacks for baby. Things you know they love and maybe a couple of new snacks to keep them interested. I found Mali got bored with toys quickly (I wouldn’t bother packing many toys, I just brought 3 little toys for her which she picks up every so often) and food kept her quieter for longer. Things that don’t make too much mess are best!

5. A baby carrier and a pushchair are both great for airport. I didn’t think I’d want the pushchair in the airport but was so glad I took it because it was just a change of positioning for Mali and it meant if she did get sleepy she would fall asleep in there and I could still sit down, eat, read a book, wonder round on my own whilst Mum watched her etc. The pushchair was also useful for putting my rucksack on, or any bits we picked up in duty free if Mali was in the carrier. The carrier was good for getting on/off the plane and for frantically trying to get to get to connecting flights. Turning her facing me when I knew she was due a nap made is quicker for her to fall asleep too!

6. If you have room in your check in luggage, I’d pack extra nappies and wipes so you don’t have to rush finding a shop when you arrive at your destination. I was so tired the first few days that all I wanted to do was stay in the hotel and chill by the pool. It’s not a big deal but if you’re on holiday you want to relax, not go shopping as soon as you land, especially if you do get long delays or experience any other hiccups along the way.

7. Lots of people suggested feeding baby milk on take off/landing to help with the pressure in their ears. I tried to feed Mali but she never seemed interested and her ears never seemed to bother her. All babies are different though, I know my ears affected me in my younger years (around 5 years old) until I was in my early teens and now they don’t bother me at all.

8. And lastly, just try and go with the flow. I love routine and I’m always adding up the hours Mali has slept throughout the day when we’re at home but I just had to let all of that go, to a certain extent.. haha!

I think that’s it.. I’ll add any other tips if any spring to mind but do feel free to send me a message if you want to know anything. Hope this helps in some way! Lots of love, L.