AJ and I just got back from a long visit with my family in Northern California; and yes, we traveled by ourselves…which really means I traveled by myself with an 8-month-old baby. Yikes! Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve done this (he and I have made the trek to NorCal once before) but as he’s getting older, it is getting trickier. So I thought I would share some of the things I did on this trip that helped me get through what may seem like a daunting challenge. Heed my advice as you prepare for any upcoming holiday travel!

First and foremost, I baby wear. I love my Ergo Baby and so does he. He feels comforted while we are on-the-go and I have two hands at my disposal. That said, he is getting heavy so I always try to give my back a rest while in between flights. Sit down, take baby out, and let baby play a little to get energy out while you rest. Oh! I almost forgot! You CAN baby wear through security; that way you don’t have to juggle a baby while gathering all of your belongings!

On that note, wear shoes that are easy to take on and off. It’s hard to baby wear and buckle boots or lace up tennis. I opted for my comfy Uggs or slip-on tennies.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: rent baby equipment at your destination. Babierge to the rescue. I rented a car seat, jumparoo, and bed rail for this particular trip. LIFE SAVER.

Bring a blankey. It’s a multi-purpose article: nursing cover, 8 month old toy or teething item, warming device on cold airplanes, peek-a-boo tool, pillow, and more!

Do not over-pack on the wipes and diapers. Save space in your carry-ons and luggage and buy these things at your destination or add them to your baby equipment rental order.

When you’re traveling with a lap infant, most airlines do not require that you add them to the reservation until you check in. However, I highly recommend adding them when you make the initial reservation because amazing things can happen when the airline knows in advance that they have a little one traveling on board. For instance, on this trip, one of the gate attendants noticed that her passenger list included AJ. Before we even checked in, she upgraded me to a row that was empty so AJ and I had an extra seat entirely to ourselves! When I gave her my boarding pass, she simply said, “Are you Kaylee? I’ve upgraded you so you have an empty row!” I was so happy I could have hugged her.

Bring healthy snacks for yourself. I didn’t have enough time during one of our layovers to feed AJ, change him, pack everything back up and get myself a snack. So I’m glad I had a granola bar in my diaper bag. Trust me; you’ll appreciate not being completely hangry when you arrive at your destination.

Try to have fun and use travel time as a way to bond with baby. I walked up and down the terminal during our long layover in Seattle for what seemed like eternity. But it was fun! AJ and I looked at paintings, people-watched, made lots of friends because he’s such a charmer, and giggled a lot. I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities and forget to just play. So why not use the spare time you inevitably have while traveling to do just that: play!