Solo Parent Travel Tips

It's taken me a while to find the things that work out when traveling alone with a young child. This past winter at Christmas we took a trip to New York that was noticeably easier and better than our previous trips had been and I think that was because of two things. (1) He was older, but (2) we had a lot of experience traveling, we had made some mistakes, and we'd had some systems in place.
One of the big things is equipment. If you're traveling alone with a child, you need to make it as easy on yourself as possible. For me, that has meant having the right equipment, but not too much equipment. There are trips we take where we are going to have to be in cars. I'm very anxious about the car seat. I want to make sure we have our car seat which I feel is good and safe, so there's a problem with carrying it.

I found that a big hockey equipment bag was the perfect carrying case for this piece of equipment. It has a huge zippered mouth which the car seat fits right into, and two great big long straps. It's made of nylon, so it's light weight. It costs about $26.00 and it was important that I could put it over my shoulder and have my hands free because we were traveling not only on planes, but going through train stations and I needed my hands free. I was careful not to load it up with too much other stuff, which is the temptation because you do have a lot of room in there.

Another piece of equipment that has been invaluable has been a really good stroller that folds up and is light weight. We have something that weighs about 8 pounds. I don't check it on to the plane, I keep it with me in the airport because you never know how far you're going to have to walk in an airport and kids get tired. So those two pieces of equipment are essential.

Another small thing that has been a really good investment for us was a portable small CD player. This way we can play the bedtime CDs that he's used to and he can listen to books on CD while on the plane and in cars. This helps us to keep our regular system in place during travel, and I found that this is important. Being able to continue your regular morning and bedtime routine while traveling is really helpful.