Airports, International Travel and Babies

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I am not sure if this is normal, but I love airports. In fact I secretly enjoy when I have extended hours in an airport because it feels like this bubble of uninterrupted time to be super productive. So, thanks to American Airlines and a few extra hours of delays I have read, had breakfast and a latte, checked email, painted my nails, checked in on the twitter-world and now I’m blogging. All before 11am…thankyouvermuch.

It’s probably a good thing I love airports because I spend more time in them now than I ever have. Cross-cultural living and marriage will do that for you.

Here’s what I’ve found to be a few successful airport travel tips for unexpected delays and possibly overnight stays:

-Always pack a toothbrush and extra pair of underwear in your carry-on. My mom taught me this one on my first overseas flight to Ecuador. I was wearing overalls and sporting braces at the time, but I was so thankful for these essentials when we had to stay an extra night in some shady hotel in Florida due to weather.

-Scope out a good wifi spot and if there’s a password save it in your computer or phone for the next time you’re at that some spot. I realize if you’re in the continental U S of A you can just use your fancy 3G and be fine, but cross any international border and you’ll be looking for wifi. stat. (hint: Guate readers: Use Pizza Hut in the airport. Once you past security it’s on your left. It has the best wifi in the airport. Password is: 0123456789. I believe sharing is caring)

– Always, ALWAYS update the time on your phone or computer manually. Trust me I know from experience that sometimes they do not update. Once (not so long ago) I may have been sitting at an airport Starbucks, content as could be because my computer said 4:15pm and my flight didn’t even board until 5:30… yes, imagine my shock when I walked to the gate at 4:45 “my time” and learned that my flight had already left. Oh, yes. Imagine how I tried to explain that one to the ticket counter #lessonlearned

– Do some stretches on the airplane. Anyone who has traveled with me has probably been slightly embarrassed to look over and see my feet up in the air or arms reaching up to touch the ceiling, but I tell you it makes the world of difference on long flights. Stretch those muscles, people.

– Bring some kind of scarf/shall thing that can double as an accessory, blanket or be folded into a makeshift pillow. Due to some poor planning on my part and another American Airlines delay Gerber and I spent TWO nights in airports on our honeymoon. Once in Switzerland and once in Peru. Both times I was so thankful that I had this with me. #notthewayyouwannaspendahoneymoon #hestilllovesme

-Snacks always make waiting and in general life…better. And snacks from home are always better than airport food. I may like airports, but I’m not that fond of airport food.

International travelers, memorize your passport numbers. It’s so much easier than always having to dig in your bag to pull out the passport. Sad truth I use my passport number now more than my license or SS #.

-My dad taught me many things. One is: IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK. So, I  always ask about a window seat or an exit aisle and I may have been known to use my curls and ask about first class. It worked…once.

We don’t have kids yet (and no I’m not pregnant) but three of my closest friends are and I now think about international travel with a baby in a different way. But all of my friends who are MOMS—get this….on my flight today from Guatemala to Texas there was a Guatemala-mom sporting her hooded jacket, yoga pants and backpack with her 3-month old in one arm on their way to Canada, where she lives with her Canadian husband. We chatted. She sat across the aisle from me. The little guy fussed as everyone got on the plane. But, then she sat down, held him and he fell asleep before take off. Then, she laid him on the open seat next to her, swaddled up, and took out a BOOK. I was already wow-ed at this point. Thirty minutes later, she left him to go THE BATHROOM. I was half-impressed. Half shocked. Thinking I want to know what magic sauce she has and how could she just leave him there and go to the bathroom? It reminded of my friends Lesley’s post. Clearly, I have a lot to learn before motherhood.

Ok, frequent fliers what are some of your helpful tips and hints?

P.S I’m attending a conference this week called CCDA and am super excited. Partly because my sister is leading a workshop (yeah, she’s kind of a big deal), my parents are also attending, and it’s a chance to learn and hear about how other Christians are doing community development work across the nation. Check back for updates.

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2 thoughts on “Airports, International Travel and Babies

  1. Such great tips, Michelle! You will be an expert baby traveler soon enough. I love how you had to clarify that you’re not pregnant. Are you at that stage where everyone freaks out as soon as you say, “I have an announcement…” ?

    I also love airports- especially Tom Bradley Terminal in LA because there is something about so many nationalities in one place; the flurry and excitement that comes with people arriving and departing for exotic destinations.

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