Getting passport for baby + mommy

On Friday Markus turns 6 months old. He’s already been cross country twice in his life. Both trips to California. But now, it’s time for some international traveling with baby.

I’m a permanent resident (Green Card holder) in USA and a citizen of Denmark. My passport expired this summer – oops! My son is automatically a dual citizen so making a passport for him is easy. We just went to the nearest passport acceptance facility and 1-2-3 had the application filled out and they even took the photo of him.

I had to go to the Consulate of Denmark but thankfully that’s in New York so it was just a subway ride away. There I filled out the paperwork and they did the rest.

I was worried I wouldn’t get the passports in time to get to Denmark by March 6 where I’d participate in USA Travel Show, a B2B tradeshow for US tourism suppliers and Nordic travel agents etc. But, I did! Also in time for the prices to have went up but that’s what happens!

If you want to know more about the process head on over to my ILOVENY.dk blog: Dude, my passport expired! This is also where I blog about things NOT travel related.

Baby’s First Flight

After getting through the packing, getting to the airport, through security and onto the plane – the real worry started: How was baby gonna act during this long flight? The flight attendants had been beyond helpful and I was able to get the whole, left last row for myself and Markus. The car seat got buckled up in the window seat with him in it and I sat in the middle. Markus was curious! He has this cute sound he does, when he’s eager .. and he kept saying it while looking everywhere around him. That made mommy’s heart happy.

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The plane started taxiing and since it was around 7PM and therefor also Markus’ usual bedtime he started getting fussy. I gave him a little bit of the bottle (I had pumped, to make it easier during the trip) but he wasn’t having it. He started a full-blown fussy-attack so I had no other choice but to take him out of the car seat and rock him. He was doing his usual ‘I’m crying so loud because I’m tired’, during take-off but few seconds after he was a sleep. I tried “forcing” him to suck on the nipple of the bottle in order to help with his ears and he allowed it. But he was a sleep. I gently put him down in the car seat, buckled him up and wrapped his blanket around him. And I started holding my breath. The hours went by ….

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Twice he made a little sound like he was going to wake up but I comforted him and he slept again.

I kept holding my breath but 4 hour into the flight I realized that I had nothing to worry about. My child was a sleep and he was going to sleep through the flight. I was able to enjoy the flight myself, and got a little bit of a cat nap.

As always, the service onboard JetBlue is great. I got my free seltzer waters and plenty of free snacks.

Jetblue inflight services

About 40 minutes before arrival at Palm Springs, the flight attendant let me know so I could start giving Markus his bottle. The descent would be worse on his ears if he wasn’t sucking on something. He was a sleep and for the first time in his life I had to try and wake him up. Problem was, he didn’t want to. I literally had to force him to take his bottle … (ps. he doesn’t wanna take a pacifier. I had brought one anyways, but I ended up dropping it under the seat at take-off :-/)

Mommy + Markus in a plane
And then we landed … while he was still sleeping, quietly sucking on the bottle. Seconds after we hit ground he opened his eyes and looked around, and gave me one of his famous little smiles. This mommy was RELIEVED! First flight was over and had been so comfortable.  Flight attendant Laura helped me out of the plane with my carry-ons and helped get the stroller and car seat put together again.

Markus arriving in Palm Springs

I am thankful to the crew of JetBlue, and I’m thankful I got a seat for him. Now, I’m just awaiting our return on Flight 150 to NY on Dec 2.

Palm Springs Baggage Claim

On a side note … Palm Springs International Airport is so beautiful! Right after you get out of your gate, you walk outside amongst palm trees to get back into baggage claim. Everything is in a 60s style so you really feel like you’ve arrived! All in all, Markus’ first flight went so well that I’m excited to start planning the next trip. But first, let’s enjoy California!

Palm Springs International Airport

Palm Springs International Airport
Palm Springs International Airport

The Big Travel Day

The day has arrived. It’s now November 14, 2016 and it’s 6:15 AM. We’re traveling out of JFK, New York in about 12.5 hours and how much packing and preparing have I done? … I did laundry yesterday.

I’ve ALWAYS been like that. Always packed the night before, always run around last minute to get my tooth brush or passport. You know, the essentials. However, I never forgot anything and it was actually the best way for me to mentally get prepared. Because I was READY with adrenaline pumping at the airport. READY to TRAVEL!

Initially I’d assume that it’s not gonna work like that at all with an infant baby. And my intentions were to be completely done over the weekend. But things get in the way and before I knew it it was Sunday evening and baby fell a sleep while nursing, and then mommy fell a sleep too.

I got it … right?

To be …. continued …!

Traveling with baby
Updated: the following day…

Oh wow, so of course I had to run around and didn’t know how to finish packing in our carry-on bag. Things just didn’t wanna fit. So, I decided to get my large red four-wheel suitcase I’ve traveled with the past seven years out from the back of the closet – and I stuffed things in there. There was even room for the car seat base. Oh yeah, I decided after speaking with my flight attendant friend to bring my Graco Fastaction Click Connect travel system and just gate check it. More about that later …

We left our house in Queens a little too late, traffic getting into JFK was horrible. We made it by 1 hour and 40 minutes before departure. I had already checked-in online the day before but that was when I didn’t plan on bringing a checked bag.

I tried to maneuver from the curb into the check-in counter with my carry-ons, the stroller and the large bag. Thankfully a sweet woman, Karen, saw my frustration and came to help. She took the suitcase and walked me to the Help Desk (where I didn’t know I had to go, to get boarding pass for my baby) and checked my bag and got my boarding pass.

JetBlue Help Desk
We had a nice conversation, that comforted me. I was worried we had too little time. I was worried about the trip …  He was booked as a lap child which I kinda regretted the more I thought about it. Anyways. Karen was helpful, and so was the guy at Help Desk. 1-2-3 … and I had my boarding passes and now things were a little easier to maneuver.
In the line to security several people said: ‘Aww’, and ‘wow’ about my baby. Asking if it’s his first flight. Some people told me: “You got this girl!”. It was really encouraging.

Getting through security was a little bit of a hassle. Computer up, liquids up, stroller and car seat detached and up. Oh, and “please take your slippers off, we don’t care you don’t have socks on!”
Held my baby through the scanner and had my hands swiped. Getting my things together was HARD but a woman came to my rescue and put the stroller and car seat together so that I could put Markus down and gather the rest of my things. The bottles with breast-milk (2x 125 mls) were examined and off we went towards the gate.

newyawkerr gatechecking
As always JetBlue let’s families board first and it was GREAT … I was able to take my car seat on-board and gate checked my stroller. That was simple. Getting to the end of the plane (our seat was in the back row 25) pushing my Samsonite carry-on, diaper bag and baby in the car seat was impossible. Now I know that but then the flight attendant came to my rescue and helped me to the back row. Since it was not a full flight and the flight attendants were super nice and helpful – I was able to get a seat for Markus! 😀

I’ll end the post now and make a separate one for Baby’s First Flight .. so follow along tomorrow!

Edited: Here’s the link to Markus’ first flight:
http://newyawkerr.com/babys-first-flight/

newyawkerr car seat in plane

Car seat & stroller on your vacation

With only 11 days until our departure to Palm Springs I’m getting a little overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do in regards to car seat and stroller for my little one (He’ll be 3 months when we leave). I had initially planned on just carrying him in my Baby K’tan through the airport and then buy an inexpensive stroller with reclined back when I came over there. But then it hit me that of course we also need a car seat!
Then I thought of bringing an umbrella stroller we were gifted but I’m not sure it’s ideal for him just yet. I will be spending my time in California with family members who rented a car through Alamo for three months so I inquired about renting a car seat through them. BUT, this was their response on the option of renting a car seat for the few weeks we’re there (vs. the three months my family is renting the car) I got this response:

“In relation to your inquiry … renting just a child seat would be a very rare occurrence, if possible at all.”

I have to call the Palm Springs location directly but haven’t gotten around to that yet. Then I googled car seat rental and found this place: http://www.coast2coastbabies.com/ where you can rent baby equipment at a low rate. Their infant car seats starts at $6/day which isn’t bad.

Either way I feel funny about renting an used car seat. And if I have to pay even as low as $6/day I may as well just buy a car seat from an online store and have it shipped to the destination. It may be cheaper or even a little more expensive depending on which brand I’ll go by. No matter what – safety comes first and before ANYTHING!

Then going back to the stroller… Is it wise to count on a new stroller we haven’t had experience with and he may not like?

Or should I just bite the bullet and bring along our Graco Fastaction Fold Click Connect Travel System, stroller and car seat and hope that gate-checking it doesn’t smash it up?

You see how confused I am?

What do you do in regards to stroller and car seat for your baby when traveling?

car seat on your trip

First vacation with baby

In 14 days, I’m going on my first flight since December 2015. This time only – it’s going to be a total different and way more challenging experience. It’s the first vacation with baby! And I’m traveling solo!

I found out I was pregnant at week 7 after flying (for work) New York – Boston – Seattle – NY – Chicago – NY – Washington – Boston – Orlando. And then Amtrakking it from Orlando to NY. And, again back on a plane from NY to Antigua and St. Maarten before I finally arrived back in JFK again. All of this within less than two weeks. I thought I was feeling nauseous because of all the flying. But no, it was little Baby Kerr in the making.

My son was born in August, and on November 14 just a couple of days past turning 3-months we’ll be JetBlueing it from JFK to Palm Springs, CA. I’ve been in Palm Springs a couple of times before, but usually flying via LAX and then driving. But, this time around I’ve been able to book an award flight for relatively cheap going straight to Palm Springs where we’ll be staying at an AirBnb. The total for the r/t was $203 but I spent 13.000 TrueBlue points instead.

Just flying alone makes me a little uneasy especially when there’s turbulence. The thought of flying with my precious little one isn’t making it easier. What if something happens? What if he gets a little fussy? I’m breastfeeding but will be pumping for the journey, but what if it’s not enough. How to use the restroom? What if my fellow travelers look at me funny, or with disapproval? What if, what if…
I AM excited about introducing him to traveling and the many sights he’ll be experiencing (though he won’t remember it) – but it’ll form him and make him ready for the real big adventures he’ll be facing when he grows up – you know, because he has a mommy who’s a tour guide

Until next time, you can be sure that I’ll try and read all of the other blogs on experiences and tips traveling with little kids.
Do you have any recommendations for me?

If you want to follow us on Instagram, @nycandtours is our handle (until I create a more appropriate one that’s not too related to my NYC business) … and #NewYawKerrOnTour our hashtag.

MarkusOnTour