Broke-Ass Mom Flies Solo

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My son and I are taking an airplane trip today to visit my parents – his grandparents – and that made me think about how a Broke-Ass Mom would do it? How would a Broke-Ass Mom survive an airplane ride (alone) with a child without bringing all their toys, ten bottles, a carload of food, fifteen diapers, a carton of wipes, and ten videos plus a portable DVD player?

To survive an airplane ride, albeit a short one, say under two hours, a Broke-Ass Mom could skate by with a few (small) good books, two diapers, a handful of wipes, one very large (by toddler/baby standards) lunch, a bottle full of water (to be bought once past security), and a change of clothes (because you just never know). The lunch we will be bringing consists of two peanut butter sandwiches (the extra just in case we are delayed), carrots (takes a nice long time to chew these which could take the whole trip), apples (same benefit as the carrots), and maybe a box of raisins (This is a treat for my son, so try to think of a treat for your child that takes awhile to eat). For books, I always go as small as possible (We LOVE the Nutshell Library by Maurice Sendak!), and I try to choose ones he hasn’t seen in awhile. The more things there are to look at on the pages, the better because it gives you something to talk about. All these items should fit easily into one backpack. Do yourself a favor and check the rest of your luggage.

We luckily don’t need a car seat for our trip because my parents have one, and we’re taking the Ergo (I’m wearing it, and he’s riding in it) and mass transportation to get to the airport. We also are going sans stroller. I figure if you’re travelling to a place where a car is your main mode of transportation, why bother with a stroller? In our checked luggage, we’ll be bringing additional clothes, pjs, our “lovey”, plus the ever-important Zebra and Bunny. I’ll squeeze all of this into a rolling suitcase so I can drag it behind me. Hopefully, where you’re going has some toys for your child to play with; if not, just cross your fingers that whomever you’re visiting will be interesting enough.

The most important thing we’re bringing is our new travel bed. He has gotten too big for the Graco Pack N’ Play, so finally, after two plus years of research we settled on the Phil and Ted’s Travel Bed. The great thing about this travel bed, besides the fact that it only weighs seven pounds, is that it’s fifty-one inches long as a bed that packs down to a mere twenty-four inches. A rule of thumb: if you’re buying something that you’ll use for more than two years, then it MIGHT be worth buying new, otherwise, for God’s sake, buy it used. This travel bed can feasibly last longer than two years, but perhaps your five-year-old might prefer sleeping on a bed?

That should do it. The key is “less is more”, and this phrase has never rung so true. The more you bring the harder it is on you. Try to think about what you REALLY need, and not what you want. Remember to enjoy yourself; it can be fun, I promise!

Photo by: IstockPhoto wojciech_gajda

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Jennifer White - Mommy No Bucks

Jennifer White - Mommy No Bucks

Jennifer has been a bit of a nomad having lived in seven different cities. Her life as a gypsy has settled down for the moment in San Francisco with her husband and two-year old son. Recently, she decided to throw caution to the wind, quit her job as an analyst to be a full-time mom while chasing her dreams (and the Pulitzer Prize). When she's not writing, she's aspiring to be a luddite (although blogging isn't helping), knitting the occasional hat, or running in the park with her son and his secondhand compost truck in tow.

1 Comment

  1. Jeffrey C. Anthony
    February 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    We’ve done a few 6-8 hour flights with kids, and will say we’ve never relied on the toys in other places. I’ve found that a notebook, some twistables (crayons, with less challenge and mess) and some ahead of time learning of origami is far cheaper than most other options. Tic Tac Toe, dots and boxes, drawing things for your kids to color, etc… Even paper airplanes are great fun if stuck with a layover and your airport is not too crowded. Once upon a time, kids did not have/need piles of plastic junk made in the images of tv characters to have fun…

    As to snacks, I hate relying on situations and airlines, but I will say that Southwest is FAR better than any other airline on giving kids snacks, I’ve even witnessed Southwest flight attendants volunteering their own personal food (sealed) to kids when there’s been cancellations and delays leaving distraught mom’s screwed on planning. I also watched a Continental flight attendant refuse a person to purchase a snack due to timing as a diabetic and a bad case of low blood sugar.
    Other good tip, children love to feel important, so make up some good important jobs for them, such as keeping track of something that may not be important but you designate as such.

    Oh, and chewing gum is essential…