What: Long haul flight from Melbourne to London
How long: Car (4) + Flight (7) + Layover (3) + Flight (8) + Layover (1) + Flight (7) + Car (2) = 32 travel hours.
Layovers: Brunei, Dubai
Who with: Royal Brunei Airlines Rating? 9/10
Bub age: 6 months
Difficulty rating: 2/10
Last month, the Wayfarer family went international; the United Kingdom no-less, one of the furthest places you can go to from our tiny little South-Eastern part of Victoria, Oz.
We were a little trepidatious about this journey – I mean, we have a baby. We were voluntarily sitting down in an enclosed steel tube with a potentially-screaming and definitely-pooping baby for over THIRTY hours. Was this really a good idea?
We thought so.
Always believing that it is better to be forearmed and organised, (or as my husband likes to call me: controlling) I scoured the internet in search of tips and tricks. And if I failed at finding those: really strong sleeping pills…
Whatever your tactical poison: read on for my version of what worked, what didn’t work, and how much sleep we all got.
My main sanity savers & hints:
To be honest, it is not the confined space, or your bumbling tot’s threatening wails that are the enemy: like most other forms of public transport, it is the other passengers who are your true adversaries. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I am a smiley, easygoing, polite to the point-of-being-submissive passenger on public transport. But on the inside, if you slight me, I am secretly plotting how I can put an untraceable substance in your in your half-size coke.
There was the Asian lady that insisted on hitting me on the head and tutting me when I put my seat back. Then there were the toddlers either side of us that sporadically screamed throughout the entire leg. When I saw that same family boarding with us for the last flight, a small part of me died…
But, I digress. It really wasn’t a difficult journey at all. Checking in was a breeze (I would strongly recommend checking in online if you can though), and we could take the pram all the way to the gate. Boarding was a cinch. Unless you fly first class regularly (in which case you probably aren’t the type that reads crunchy/adventure/living-with-less blogs like this one) then this will be the first time in your life you can push past the masses and demand to board first. Ah its the little things.
Flying was easy, no ear pressure complaints from bub, and as soon as the seatbelt sign went off, the bassinet was up and he was asleep. Layovers were cruisy, he just played on a muslin on the carpet with a couple of well chosen toys…The hardest part was fitting the carseat into the rental car after a 30 hour journey.
“this will be the first time in your life you can push past the masses and demand to board first.”
So what made it easier?
1. Call your airline ahead of the flight and confirm all the details that the travel agent promised. You want a bassinet, and to be sitting in the bulk-head row.
2. Its annoying, but you have to check your pram in for the entire journey. Do it at the gate, and confirm with the check-in desk that they will have it at the destination gate for you. Take a baby carrier, so you can be hands free during your layovers. Some airports have free prams to lend, all you can do is ask.
3. Take less carry on. I repeat. Take about half as much carry on baggage as you think you need. Why? Cause its just plain annoying to carry stuff around with you on layovers and through security. Think light and free. Plus you end up hunting through bags. I hate hunting for stuff… it’s always when your baby is cracking it too…
4. Take the airline staff up on the offer of “Just press the call button if you need anything“. Just ask for that extra snack and cup of tea.
5. Stay hydrated. Seriously. It reduces jet lag, makes your skin bouncy and you won’t end up with tree-trunk legs.
6. The Airline. We had heard good things about Royal Brunei, and we were impressed. We were able to take 30kg each, plus 10kg for the baby. PLUS a free car seat or pram. It was a luxury knowing we could take everything we wanted. Also, they didn’t charge us for extra baggage on the way home, and as promised, they brought our pram to the arrival gate at the destination. They were very attentive, and never delayed in bringing us anything we needed.
I would highly recommend taking your own car seat as well.
For baby..I trust that you know what to pack for yourselves…
Baby carrier: Absolute must.
Nappy bag: For me Backpack or rollerbag: For hubby.
Muslin: Breastfeeding cover/play-mat/bassinet cover (essential to block out lights for sleeping bub)
Swaddle: A velcro one, or purpose built one.
Pram clips: To clip the muslin to the bassinet so baby can sleep in darkness (the darker the muslin the better)
One or two toys (don’t go crazy here, you won’t need many). You can use so many things in your handbag as toys.
At least 2 extra outfits for bub. Trust me.
At least one extra top for Mum. Again, trust me.
The usual stuff: Nappies(at least 12), wipes etc. Formula + bottles etc.
Did we need baby Panadol? No. Did we take our own blankets? No. Did we take a sleeping bag? Yes. Was it cold enough that he needed it? No. Did we take too much stuff? Yes.
*Tip: Put all baby food and bottles etc into a different bag as they count as liquid and need to go through security separately.
I hope you have a cruisy journey like we did, and please comment below with any extra questions or queries.
Travel safe! x