Friday, May 16, 2014

Traveling to Botswana With a Two Month Old

This past February, we ended our lovely time at home for maternity leave and departed Florida for the long trip back to Botswana. The route – Orlando to Atlanta to Johannesburg to Gaborone – includes the second- longest single leg direct flight in the world. It takes almost 17 hours to fly from Johannesburg to Gaborone. 

Asleep, post-bouncing.
Although this was not our first time on this flight, it was certainly our first time on the flight with a baby!  Throwing a two month old into the mix made flying a whole new experience. Our typical pre-baby routine on other long flights we’ve taken between, for example, Atlanta and Johannesburg; Shanghai and Chicago; Hong Kong and Newark; Shanghai and Sydney; or Sydney and San Francisco has been:

Arrive at airport two hours early
Check in
Saunter around airport and buy magazines and candy for the flight
Board plane
Excited to finally be aboard the plane.
Watch a movie
Eat dinner
Watch another movie
Take Ambien
Sleep for 8 hours
Watch movie #3
Eat breakfast
Watch movie #4

– And voila! There we are in a new destination.

Enter baby and change the travel routine to:

The little traveler.
Arrive at airport four hours early “just in case”
Parent #1 struggles through the airport with five suitcases (two for each parent and one for the baby)
Parent #2 juggles screaming baby, diaper bag, and stroller
Parent #2 hands off baby to Parent #1
Parent #1 bounces baby (who is still screaming) to sleep
Parent #2 quickly grabs some sandwiches for the flight
Two parents lug baby and stroller and car seat and diaper bag and carry-ons and finally board the plane
Two parents spend 17 hours taking turns stroking baby’s cheek, holding baby’s pacifier in his mouth, changing baby’s diaper, intently watching baby in his car seat to make sure he really is sleeping, walking baby up and down the aisle when he gets bored. Parent #2 feeds baby every three hours (she is the female parent).
Parent #2 manages to watch half a movie during the 17 hour flight.
When the plane lands, two parents wait until everyone else disembarks, and then they lug baby and stroller and car seat and diaper bag and stroller off the plane.

Two parents collapse in exhaustion…

– And voila! There we are back in Gaborone. Easy, right?! :D

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