We had the BEST time on our family vacation to Southern California. On Sunday we took a nonstop flight from Cleveland to LAX, rented a car and drove down to Newport Beach to stay with friends who have a baby boy about three weeks older than Joey. Hanging out with two babies for a couple of days was so much fun. On Tuesday Andy, Joey and I drove to Palm Springs where we checked into the AMAZING hotel, The Parker (I have lots of pictures to share!), and then did our absolute favorite thing to do in Palm Springs: just drive around looking at houses. On Wednesday afternoon we flew back to Cleveland from Palm Springs, via Dallas. So it was a quick 4-day trip, and we could not be more proud of how Joey handled the whole thing.
A few friends have asked us to report back on what we packed, what mistakes we made, and how we handled traveling with a 3-month old.
Our Packing List
- 2 outfits for each day — we were lucky to have access to laundry, so for 4 days we took 3 onesies/tops, 1 dress, 2 pairs of pants, 2 sleepers, 2 pairs of socks, 1 jacket. We made sure to have an extra onesie and pants on the plane for any potential accidents.
- 4 bibs — we recently bought bandana bibs that we absolutely love. They catch the drool and spit up that would otherwise ruin a clean outfit. Plus, she just looks super cool in a bandana!
- burp cloths — we took about 8 burp cloths. I kept 2-3 in my diaper bag and the rest we kept in the suitcase.
- pacifier clip — being able to clip a pacifier to Joey was huge because we didn’t have to worry about losing it or it ever falling on the disgusting floor.
- 4 bottles with tops — we do a combo of exclusively pumping and formula, so all of Joey’s meals come from a bottle. We were just fine with 4 and would have been ok with 3. We kept all of these in our carry ons.
- formula dispenser — we didn’t know these things existed until the last minute and they’re a real game changer if you’re a formula feeder. We bought a couple different ones to compare and loved this one a lot. We measured out meal portions of the dry formula into the compartments, and then filled a couple of bottles with fresh water after security. When we needed to feed Joey on the plane, we just needed to funnel a pre-measured portion into a bottle with the water. No need to measure frantically while she’s crying, no need to worry about the big can of formula (but we did bring it in our carry on just in case), no worrying about the bottle going bad in the heat.
- pump — I had to bring my pump (why can’t these things be smaller???), so I brought a battery pack instead of a plug to make sure I could pump anywhere and not have to be near an outlet. We kept this in Andy’s carry on because I didn’t want to risk it getting lost with our checked bag.
- diapers — since we were staying with friends, I had a small package of diapers shipped ahead of time to avoid having to pack.
- wipes — I brought one package of wipes in my diaper bag.
- toys — Joey has a couple of toys that always make her happy, so I made sure to pack those in my diaper bag so she’d have something familiar on the plane.
- blanket — same thing with her favorite blanket and it was nice when the plane got too cold — for me!
- car seat — we debated A LOT about the car seat and stroller. We decided to bring the car seat since we had a lot of driving and didn’t really want to use the potentially gross and dirty car seat that we could rent with the car, and we decided to NOT bring the stroller. In hindsight, it would have been nice to have a stroller, especially on our second flight when I carried Joey in my arms from one terminal to another at the Dallas airport, but I’m also glad that we had one less thing to lug around. Mostly I’m just excited for when Joey is old enough for a little umbrella stroller that takes up less space.
- car seat gate check bag — a friend lent us this and it was really nice to have to keep the car seat from getting dirty.
- Ergo — this is the only thing I wish we hadn’t taken. We only used it once, and both Joey and Andy got really hot and sweaty using it. Then it just took up a ton of space in our bags. It’ll be better, I think, once Joey doesn’t need the infant insert.
That’s about it. We each had one carry on (mine was my everyday purse/diaper bag), and checked one small duffel bag for the three of us. (We’re light packers.)
Joey handled flying really well. She slept through takeoff on all 3 flights. On the last flight she screamed during landing because her ears wouldn’t pop, so we held her pacifier in her mouth to keep her sucking on it, to make her swallow, which worked after a few minutes. It would also be a good idea to feed her during landing, but we never were able to time that properly.
We were also lucky to encounter so many really nice people on all the flights. We always sat in the middle and aisle seats, and on 2 of the 3 flights the person in the window seat offered to switch if we wanted, which was so thoughtful. We were happy with the aisle, though, so that we could get up to take Joey to the bathroom if necessary — Andy did have to change her diaper in the plane bathroom once, and another time I changed her in an empty seat next to us.
We had worried about how to handle the time change as far as Joey’s normal schedule and bedtime (about 8:30 p.m.), but it really wasn’t an issue. We just put her to bed with her normal routine when she needed it and let her take all the naps she wanted during the day. It made for a more relaxing vacation overall since we weren’t on the go the whole time and we could spend time just sitting around while she napped. A well rested baby is a happy baby. And resting is pretty much what vacation is all about anyway!
I’m so glad we were able to take this trip — our first family vacation! — and that it went way better than we had feared. So now we’re excited to go on another vacation!! Where to next?? Oh, I have a list. Of course I have a list! :)