One of the things that Matt and I have in common is that we’re both really spontaneous. Two weeks ago Matt said to me, “Let’s get out of NYC for a week!”. I was of course onboard and immediately started looking for tickets online. We were very lucky while planning this trip, because there were several things that fell into place while preparing for the trip. However, there were things that were a little stressful, like getting Sebastian’s passport in under a week. We waited for 3 hours at the Passport Agency to get it set-up (sorry Matt, #thanksforbeingpatient)!
If you’re like us and traveling(or will be) with your little one, here a few valuable tips we found that made our experience super smooth!
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have caught the photo of Sebastian in his passport photo. Too funny, right?! Bow tie and suspenders were the obvious choice for his passport photo. It took 3 business days to get Sebastian a passport. We went in on Friday morning and we picked it up on Tuesday afternoon. If you live in NYC and you’re traveling internationally within two weeks, you can go to the Passport Agency and request an expedited passport (this can be done for adult or child). All you need is proof of international travel within two weeks. If you can get an appointment, I’d highly recommend going that route as it’s a lot faster.
We got his photo taken at a local photography studio that takes infant photos. Be sure to call beforehand to confirm the studio takes baby passport photos. Most places need the child to stand up on their own. The photos cost $20 for two passport photos and was ready in 15 minutes. The following day we went to the Passport Agency at 8am. Our timing wasn’t the best because the following Monday was a holiday, so it was exceptionally busy. We waited three hours, but the time before this, I went in and it only took me 30 minutes. It really depends on the day. We paid $165 to get his passport within three business days. If you don’t have the time to wait, which we usually wouldn’t, you can also find local vendors who can get your passport expedited. The chargers are 2x the price, but if you don’t have the time, it might be worth the cost. The cost of convenience is usually worth it in this city.
Since we were traveling international, there were some fees and taxes for Sebastian’s flight. We also needed a ticket for him to get through security. Something we found out after we got through the security line. Be sure to check out the travel requirements for Domestic and International flights. For Sebastian’s round trip ticket, it was a little over $100. In the future, depending on the price of the ticket, we’ll likely buy him his own seat for longer flights. It would be nice to have an entire row to ourselves.
We took a cab to the airport and brought along our UPPAbaby car seat without the base. On our way to Mexico, we checked it with our luggage. There were no fees associated with checking a car seat or stroller. If you would rather check it at the gate, you can do that as well. There are pros and cons to both options. We liked being hands free in the airport. Car seats are heavy! On the other hand, we had to carry him the entire time. We never got a break and neither did Sebastian, which caused him to be somewhat fatigued (aka fussy).
On our way back from Mexico, we decided to wait and check the car seat upon boarding the flight. It was nice that Sebastian could fall asleep in his car seat in the terminal. However, we found that carrying him in his car seat was much more strenuous than carrying him in our arms. We also ended up having to wait at the gate after landing in NYC to get our car seat from under the plane. It was actually slower than had we checked it with our luggage.
There are pros to cons to whichever way you choose to go. I think we will check it at the gate if all we have are carry-ons. If we are checking luggage, we will simply check it with them to save time. As an aside, another cool thing we found out, is that we got to board early on both flights. Also, in Mexico, the customs agent pulled us out of line and checked us through immediately. It was amazing! Saved us 30-40min in customs line.
***update to article, we brought along the Solly wrap, but didn’t end up using while traveling. After I walked through security holding Sebastian, I saw the lady behind walk through security using a baby carrier. The TSA agent said I could have worn him through security, but I think this is something that may depend on the airport and TSA agent. In a few weeks I travel back to Kansas City and I’ll be sure to use the Solly wrap! Anyone have any experience with wearing a baby wrap through security?
Confirm the hotel is kid friendly. I’d also get recommendations from other people, especially if it’s your first time traveling with your child. There’s nothing more stressful than getting to a hotel or resort and realizing that it’s not the best environment for you and your family. You want your vacation to be as relaxing as possible.
We decided to book the hotel where we got married, Le Reve Hotel & Spa. If you’re looking for a hotel in Playa del Carmen, I’d highly recommend this spot for families. It’s a boutique hotel that’s kids friendly and relaxing for the parents. They offer all-inclusive so you don’t need to leave or worry about anything during your stay.
When we arrived at the hotel, they had a crib waiting for us in the room for Sebastian. It put a big smile on our faces! I’d highly recommend calling the hotel beforehand and asking them for any special needs you may have during your trip. Since I wanted to pump during the trip, we called to make sure they could refrigerate my breast milk. They were very accommodating!
*I plan on writing a separate post about what we packed for Sebastian.
We brought two small luggages with us on the flight. We made sure one of those was all of Sebastian’s necessities. In case our luggage got lost, we wanted to make sure little one had everything he needed on the trip. Matt and I both wore backpacks, having our hands free was a lifesaver when navigating through security and the airport. As we continue to travel more and more with Sebastian, we will get more efficient with what we bring with us for him. It will be a learn as we go process. Around food, we usually try to bring protein bars, almonds, apples, etc with us on flights. It saves money and is just nice to have snacks to eat whenever we need them.
Please let me know if you have any other questions below. Look forward to sharing more from the trip! We finally getting around to editing the photos. Yippie!
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