Two Trips: Coast to Coast

Last week was full of travel, meetings and coordinating logistics. I spent the first part of the week in Washington, DC and managed to sneak in a few early morning runs around town. However, I spent the majority of my time in meetings in rooms without large windows. Grrrr!

dcCollage

I flew home late Tuesday night and the next afternoon, George, John and I flew from Houston to San Diego, California. Because I had a conference to attend in California and didn’t want to be away from John and George for a whole week, we made the trip a family excursion. John wins “Dad of the Century” for juggling George and work from our hotel room.

Below is a quick summary of our trip. I’ve included trip notes and tips, when possible.

IAH to SAN

Our trip began on Wednesday with a quick 30 minute drive to the airport and a 2.5 hour flight to San Diego. Little George was such a great traveler.

  • Checked Bags – We checked two suitcases and a Baby Bjorn portable crib for this trip. Although we don’t pay to check bags due to my status with United, we would have paid to do this. There was no way that we were going to be able to pack and carry everything on-board we brought for the trip. We ended up with three carry-ons (my purse, George’s baby bag, and John’s messenger bag), in addition to the stroller (we gate-checked this) and George’s car seat (which George used on the plane).
  • TSA Pre-Check – John, George and I have Pre-Check due to our status with United Airlines, but anyone can sign up for it. With Pre-Check, you don’t have to remove your shoes or liquids from your bag as you go through security. Infants are allowed to travel through Pre-Check with their parents, but we signed George up for Pre-Check to make sure that all of our bases were covered. This meant that I didn’t have to remove my cooler bag (with breast milk) from my baby bag and that I hand-carried George through the metal detector. The car seat had to go through the scanner and TSA hand-checked our stroller. If this is an option for you, you should sign up for TSA Pre-Check. It took us less than 10 minutes to get through security.
  • Airline Club – Due to my frequent travels, we have been United Club members for several years. These clubs have been indispensable during our travels for work and pleasure. I’m happy to report that these clubs are also helpful for families. After going through security, we spent some time in the club by our gate. We had the family room of the club all to ourselves and were able to eat, drink and relax in peace (and quiet). I know these clubs aren’t useful or relatable to some folks, but I thought I would mention it anyway.
  • Wear your baby – I wore George through the airport in our Ergo and he fell asleep on me in the United Club. Having George in the Ergo during the boarding process left our hands free to install George’s car seat and to handle our carry-on bags.
  • Frequent Flier – I have mentioned this before, but we are incredibly loyal to United. I know some folks love it or hate it, but we have always been treated fairly and have had some amazing travel experiences with them. Due to my status with the airline, we were upgraded to first class on our flight. Having the extra seat space and leg room was wonderful. There were twenty seats in first class and we had the entire last row (our friend flew with us too!).
  • Gate Check – We gate-checked our Uppababy Vista stroller inside the Uppababy stroller travel bag.
  • Seating Arrangements – George and I sat on one side of the aisle (he had the window seat) and John and our friend sat across from us. I opted to bring bottled water with me on board because I was concerned about having a drink spill on me/George in-flight. I also just picked up some grab and go snacks at the airport instead of partaking in the lunch offered on our outbound flight. Given my nerves and space concerns, I wasn’t sure how things would work out. Even though we traveled over lunch time, I was perfectly fine with grapes, cheese, and a Lara Bar.

 SAN DIEGO

My conference was on Coronado Island. I know this technically isn’t San Diego, but let’s just go with it. Due to the scheduling of the conference, we didn’t leave the hotel once.

  • Drive – Coronado Island is approximately 25 minutes from the San Diego airport. We rented a car and drove ourselves to the hotel.
  • Hotel – We stayed at the Loews Coronado Island and had a wonderful experience. Expect a review on the hotel in the coming days.

 SAN to IAH

We left San Diego on Sunday at 10:55AM and arrived in Houston at 4:15PM. I hate the time difference issues, but there was no way that we were going to leave earlier on Sunday.

  • Checked bags – We checked our two suitcases and portable crib (again) for the journey home.
  • TSA Pre-Check – Smooth sailing through Pre-Check at the airport.
  • Ergo – Without fail, George falls asleep when I wear him in the Ergo. He slept at the airport and only woke up when the plane took off and he was nestled in his car seat.
  • Airline Club – After going through security, we spent some time in the club by our gate. We had the club all to ourselves and were able to eat, drink and relax in peace (and quiet). A friend joined us in the Club and it was nice to catch up with him.
  • Gate Check – We gate-checked our Uppababy Vista stroller inside the Uppababy stroller travel bag.
  • Flight – Our flight was about 2.5 hours long. Between nursing George, burping and playing with him, the flight home flew by. Also, we had amazing customer service on-board.
  • Seating Arrangements – Like the out-bound flight, we were upgraded to First Class on our return. There were twelve seats in the First Class cabin and we were in the last row. George and I sat on one side of the aisle (he had the window seat) and John sat across from us (with a very nice stranger!). When it came to food, we did things differently. I ate (while John held George), and then John ate the lunch offered on-board (while I took care of George). Everything worked out perfectly.

PACKING

I’m getting better at it, but I can be the Queen of Over-Packing. We spent a lot of time making lists and thinking about what to pack for George for this trip and I think we are getting better and better with each trip. Here are a few notes/tips.

  • George and I shared a large suitcase. We may eventually travel with our own, but for now it seems easy enough to share.
  • The largest item I packed was the Baby Bjorn portable crib. Although George didn’t sleep in it, he did play in it.
  • I always pack too many diapers. Better safe than sorry, right?
  • We packed 3 Aden and Anais swaddle blankets. We love them and you can use them for everything.
  • I know they aren’t earth-friendly, but I always pack several sizes of Ziplock bags on our travels. You can use these for a lot of things – dirty clothes, packing wet items, preventing leaks/spills, etc.

CA Collage

Even though last week was tough for all of us, I am so glad that we spent the majority of the week together. Also, after three round-trip flights with United, George finally earned his flying wings!

CALi G united wings

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