A Month in Chile | Traveling with a Baby & 4 Year Old
This is the first blog post of many about our month in Chile. We stayed in 11 towns, each location, hotel and experience will be discussed in a series of posts. This one touches on traveling and packing. If you have any questions please email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We both work from home so to really get away and enjoy each other without stress we have to leave our house. We have decided to make this a yearly tradition even when it means working around school schedules. Next year we are planning on going to New Zealand.
Last year we took Poppy to South Africa and this year the 4 of us went to Chile. Poppy is 4 and Peaches is 6 months old. We are loving our month long family trips. Each day we’re away we do some of what Poppy wants to do and some of what we want to do. As long as we have coloring materials, she’s happy to sit through long meals and wine tastings. Afterwards we make sure to play outside, find a park, go hiking, swimming, to the beach… after all, it’s all of our vacation! We found this year we spent more time at our hotels which were destinations in themselves so Peaches could get at least one good nap in a day and go to bed when she was tired. We’d generally get up around 7:30, have breakfast, Peaches would nap until 11:30ish, we would venture out until 6:30 or so and then come back for dinner and bed. We would usually have lunch out and breakfast and dinner in.
A few things I learned about packing this year… I always over pack. No matter how minimal I go (the girls and I shared one suitcase) there are always things we don’t wear. I packed several things for Poppy and Peaches I thought they may wear in photo shoots, which they did not end up wearing. They were brightly colored dresses, hats and diaper covers which clashed with the natural earth tones that was most of Chile. We wore our sneakers over and all packed flip flops. Next year we will pack more substantial flip flops such as Keens as Poppy lost her footing several times and fell because her shoes were so slick.
I packed several knee length skirts which never saw the light of day. And lets face it, Peaches wears pajamas all day every day at home, why did I think I was going to put her in shirts and pants and onsies? That is a lot to take on and off each time a diaper has to be changed, especially when changing them on the fly in a gas station parking lot or on the side of a road or in the middle of the night when we’re trying not to wake everyone! I should have taken a dozen footed pjs, a really warm sleeper pajama set and 2 dresses for her. Lesson learned. Pack, unpack and then pack half the things I originally packed. Next year the four of us will share one suitcase.
John took his own which housed 8 pairs of roos, a combination of 7 pairs of pants/shorts, 8 t shirts, a sweatshirt and a rain jacket. He never wore the rain jacket but could have packed more pairs of pants. Being a man, his attire takes up much more space, which is why he got his own suitcase. I pack long skirts for my cool weather days and he packs Carhart pants which take up much more room. Next year, I will pack more long skirts that can be tied on the side if they need to become short skirts and more tank tops.
The weather changed so much in one day, it would be in the 40’s at night and in the 80’s during the day and the places we stayed did not have heat. So at night, we all wore our warmest outfits, socks, sweatshirts and long pants and during the day summer attire. It was important to have lots of layers.
Having Peaches this year we had to take lots more “baby stuff.” We took her Valco pack n play which weighs 7 lbs and her car seat and base along with Poppy’s Britax car seat and I took our Joovy Caboose Ultralight Double Stroller. The stroller was only used twice outside of the airports but when we did use it we were so thankful for it (we love the stroller we packed as it only weighs 20 lbs so taking it in and out of the car wasn’t such an ordeal and it was sturdy enough to haul all our luggage!)! In the airport it carried both car seats, both kids, the backpack and Peaches’ bed! We stacked it high with all of this which I pushed and John took care of the two roller bags until we got them checked in to go under the plane along with Peaches’ bed.
On the plane we carried a backpack with Tylenol (kids and adult), Benadryl (kids and adult), Cortisone and Benadryl cream, snacks, my laptop, coloring book, crayons, silly putty, beads/string, camera, flash, 24mm lens, 85mm lens, compact flash cards, batteries, chargers, phones, phone chargers, power adapter, diapers, diapers and more diapers, (Peaches tummy was upset on the plane but thankfully it started before we drove to the airport so we were over prepared!) wipes, toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, and a change of clothes for us all and 3 changes for Peaches. We make sure to carry things we will need immediately and all electronics on the plane in case our bag gets lost. We also packed two cloth bags that fold up to be very tiny so we could use those as our day trip bags and not have to carry our backpack or valises everywhere. We took cash and spread it out all our bags (once we got to Chile, traveling there it was all in our backpack) in tampon cases so if someone went through our bags they wouldn’t think to take the tampons. (thanks Candace!) Next year we will make sure to change some of the cash before we go to foreign currency to avoid the hassle of having to find a bank once we arrive. The money changing stations in the airports are always so busy and waiting with 2 small kids really isn’t fun!
We take Poppy’s car seat on the plane so she will sleep once she’s on it (it’s more comfy than the regular seats as it has her little head rest and you can prop it after take off to really lean back) and if there is an extra seat (we inquire before we board and if there is they will move us to a row where we have an extra seat, Delta was great about this!) we take Peaches car seat on the plane. If it won’t fit, we gate check Peaches car seat and the stroller.
On the way to Chile there wasn’t room for Peaches car seat on the plane so we gate checked it and the base. I was terrified I would have to hold her the entire 9 hours overnight to Chile but once we were up in the air I laid her on her belly on the floor in front of me (luckily we had a seat with lots of leg room!) and draped a blanket from the seat in front of me to my legs so the lights wouldn’t bother her as much. She slept great except when her belly was hurting and Poppy slept from the time we left the runway until the time we touched down. She has always been our little sleeper!
On the flight back, we requested a bassinet and the fabulous Delta crew moved our seats so we could sit where the bassinet would fit. We also took Peaches car seat on the plane this time, she slept in it a bit but she prefers sleeping on her belly so once the bassinet was set up she slept really well. We got really lucky that the flight wasn’t full and we got to have an extra seat for Peaches and the bed Delta provided!
We rented a 4 door manual Peugeot from Econorent which was $600 for the month, which was perfect. The credit card we booked it on included insurance so we didn’t pay for the additional insurance they recommended. There wasn’t room for one more thing in the car but it housed us all perfectly!
Pictured here is how we traveled in the airport, the only thing missing is our backpack. Many more photos in the posts to come!