It was a week-long trip to Oahu in Hawaii that seemed too good to pass up: My husband had taken up a two-month work assignment on the island’s North Shore in late August and after getting settled into both the job and an apartment, he suggested I book a ticket to visit. After all, he pointed out, our son was on the cusp of turning two and would soon no longer fly free as a lap infant. It seemed, to him, the perfect time to squeeze in a family vacation.
As the parent flying over solo, however, I was less convinced. We’d done a few short-haul flights a few months back, when our son was younger and much less mobile, but I’d never flown alone with a baby. I wasn’t sure that being trapped in an airplane for 10 hours with my one-year-old was really something I wanted to commit to.
On the one hand, I love to travel and wanted to instill that same sense of adventure in my offspring. On the other hand, I envisioned 10 airborne hours of tantrums, tears and very little sleep. But then I recalled some advice from a friend, who had managed to take her daughter to a dozen different countries before she turned two: “Thinking about traveling with a child is always more stressful than actually traveling with a child.”