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International Travel with an Infant Part 2: Getting Back

One trip is never like the next, so you always have to be prepared for anything when traveling with an infant.

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

After a wonderful visit with my in-laws, and a gorgeous wedding reception, it was time for Louis and me to head back to the states. The plan was that Louis would get Hallie and I settled for the month of August, and at the end of that month he would be flying back to England. His return trip didn’t work out that way, after a conversation with an immigration lawyer, and at the time we didn’t realize that Louis would be staying in the US. He would have packed more if that were the case! Oh well.

The Train (again)

Back to the travel adventure. We took a train together to London, where we met up with my parents at a nearby hotel. We would take an early flight in the morning, so it was important that we were in London the day before. With Louis accompanying me, the train journey was totally easy. We all had a good time together, and it was nice to enjoy the journey when I didn’t feel like a zombie. We met my parents in London and checked into our hotel, with an early morning flight ahead of us.

The Plane (again)

We made it to the airport without worry, especially since I was already mentally prepared for a forward-facing car seat. Once at the airport, we were swept through security once again with my infant in tow. Thanks, Hallie! However, the plane journey would be different. I was still flying Air Canada, but I had not opted for the upgrade on the way back. Louis would not have been able to join me, and I’m a sucker and wanted to sit next to him. So, we crammed into regular seating, much to the excitement of the young gentleman next to us. I could see it on his face that he was not looking forward to this flight, and I prayed that Hallie would behave herself. This was not an overnight flight so, fingers were definitely crossed.

The plane journey went smoothly. We had some hilarious moments where Hallie would stretch her legs on to the lap of the stranger next to us (especially when nursing). I would apologize every time and adjust her, but he insisted that it was not a problem and seemed genuine. She wasn’t screaming so he probably figured it was in his best interest to leave her be. Hallie fell asleep in my lap at one point, pinning my arms, and Louis had to feed me my in-flight meal. She was happy as could be, and barely made a fuss. Once we had arrived, the stranger turned to me and said, “she did great!” as if it were some great surprise. Trust me sir, I’m relieved, too.

I was hoping that customs would be easy again, but no such luck. We spent at least an hour in line, and the only babies getting shoved ahead (by other travelers, not airport personnel) were the ones screaming. Hallie was not one of those babies, and it was a rare moment that I cursed her constant happiness.

The Car (again)

Once we were officially allowed into Canada, our adventure started to get really fun. We went to get the car my parents had paid to store, and it was completely dead. Wouldn’t start at all, and the airport would take zero responsibility despite having parked it themselves. It took a while to find someone to jump-start it, and it was not a cool day. The sun was beating down, there was no shade, and I still had an infant strapped to me. Mama Bear came out to play, and I asked the grumpy agent what he expected me to do with my infant child while it all got sorted. Guess who got to relax in the air-conditioned office meant for one person? This mama and her baby.

Eventually, it did get figured out, and we spent another couple days enjoying Montreal. The last leg of the journey involved the 6-hour car ride back to New York, which meant crossing another border of course. Louis was nervous upon approach of the US border patrol station, but there was no reason why there should be trouble. Unless you get a completely judgmental agent asking questions about your internet relationship, which we often have the luck of running into.

When traveling through an airport, your passport gets stamped no problem. Word to the wise, when traveling by car, agents at the small kiosks do not have the ability to stamp your passport. This meant that our whole troop had to be pulled aside and stuffed into a very small building for a passport stamp, as well as further questioning. The people inside were much nicer than the people outside, but still. It was a very stressful experience for us all.

Once back on the road, we figured that our troubles were over. Hallie, however, decided she was spent. She was done with our crap, and honestly, we had asked a lot from her. Hallie decided that she wanted to breastfeed, and she is not one of those children that eventually gets tired of crying and falls asleep in the car. Hallie will scream until her needs are met and there is nothing you can do about it. So, we had an impromptu stop, and Hallie managed to tolerate the rest of the trip.

Home Sweet Home

It was refreshing to be home, because we had been gone for about a month. Hallie recognized her familiar surroundings and you could tell she was pleased. It was also wonderful having Louis with me, because before the trip it had been Hallie and myself for a few weeks. The trip was amazing, and Hallie did very well for the small infant that she was. If I had to do it again, there are definitely things I would do differently, and I’ll talk about some travel tips in the next part of this series. Despite the hiccups, I’ll never hesitate to travel with my child (or children) in tow. You just have to be prepared for it all, including the unexpected.

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