Tuesday, July 7, 2009

To Addis and Back (Part 8) Travel Tips

So we left Addis the next evening. Here are some tips for those of you preparing to go.

1) When we made the initial reservations, bulkhead seats (bassinet seats) were already taken much to my dismay. However, upon check-in, we asked again and lo and behold, there was a bulkhead seat available. I ended up sitting in it with only one other person, not a parent, so I got the bassinet! Or rather, Charlie got the bassinet. She was able to sleep for most of the 6 hour flight from Addis to Amsterdam. Definitely ask. Ask at reservation time. Ask at check in. Ask the flight attendants when boarding.

(Caveat: Although the bassinet could be a God Send for the teeny babies, if your infant can crawl, just know you can't get any sleep as there are no straps and Charlie got up several times on her own and wanted to get out. Had I been asleep that would have been bad. On the other hand, having her sleep somewhere other than my arms for 6 hours was great!)

2) Infant Tylenol. I'm not a doctor so I'm not telling you what to do, but this advice came from another parent who was flying with a silent baby: Give your infant a drop of Tylenol 30 minutes before take off, and then have a bottle ready for the ascent and descent. The Tylenol will help their ears not expand, and the bottle will help them equalize their ears in case they still do expand a little. It worked! Charlie was quiet amongst the wails of 50 other infants when we took off.

3) Have several bottles ready for takeoff... sometimes the takeoff is delayed even after the plane has started moving! And I don't know about your infant, but Charlie doesn't like having her bottle taken away once she's started it. She was finished with her first bottle before the wheels left the ground.

4) Ask for an upgrade to business class. It ALMOST worked for us. It doesn't hurt to ask.

5) Don't wear jewelry. The machines are very sensitive. You'll have to take it on and off several times as there are several security points. Along the same lines, use an Ergo without metal, so you and the baby can walk through the metal detector without having to unstrap, unload, reload, etc.

6) In Addis, have your passport easily available in the parking lot, as you will have to show it to even enter the airport at all.

7) If you travel via Amsterdam, Schipol airport has a baby lounge. The lounge has individual "pods" with curtains, a bathing area, diaper changing station, etc. It's quite pleasant depending on the time of day. I was there twice. On the way to Addis, mid-afternoon, it was peaceful and quiet. On the way back, early morning, it was full of screaming babies and mothers trying to cram their own long bodies into the cribs (!). Hardly a place for a rest.

8) Your child does not need a visa for Holland if you are staying in Schipol airport during your connection.

9) I used an Ergo carrier and didn't bring an umbrella stroller. It was helpful to have an extra set of hands. Also, Schipol has the perfect size carts (free!) for carrying an infant.We had 6 hours to kill before our connecting flight, so this cart came in super handy. Plus Charlie enjoyed riding around the airport, gathering attention from all passerby.

So that was the trip. We landed safely after 28 hours of non-stop travel, and three seperate flights, exhausted, to be welcomed home by Opa. After a week in D.C., we made the long drive to where I live, and we've been here for a week now.


Leesavee said...


I am totally looking forward to my trip to get Amanuel and Meseret, but being on planes for that long with kids doesn't sound like a recipe for bliss.

GO CHARLIE!!! Good for you for being such a good girl for your mommy!

zoesimm said...


I just found your blog via another Maine/Ethiopia adopting Mom......Charlie is gorgeous! Congrats on bringing her home. I'll be staying tuned (LOVED your travel tips) as we progress.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! Glad I found your blog. I know you are soo busy, and I hope all is well. I am excited for you. She is beautiful. Kala Wolfe

ver said...

People must be responsible enough in picking where to stay in for a vacation or for any business appointment somewhere far from home.

Kara said...

Thank you for the tips. I just ran across you blog. We have been in process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia for the past 16months and offically waiting for
11. Your baby is sooo cute!!! Blessings to you.

Kara said...

Thanks for the tips. We have been in the adoption process for 16 months and offically waiting for
11. Your little one is sooo cute!! Blessings to you and your family.