I am so sorry this has taken (a month) to post! Work and being a mum has got in the way!
So…I received so many messages about traveling with a baby especially travelling solo so I hope I can share advice and tips here.
I flew out from Gatwick on my own with Georgie which I was slightly nervous about as I had never flown solo with her before. We did fly with her to the South of France last August when she was only 4 weeks old, you can read about it here, but there were two of us and she slept the whole time, I don’t think she opened her eyes once. At seven months old, this trip was going to be a a bit different…
I booked myself into the No1 Lounge at Gatwick which turned out to be a very good idea. Included in the booking I got premium check-in and security so I went straight to the front and through a separate security line. When I flew before with Georgie we went through the family and special assistance security, which took ages getting young families thorough, but with premium I by-passed that luckily. Once through security I went to Boots collect the formula powder that I had ordered and made my way to the lounge. This meant I had a few hours before the flight without all the hustle and bustle and noise of outside. Luckily we had a little booth to ourselves so it was relaxing and quiet so I could get Georgie to nap. The lounge has great double aspect views over looking the runway and food and drink is included so you can order as much as you like. There are also free magazines and newspapers for you to take on the flight with you. I had about three and a half hours to spare by time I got through as I could only get a lift earlier in the morning and actually this worked out well as there was no rush and I could relax and enjoy the free bar, buffet, and menu food for breakfast and lunch.
Just to re-cap on the formula situation, you are allowed to take ‘enough’ milk for travelling. Before I left home I filled up 4 x 8oz bottles with sterilised water from our Perfect Prep machine just as I would do a bottle on a normal day. I only added powder to one of them to get us to the airport and through security. The other bottles were just the water as they would go off if I mixed them all with powder before leaving home. When you go through security they will take your bag and will test the bottles by putting them in a special machine to make sure they’re not dodgy. They are used to doing this and it was very easy. Once through security, I headed to Boots to collect a large tub of formula that I had ordered. I was then free to mix the powder into the bottles as and when we needed them. It was all very straightforward.
The key to a smooth travelling experience is taking your baby’s home comforts so that was her swaddle bag and Sleepyhead so sleeping felt normal to her and she felt secure and relaxed. I also highly recommend taking a baby carrier so you have the buggy to put your bags in. Just made it a lot easier. The Ergo Baby was very kindly gifted to me.
This was a great hack. I took the hood off the buggy and placed over the Sleepyhead for nap time to block out the light and make her feel more secure.
Champagne with a view!
With an infant you are allowed to take two pieces of equipment with you as far as the plane door. This can be the buggy, travel cot or car seat etc. On our first flight last summer we took the buggy and car seat but this time I took the buggy and Sleepyhead. I used the same protector bag from last time which is huge. You can buy this here, XL large. This fits the Bugaboo and I put the Sleepyhead in it too so actually I was only taking one piece so could have also taken something else but didn’t need to as the hotel provided a travel cot in the room and the taxi would have a car seat. On top of this you also have a carry on bag for them as well as your own so they are quite generous when it comes to flying with an infant.
Here is the bag, literally shoved everything in it including coats.
Of course folding down the buggy and packing this large bag at the gate was very hard with a baby strapped to you in a carrier and only two hands. There was only one member of staff who was busy checking passports and boarding passes so I did struggle so had to ask two people to help me. Basically when a baby is strapped to you it’s nearly impossible to bend down. Lets just say wearing a jumper was a mistake. I was a sweaty mess! I guess this is why most people don’t travel alone with a young baby…Only me eh, always up for a challenge (sob sob!)
Once on the plane I realised they had upgraded me to their larger seats ‘space plus’. It was only a small plane as the flight was just over two hours. This seat was great though as it meant I was the second row from the front so was easy to get out and stand in the galley with Georgie once we had taken off rather than walking up and down the aisle. They had more leg room so as I am quite small I was able to literally sit in the foot-well whilst Georgie sat on the seat for some of the flight. The two ladies next to me were very nice and there were three Chinese girls behind who were literally obsessed with Georgie. They were squealing with excitement, taking videos and photos and even held her as I put our bags in the over head lockers and took off the Ergo Baby carrier, they all loved her. Georgie slept for about half of the flight and she was very easy. However I did have a horrendous headache from the stress of just being alone and carrying everything so an air stewardess gave me some pain killers and kept bringing me water and checking on me throughout the flight. Shout out to Claudia!
We landed and collected our bags, the big blue bag came out on a separate belt for over sized items. Again I asked someone to help me take the buggy out etc. Once through security we made it to arrivals and lets just say I was extremely pleased to see my husband waiting for us. Georgie was handed over immediately! Phew!
We took a taxi from the airport straight to our hotel. It was around 6.30pm by this point so I was ready for a much needed lie down! We had to wait a little longer as the taxi rank to get a taxi with a car seat. Georgie’s first ride in a big girls seat…
We checked in at SB Glow which was about half an hour from the airport towards the city centre. Georgie loved her big bed (she actually slept in the Sleepyhead in the travel cot) and I went off to the roof top pool to sit in the steam room to unwind whilst my husband put Georgie to bed. It had been a very long day.
For dinner we ordered a Thai from Uber Eats to the hotel.
The only negative about the hotel room was that it wasn’t really suitable for the three of us. Georgie has been sleeping in her own room since Christmas and this meant she was back with us so we had to basically eat and chill out in silence in the dark each evening from 7:30pm. In previous hotel trips we have put her in the bathroom but this was an open plan bathroom with the room so it wasn’t great but we made it work. It was also really hard to sterlise her bottles because the basin was a modern basin with no plug, just a sloped slit at the back so we had to keep the tap running to keep the basin full. We used the Milton cold waster steriliser tablets. We used these in the South of France too and are really handy.
The next morning we had breakfast and went up to the pool to chill out and read our books whilst Georgie had her morning nap in the buggy next to us. The hotel pool was beautiful with amazing views across the city and with the Sagrada Familia in the distance. Although it wasn’t sunbathing weather it was very warm in the sun, around 18 degrees except on the day we left it was 23 degrees (typical) and lots of people were up there sunbathing.
The rooftop had a large seating area and restaurant and bar as well as a gym which my husband enjoyed.
The hotel was directly next to a brand new shopping complex, a bit like a mini Westfields. It was perfect as there were restaurants and cafes galore as well as lots of shops including a massive Zara and Mango. I bought a few things in Zara as it was a bit cheaper than the UK. There was also the most incredible supermarket ever. Puts Sainsbury’s and Waitrose to shame (lol). Just so much fresh food and choice. I think its the way they present the food. We wanted everything. We stocked up so we always had food on us and used the mini bar fridge in the room for the yummy cheese and drinks we bought. Move over over-priced mini bar food and drink!
We had a picnic lunch of fresh baguettes, cheeses, hams and olives. Yummy. We walked for miles and stopped for a break in the park of the Sagrada Familia for strawberries and chocolate sauce. The best snack ever!
The next day was my birthday! We had croissants, more strawberries with chocolate sauce and the best in bed before heading out for the day for a surprise lunch.
We took a short taxi ride to a restaurant called Mirabe which is situated on a hill top with stunning views over looking the city and sea in the distance. Make sure you book a window seat. Sunset from here would be incredible!
A very good Paella! Sorry guys, I’m veggie!
Georgie enjoyed the views too after her nap.
After lunch we took a stroll down the hill through the park and then took a bus to the marina.
Back at the hotel we went up to the rooftop to watch the sunset with a bottle of Prosecco that they had kindly left in our room as a little birthday treat.
A couple more photos of the hotel…
Was in love with this huge olive tree!
Last few hours by the pool before heading to the airport, the warmest day.
Was very glad to not be travelling solo for the return fight. Daddy to the rescue!
Goodbye Barcelona, you’ve been great, see you soon!
Thanks for reading and I hope it helped with some travelling tips with small babies.
*This post includes some gifted items.