We went to San Francisco for my birthday and Mother’s day weekend. We were only there for four days, but we did so much that I had to make 2 travel videos. You can find them here.
- Alcatraz– This is a must for history buffs. The tour takes you on the island where criminals, like Al Capone, were imprisoned. Also, start a National Park Service passport for your little one (get it stamped at guest services). Eloise was a trooper until we got into the cells. Our little miss independent didn’t want to be in the stroller anymore and was running into people. If we tried to pick her up, she would cry. Since I’ve already been on the tour, I brought her to the gardens for her to run around and hubs continued the tour.
- Golden Gate Bay Cruise– Take a tour under the Golden Gate bridge, loop by Alcatraz island, and check out the beautiful skyline from the bay. It was a little windy, so we stayed inside drinking hot coco and saw the views through the window. When the boat went under bridge, we went outside to soak in the beauty.
- Pier 39– This place is a must! There’s cool shops, good restaurants, a fun 2 story carrousel, and the cute sea lions. We ate at Fog Harbor for lunch and it was so yummy. We ordered the clam chowder and the seafood tower. One of our neighbors recommended this place, and I’m glad she did!
- Muir Woods– Only 16 miles north of the hustle and bustle of the city, is this majestic place. Our little babe received another stamp on her National Park passport. Dedicated to the founder of National Parks, John Muir, this park is perfect to soak in the glory of Jesus. Look up to be in awe of the redwoods that are over 150 years old and tower over the trails.
- Twin Peaks- At 925 feet elevation, it is the 2nd highest point in the city with only a 3 feet difference to Mount Davidson. There was construction when we arrived which made parking a little confusing. We ended up parking next to a fence blocking the road. Since there was construction, part of the road was closed so we were able to walk on the street and take in the skyline undisturbed.
- Painted Ladies– The famous, colorful Victorian houses known as the Painted Ladies are a must. Bring a picnic and watch the sunset hide behind the houses from Alamo Square. Despite what people think, the Full House house is not one of these ladies.
- Full House house– A few blocks away is the infamous Full House house, ya know the show, cue the Tanners. If you’re in the area, check it out to feel a little nostalgic 😉
- Ghirardelli Square– There are fun shops, a pub, restaurants, and of course, Ghirardelli chocolates. We got a cute souvenir shirt for Eloise; can’t wait for it to fit her.
- Golden Gate bridge– Walking across the bridge should be on your bucket list! It was super windy when we walked across. I’m so glad we were dressed in layers (always my brother’s advice when we visit). You can see a beautiful view of the skyline, Alcatraz Island, Angel Island, and the Marin Headlands.
- Sue Bierman Park– Our little babe needed a break from the stroller and this was a good place to run free. We stumbled upon this playground across the street from the Ferry building. We love hanging out at the local parks. We met a few families there; one wanted to have a play date, but unfortunately, we were leaving later that day.
*Bonus*Kirby Cove– we were unable to make it here due to construction. We could not figure out a place to park then how to get down there. I was super bummed and I definitely would make a trip back to SF just to experience swinging while overlooking at the magnificent Golden Gate bridge- and why not, take a pic for insta, too 😉
Traveling is a big part of me and my husband’s life since we have been together. When we were expecting our first child, we wanted to bring her along on the adventure. We didn’t know exactly how that was going to go. I read blogs, watched YouTube travel tips, called the airline for advice & we still made mistakes. We have successfully flown 5 out of 6 flights with our little babe (1 flight was a disaster). We are definitely not experts, but we have learned a few things along the way.
- Book direct. If you can, book a direct flight to your destination. You don’t want to wake your baby up if he/she just fell asleep to make a connecting flight. Our flight to Las Vegas didn’t have a direct flight so we were forced to have a layover. When choosing a layover, make sure you have enough time to get to change a diaper before boarding your next flight. We usually choose an hour layover. You don’t want it to be too long, either.
- Book during nap time. We book our flights in the mornings. She is the best in the morning. We change her, feed her then she naps. On our flight back from Las Vegas, she slept the entire flight and woke up when we landed. It was awesome. We made a mistake when we flew back from Orlando in choosing a direct flight over a morning flight. We flew in the evening, and she absolutely hated it. We were all miserable. She cried the entire 2 1/2 hour flight. With all the stares from the people around us and even some from the flight attendants, it felt like an eternity. A sweet old man sat next to us and he kept telling us, “It’s okay, we’ve all been there.” And they have… we all have.
- Bring a copy of their birth certificate. We usually fly Southwest and they require a copy of our baby’s birth certificate to validate she is under 2. You can check them in either by calling when you book online or at the all service desk.
- Get to the airport early. We get to the airport at least 2 hours before our flight. Traveling with a baby means you have more luggage, require increase inspection in the security line and need some time before boarding to change a potential dirty diaper. Also, we give enough time to let our baby walk around near our gate to let a little energy out before having to buckle down in our laps.
- Security Line. I carry our baby in our Ergo. It makes it easier for me take my shoes off & fold the stroller (depending on the size of your stroller, you either have to run it through the x-ray or if it’s too big they will have to manually search it). Security will also test your hands for any explosives, which is super easy & fast. You’re allowed to bring formula, pumped breast milk or water for powder formula. They will test them to make sure it is what it is suppose to be and there is nothing else on them. Instead of having them open a bottle of formula, which is wasted if not drank within the hour, you or your significant other can elect to be manually searched. Hubs is always the one that gets searched. This may take a bit of time depending on how many people they are searching ahead of you.
- Family boarding. When we get to our gate, we always ask if there are any empty seats on our flight. We got lucky on our flight to Las Vegas. We had the whole row to ourselves and our daughter was able to look out the window, but also, we had easy access to go to the bathroom or just stand to rock her, if needed. Like I said, we usually fly Southwest which does not have assigned seating. They do have family boarding after all “A” seating has been called.
- Bring lots of snacks! I am all about giving them snacks on the plane to keep them quiet. Also, flying can cause dehydration & cause a fussy baby so don’t be stingy with giving milk early or giving water.
- Bring toys. I wouldn’t go crazy bringing a lot of toys, but bring a favorite toy or book. Also, bring a new toy and don’t show him/her until the flight. If all else fails, always bring an iPad. Our little babe is still too young for the iPad, but we brought one just in case (we didn’t end up even using it).
- Window or Aisle? If you’re unable to get the whole row, which seat is best? I tested both out and definitely have a favorite. The pros with the window seat is that the baby can look at the window and be distracted by lifting the shade up and down. But the cons outweigh it. The pros with the aisle definitely top the window seat. It’s easy to go to the bathroom if needed or walk around if she’s fussy. Also, we usually sit towards the back of the plane (not the very back because the seats do not recline). There are people going to the bathroom to distract him/her, engine noise and I feel like the people that sit there know what they are getting into!
- What to pack in your carry-on. I pack more than enough diapers just in case of flight delays and use overnight diapers for increase absorption. Also, extra onesie because you never know if there is going to be a leak or blow-out, you don’t want to be stuck with a naked baby or stinking like poop for the entire flight. On that note, pack yourself an extra shirt, too, because you don’t want to stink like poop, either! 🙂 It’s also okay to bring medication for your baby through security, and I highly recommend always being prepared. You never know when they will be allergic to something or end up getting sick. Other very important things: wipes (I wiped down everything she can possibly touch!), travel changing pad (very small table to change in the Southwest bathrooms- new planes have changing table in all bathrooms, old ones only have them in the front bathroom), milk, toys, snacks for baby and you, ziplock bags to place wet or dirty clothes, paci to help with air pressure ascending & descending (feeding baby also helps). We put all these items in a booksack instead of our diaper bag because it has more space.
- What to dress baby in. How to dress your baby for a flight depends on their age. Eloise’s 1st flight was when she was just 11 weeks old. I dressed her in a footed onesie so I wouldn’t have to worry if her socks fell off & risk her feet getting cold. Now, that she is almost a year old, I dress her in pants, socks, shoes, sweater & a zipped jacket that can be taken off if she gets too hot.
A bonus tip is to pack light. I’m still trying to work on this. In our most recent trip, I cut back to one large luggage for all 3 of us using travel organizers, but we had extra clothes so I think I could’ve cut back to a medium size luggage. We stayed at my sister’s house so we were able to wash clothes & I could’ve cut back if I thought about that. So, if you are able to stay at a HomeAway or Airbandb that has a washer & dryer, plan on washing clothes to save space. Also, pack mix & match outfits to be more versatile. I’m still working on this! LOL.
We are going on our little babe’s 1st international trip in June, if y’all have any advice/tips please comment below. Also, if I missed a good tip, comment below!