Last month we tackled our first ‘proper’ trip away as a family of three. I say ‘proper’ because although we’ve travelled around the country many times since Evie was born, this trip involved a flight, a crossover from the south of England to the north of Scotland and a full week away from home and all of our (read Evie’s) amenities and routine.
It might sound silly to anyone without children, but these tiny little creatures get attached to a whole host of paraphernalia within a very short time of being, and it’s almost impossible to bring all of that with you in a carry on bag! Oh and they also get fairly attached to their little routines too – and taking them out of that to haul them to the airport at silly o’clock leaves them pretty grumpy.
So suddenly travelling involves so many more considerations and so many more worries. What flight can we get that won’t disturb Evie too much? What buggy can we take that isn’t too heavy/ folds up easily? Do we need the car seat? And if so how on earth do we carry it? How can we fit 2 adults and a baby’s clothes for a week plus nappies, bottles, toys and sterilisers into 2 carry on bags? What do we do about Evie’s bed? And can we somehow bring the sleepyhead? What airport is going to be easiest to get to with a buggy, car seat, suitcase and baby? How will we cope without the sling/bath mat/her favourite toys for a whole week??
There’s just so much to think about! So compromises have to be made. That 8.30pm flight that’s the most affordable might have been jumped at when it was just me and Stu but now it falls right in the middle of bedtime and no one wants to deal with a tired sleepy baby in a busy airport. So you pay that bit more to go at lunchtime or first thing in the morning, willing to take the hit on price if it means a happy (and maybe even napping if we’re lucky) baby.
You leave bulky items at home and opt for a travel system that transports well, is light to carry and doesn’t take up much room.
You pack approximately 2 outfits each for yourself and fill the rest of the bag with all of the many outfits your baby looks super cute in.
And you pick the closest airport and get a taxi because you already predict you don’t need the extra stress of getting on trains and tubes and buying tickets with a baby on your hip and then trying to squeeze through the gates like a packhorse.
And of course you do cope, you do survive and you soon remember that Scotland has supermarkets too and you can buy nappies and wipes when you get there. You sneak the sleepyhead in your car seat bag and hope and pray that her favourite toy doesn’t change in the space of a week.
And actually, our little adventurer coped with it all like a pro, and dare I say enjoyed the excitement of it all (confirming my suspicions that she gets ridiculously bored at home looking at my face every day!). She got super excited at the airport, was a star on the plane and absolutely loved her week long holiday with grandma and grandpa – a week of being doted on, given all the attention and seeing new things daily. She was in her element.
But it’s not just about Evie of course. Stu and I were keen to make the experience as stress free and enjoyable for ourselves as possible too, as after all it was supposed to be a break and a time to relax.
And when thinking about how we could achieve this, taking a travel system that could go from house to car to taxi to train to plane to car to house again, as easily as possible was our number one priority. And so opting for the Baby Jogger City Mini and City Go travel system was a no brainer for us.
If you read my previous review of the City Mini stroller, you’ll already know how much I rate this product. It’s become our favourite buggy – and not just for travelling further afield but for daily excursions too. It’s light, it’s compact, it fits in the car easily and it’s such a smooth ride – Evie loves being in it, I love pushing it. But of course there are occasions where a travel system is needed, and the few times we found ourselves not using the City Mini, was usually when we needed to quickly transport E from car to location without disturbing her. So, when I found out that the City Mini could in fact be used as a travel system alongside the Baby Jogger newborn car seat – the City Go – I couldn’t wait to give it a go.
While we might not always take a car seat with us when going away, for Scotland it definitely was a neccessity as my parents live fairly remotely and getting anywhere without a car is difficult. Bringing it did mean another heavy thing to carry, but it made life easier on arrival as we could get picked up from the airport and be free to travel around throughout the week. Most airlines allow you to bring up to two baby items with you free of charge – so buggy and car seat/buggy and travel cot – and (top tip!) if you buy a travel bag for the car seat, you can then pack it full of the things you can’t fit in your suitcase such as nappies, wipes, or in our case – the Sleepyhead!
As far as car seats go, the City Go is also super lightweight so actually carrying it like a backpack wasn’t difficult (for Stu) and it isn’t at all bulky. It comes with a removable newborn insert (depending on whether you’re using it from birth or, like us, 6 months down the line) and also has a great UV hood which can fold up and down for use both in the car and out and about. It can be fixed in the car using either the seatbelt method (there’s a hook on the back of the seat to keep it secure and it honestly doesn’t move an inch once plugged in) or with an additional ISOfix base. At home we have the ISOfix base permanently fixed in the car so that we can easily just clip the seat in and out, but we decided against bringing it with us on the trip and instead just secured with a seatbelt which, despite my initial reservations, was also just as snug.
I often find car seats a bit fiddly to clip in and out, and figure out how to strap Evie in (it took me a LOT of practice with our original) but this one was really simple (even for me) and I really LOVE how lightweight it is when carrying Evie in it compared to most (I swear the muscles in my right arm are getting worked out so much more than my left with all this baby carrying I’m doing). My only slight criticism of this car seat is that it is very snug – great for tiny babies when you want their heads fully supported without any extra wriggle room but not so great for slightly older, wriggly babies who hate not being free to move their arms and legs. At 7 months, I don’t think Evie has much more growing to do before she’ll be too big for this one so I really wish we’d had it from the word go to make the most of it.
So, onto the set up I was most excited to try – combining the two items into a travel system. You will need two seperate adaptors before you can use the stroller in this way, but once you have those it honestly couldn’t be easier. The great thing about this system, is that you don’t need to take the stroller off to put the car seat on (like most travel systems), you simply fold back the stroller hood, and clip the car seat into the sides and hey presto, you’re done! No faffing about with different sections in a supermarket car park, or folding pieces up to squeeze in the boot before you can set off, and (the best part) no having to wake your baby up from a sleep to switch them from car seat to buggy – just two clicks and you’re ready to go. We used this option a lot while in Scotland, as we were in and out of the car so often it didn’t always make sense to keep switching Evie over, and so we’d opt not to disturb her while we made a quick dash around Aldi or nipped out for coffee. It did feel a little like she was our tiny baby again (as we so rarely do this at home now that she’s older) and there were of course occasions where she was keen to wriggle around and see what was going on, but for travelling purposes it was a dream.
This week we’re setting off again, this time abroad for a little family holiday to soak in the last of summer, and originally we weren’t planning to take a car seat, but now knowing how easy it made our trip to Scotland, we’ve decided to take it with us after all. Even though I don’t think we’ll be doing a lot of driving on this holiday, it’s worth it just to make getting to and from the airport easier.
Stay tuned for another post soon with my tips for flying with a baby in tow (hint: it wasn’t nearly as tough as I imagined and is totally do-able!)
This post is part of an ongoing collaboration with Baby Jogger but as always words, imagery and opinions are all mine. Thanks for supporting the sponsored content on this blog.