15 Feb 2013
Heading to the land of the free
Well, I’ve finally done it – flights are booked for a trip to America next month, to visit friends and some of my husband’s family. I’m not quite going to get that sun I’ve craved though… Average temperatures for Minneapolis, where we’re headed, are between -4C and 5C, at least half today’s unseasable mildness.
At least I should get my money’s worth out of Minnie’s snow suit (and the city has a clever network of tunnels to cope with winter snow and summer heat, which helps with indoor lurking and getting the buggy around). I need it, as although her ticketless ticket was a mere £19, taxes pushed it up to more like £80.
The good bit: we’re flying from our closest airport and going direct, so we won’t have to faff about changing planes or dealing with dead time in transit. The less good bit: that means the only option was to fly Delta, not an airline I know well and probably not my first choice (technically we booked with Air France so I could top up my miles, but it’s operated by Delta making that pretty well irrelevant) so we’re stuck with their baggage restrictions, rules and regulations.
And as we won’t be staying in a hotel, it does mean taking all the paraphernalia with us – including a travel cot this time – although it also means that when I have to puree a small farmer’s market for Minnie, I should have plenty of kitchen kit to borrow.
A good thing, as she’s entitled to 10kg baggage and one buggy, so quite what we’ll do about a car seat, I don’t know. And it’s the US, we’ll need a car. At least I’ll have my husband travelling with me, which means I get extra help carrying it all, and I have someone else for her to sleep on.
Yes, our first long-haul flight involves around nine hours on a plane. We can request a bassinet, although I’ve no idea if she’ll fit into it by then (one to check out for the To Do list) and the return flight is overnight, so I’m optimistically hoping she’ll doze off relatively well. On the way out, it’s daytime all the way – technically, except of course there’s a six hour time difference. Which leads me on to…
Jetlag. We land at 5pm. Sounds almost perfect – enough time to get through immigration and to our destination, and get her down to bed at approximately the right time. Except that her body clock will be telling her it’s 11pm when we land, long past her bedtime, and more like 2am by the time we get her into a cot. However many naps we fit in onboard, I can’t see her staying up an extra six hours without extreme protest… but I’m not keen on being woken up at about 1am, with her convinced it’s breakfast time. This one requires more thought. A lot more thought.
Thankfully, the US Embassy site says British passport holders only need a valid passport, so no worries about the fact that mine expires later this year – and which means I should be able to use my valid visa. But Minnie needs an ESTA, so that’s a bit more paperwork to plan.
With any luck, even the immigration officers won’t be immune to her winning smile and we’ll even sail through border controls. Optimistic, me?
Like the blog? Got a minute to spare? Excellent – because voting is now open for the MAD Blog Awards 2013 if you fancied nominating me in the Family Travel category. Or, well, any category. Just click here before February 18… Thank you!