When I got pregnant with Noey I knew I wanted to use part of my generous maternity leave to spend some time traveling. China was the obvious choice because it’d be the best time for Ke’s family to see Noey as early as they could, plus I LOVE China. I still hope to live in China one day, just for a few years, and am going to use this month long trip to play pretend as an expat haha. Almost everyone thought I was insane for wanting to travel for so long with a baby so young. Well they are all right, I am insane, but I am also travel obsessed and there would be no better time to take such a long trip with her.
There has been a lot of build up for this trip. We first started planning this trip when I was 3 months pregnant. That’s when we began getting input from my doctor and doing our research on how to accomplish this – one being speeding up her vaccination schedule. I read almost every blog post out there and interviewed all of my friends who had traveled with babies. This trip also inspired our purchases when it came to getting a stroller and carseat. We wanted everything to be travel friendly, specifically for traveling around China.
One of my biggest concerns was being able to book bulkhead seats so we could have a bassinet for the 12 hour flight. I wanted to book the flight as early as possible to ensure we got good seats but it was too risky to book it before she was born. There was too much uncertainty with how labor would go, recovery etc. Like would I still be up for it once she was actually here? So we kept passing up great flight deals and waited until she was born. We used Google Flights to track flights for a couple of weeks and booked an awesome multi-city flight at a good price.
Once the flight was booked, the next step was to get all of her paperwork in order. In San Francisco, it took about 3-4 weeks for her birth certificate to be ready – we picked this up at the SF office for it. We applied for a passport the next day. I’d recommend making an appointment. We had to drive far out to find a passport office with next day appointments. We paid for the expedited service so we could have ample time for the visa process but we probably would have been fine without it. Luckily since we live in SF, it was super quick to her Chinese Visa and Global Entry
A Summary of What We Did to Prepare:
- Sped up her vaccination schedule
- Chose a carseat and stroller highly rated for travel – especially when traveling by trains and multiple cars
- Booked direct flights and reserved a bassinet – United upgraded us to bulkhead seats for free
- Bought a multi city flight to maximize travel – we arrive in Beijing and depart from Chengdu
- Got her passport, visa, and Global Entry (in that order) as soon as we got her birth certificate
- Got her acquainted with her travel bassinet before leaving
I plan on writing about what we packed and how the flight goes =D. Fingers crossed we survive jet lag haha.