If you are about to embark on the 1st trip with your 1st child, or your 10th trip with your 3rd child, traveling with kids will always be daunting. There is so much to think about. What to pack? How to get there? It’s a mind boggle with so many potential worries.
These are some tips that I believe will help parents from going insane.
Some are for babies, some are for older children, some for you but one thing is for sure, preparation is key and once you arrive at your destination it will all be worth it!
Take it slow – You do not need to be the first on the plane nor do you have to be the first to get off the plane. Sit back and let everyone else rush around you. Take deep breaths and move when you are ready.
Don’t over pack – Remember that almost everything can be bought abroad. It might not be the same brand, but you’ll manage. Your nappy bag will count as your carry on, so make sure you’ve got everything. Baby wipes in abundance, Nappies, Baby food/Snacks, For bigger kids chewy sweets to avoid sore ears on take off and landing, change of clothes for all, one plastic bag to store anything that may get destroyed, headphones and a little bag with medicines you might need.
Brand your little – This may sound awful. How could you lose your child? Honestly – It happens. You are busy and they are distracted and airports are bright and shiny! A friend told me that she started writing her number across her child’s arm for such events and I really thought this was clever.
Baby wearing or a travel stroller for the win! – This is of course a personal choice. I am the crazy person that loves a sling and also a Yo-Yo. The sling for going through all the security points and also I can feed her in the sling and she would happily sleep in it. The Yo-Yo for when I am in need of my own space and she is happy to sit and watch everything around her. The one thing she loves about airports – People watching!
Small gifts – When you really feel like you need a break -new toys wrapped up make for a great distraction. It may only give you 15minutes but any 15minutes is a win in my eyes.
Tablets – All screen time rules should go out the window for a bit of peace! Who’s with me? In all honesty though, Netflix allows you to download their favorite shows on to your device and it has saved me on so many occasions. Remembering that a lot of planes don’t allow the on flight entertainment to start until up in the air and sometimes there is a big wait from boarding to that point. You can also get kid friendly and educational games that they haven’t played yet to hold their attention.
Snacks – If in doubt, no amount of food is an issue. Keep feeding. Hopefully not all sugary treats (just so you have some hope of a nap) but my little’s love food so it is a great distraction.
Timing is everything – I like to plan my flights around bedtime if at all possible. Evening flights can be more expensive, but a sleeping child is good for my sanity and of course everyone else’s ears. Give yourself a couple of hours if connecting on to another flight to stretch legs, visit bathrooms, eat, talk, play, and get ready for the next flight.
Where to sit? – The middle of the plane gives you the option of using the bulkhead seats. Not only would you get more legroom and more floor space for play – it also means the possibility of a baby cot. However, it also means that you wont have any storage under the seat in front of you. Sitting at the front is similar to the back, except the kitchen area is typically smaller, and busier. One other thing to consider that really depends on the child’s age is, window or aisle seat? You need to decide is it better to be tucked away or have space to move.
Check in online – One of the biggest blessings the internet brought to us was online check in! Minimize your time once you arrive at the airport. One of the easiest things to do is online check in. All you have to do is drop the bag and go through security. All about the easy, stress free options.
Arrive Early – You may have checked in online but it is still far easier to do the queues of visa control and bag drop at your own ease. Get through it calmly and try to let the kids run about and use up all of their energy closer to your departure gate.
Keep calm – what is the worse that could happen? Yes your child could scream or make you feel like all eyes are on you but who really cares. It is a moment in time that you will have survived. Sit back and enjoy what ever moments are enjoyable.
Remember that YOU will be FINE!
When you get there treat yourself to something you like.