When I was younger I used to see these moms in airports carrying their babies 👶🏻👶🏼 their bags and their kids pulling some cute suitcases behind them. I remember thinking: "how great!! me too one day I'll take my kids all around the world and it will be so fantastic to share these adventures with them". When you become a mother the way you used to think changes, it's pretty much inevitable but guess what? That's one thought of mine that did NOT change. Each time I'm able to travel with my kids I feel so privileged to see new places with my little explorers. I'm not gonna lie, I do miss eating my food in peace while watching a movie on the plane but apart from that I still feel pretty lucky to be one of these moms carrying my babies, my bags and having my toddler pull his Mickey Mouse suitcase. 😃
I had the chance to fly in economy class, comfort class and business class. I have done train trips 🚂 , boat trips 🛥 long long long car trips 🚙 (we crossed the USA from West to East with our first son when he was 16months old) and plane trips✈️, many many plane trips. I have gone on long and short distance flight with one kid.I have done stopovers and direct flights. So far with my 3 kids, the longest flight was 3hours (we are planning a 14hours flight to LA soon.. wish us luck!!). Often I found the shortest flights harder for some reason, maybe because the kids don't have the time to settle and often the planes are smaller and less comfortable.
All this to say, over these past 3 and a half years travelling with young children I have come up with my own little tips and I wanted to share them with you. 😉
Tips to travel with your little ones. (By plane but could also apply to train travel)
Have the right mindset. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT. Remember, "When there is a will there is a way". Take it as an adventure to live more than a burden to endure. It will then become a challenge to conquer more than something you have to suffer from. Flying with kids is tiring but it also is cute to see them walk down the aisle, wear their ear set to watch tv, sleep in their little bassinet, look at the clouds by the window. Yes you might not seat much but it is an experience to live. 😉 You can do it 👍🏼
Be ready logistically🍼🍼🍪👜👚👕👖🎒👝🍌🍊🍼🍼🥄....🍷😄 You'll need more diapers than usually (somehow they pee and poop more up in the air), a changing pad is nice, wipes and a diaper cream. Make sure u have spare clothes x2, spills are frequent on the plane. Sippy cups and some cool treats (fruit bars or something your kid really likes, not too sweet, don't forget that sugar makes kids more active, and nobody needs a jumping kiddo on the plane). Formula if needed, two bottles and baby food (although most airlines have baby food onboard),
In order to not have too many bags I usually put everything in the same big bag along with my passport, my wallet and my phone and throw a smaller handbag in my suitcase for when I arrive at destination.
A little gift, I usually buy the kids a new toy that I give them on the flight. I feel like new toys keep their attention a little longer but if there's one toy your kiddo absolutely loves then make sure you bring it along too. Examples of toys: blocks that piles up, legos, shape sorters and sorting boards.
Books and activity books will keep your toddler and older kid entertained for a while. Examples: they have books you can paint with just a brush filled with water, great and clean. Talking books, thank god for talking books, my son can spend half an hour listening to his book. Easy and fun game books (7differences, labyrinthes, coloring etc etc)
A good movie... I know you should minimize the time kids spend in front of the TV... Well, you'll do this once at home!!😉 On the plane use and re-use your television friend!! Make sure your child is watching something age appropriate and enjoy your own movie right next to your lil buddy (that is if you're only travelling with one child, if you're more crowded and succeed to all enjoy a movie at the same time, hats off to you! ) Two rules I do have: -no screen before take off, mostly they don't work before take off anyways and I feel like it teaches him patience. He can simply enjoy what's happening around him as there's always a lot going on before the plane's departure. Plus it gives him a chance to fall asleep right at take off. -no screen when we eat, he eats better this way.
If you are an iPad person, they do have cool and educational games that will help your kids stay put for a while.I am not an electronic game person and don't even have an iPad myself but if you like iPads go for it...you're on a plane, whatever works!! 😉
Take advantage of the food service. I happen to have a kid who loves food and trying new things (just like his mama). Turn off the tv and have him taste all these different little new dishes. My son thinks it's pretty fun to have his own tray and pick the food he'd like to eat. It usually keeps him occupied a good 30minutes. If you're travelling with a baby then take turns with the baby daddy to eat, and if you're alone ask a flight attendant to serve your food at the really end of the service. If she's nice she might hold your baby for you while you eat (on every plane I've been they were always very excited to hold my babies, although that might be a turkish thing, Turkish people loooove children and babies and I mostly travel with Turkish Airlines. Anyhow, ask for help, people are often very happy to help...and get some baby cuddles👶🏻👶🏼 )
Walk, yes yes, walk with your kids on the plane. I know it's a little tight and there's nothing much to see but kids get antsy as they don't have much chance to let their energy out seating in such a confined place. Once everyone is fed, get up and walk back and forth 🚶🏻🚶🏽you can even try to have them do simple stretching exercises, they usually find this pretty fun 😃
Only if you can. If you're flying far (more than 6 hours) and have money to spend or some miles to upgrade yourself to business class, do it. It will make your life so much easier. It won't change the fact that long-distance trip are tiring with children but the extra space you'll have will definitely make the experience more comfortable.
Don't forget, your attitude towards this whole trip is the key, make sure you get some sleep before the big flight, be positive and convinced it will all go well. By travelling with your kids you'll create fun memories and this is always a good thing. 😉