Ever heard this phrase? “Travel now, because once you have kids, you won’t be able to.” Let’s face it, flying with children can be a pain in the ass! It’s not an easy task to travel with toddlers and babies.
Of course, you won’t be able to travel the way you did before kids, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up travel for family, you can do both. You just have to accept that your travels will be different. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your trip with kids is one of the best family vacations ever:
Wear comfortable clothes and bring something warm for everyone
Planes can get freezing cold and you will be stuck in there for a while. Make sure everyone is dressed for the occasion. Comfortable clothing, like sweatpants or yoga pants, are good choices, especially if you have to use the bathroom while holding a baby.
Let them use up their energy before the flight
Let them roam around the airport, test out the moving sidewalks and climb on all the chairs, anything to help them release as much energy possible before the flight! A sleeping toddler is a quiet toddler. Maybe you’ll even get some time to read that book you packed or take a well-deserved nap.
Check in early
Unless you want to be seated far away from the rest of your family, I suggest you check in online as soon as check-in opens (usually 48 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time). By doing this, you will also cut queuing time when arriving at the airport as you usually join a fast-track queue to hand over your checked luggage. More time to run around and wear those toddlers out!
Where to sit in the plane
If you’re flying with a baby, request a bulkhead seat and bassinette. There are, however, some restrictions like your baby can’t weigh more than 10kg and it is not necessarily guaranteed that there will be one available. Alternatively, sit in the back of the plane. Not only will you be closer to the restrooms but you’ll have more space if your toddler gets tired of sitting still. The back of the plane is also quite noisy from the engines, so baby’s cries and fusses will just blend into the environment. The seats in the back of the plane are last to get picked so you might even have some spare room for your toddler to lie down, free of charge.
Baby carriers and strollers
I definitely suggest you take both! Before you leave on your trip, make sure that your baby enjoys being in the baby carrier or this could be catastrophic. Even if you have walking kids, I recommend taking a stroller. They are also great for resting the carry-on luggage while the kids burn off some energy.
Take-off and landing with crying children
Take-offs and landings are peak time for fussiness because babies’ ears are more sensitive to pressure changes. Offer baby a bottle or pacifier to relieve ear pressure. Toddlers can be given a sippy cup or let them suck on a sweet.
Come prepared! Accidents are bound to happen so make sure to bring extra clothes, diapers, bottles, snacks, wipes and plastic bags to contain them.
Entertain your kids
To combat boredom, I suggest you bring a few toys your baby or toddler hasn’t seen before. Also, bring a tablet or portable DVD player. Keep them busy with other non-messy art activities. Pack plenty of snacks, healthy ones of course. Nobody wants a raging toddler on a sugar high running up and down the plane!
With a bit of know-how, travel with kids can be a great experience. Yes, your patience will be tested but the flight won’t last forever. Think of it as an adventure and go make some incredible memories!