We’ve always travelled with Sophia a lot but most of our trips were interstate trips. However earlier this year we had to fly to Sweden to attend a relative’s wedding which meant we had to face the daunting prospect of doing a long haul flight with a very active 14 month old! I’m a big routine person but when you’re on a plane generally all rules fly out the window and the aim is just to make the flight as comfortable as possible for you and your child. We’re heading off on a family trip overseas this week and these are some of the tips I’ve picked up along the way that I’ll definitely be using.
It goes without saying that you need to come armed with toys and activities to keep your child amused. However schedule the toys so they’re given one new toy at a time and introduce a new toy only once you see boredom start to set in. Toys that can keep them amused such as colouring books and puzzles are great and if you have one at your disposal bring an iPad. I usually load one up with Sophia’s favourites, such as episodes of Peppa Pig and Peek-a-boo farm apps. I also try and bring one of Sophia’s toys (or you could also bring a blanket) to give her something familiar from home during the flight.
Load up on snacks
Airline food can be a bit hit and miss so I bring plenty of snacks for Sophia which keeps her fuelled up.
Time your long haul flights
If you can, try and schedule yourself to fly on an overnight flight to help to fall in line with your child’s sleeping times.
Come with a well stocked baby bag
Arriving to a new, unfamiliar destination and frantically running around trying to find a place to buy nappies does not make for a great start to a trip. This is why it’s important to come armed with all the essentials you’ll need for at least two days to give yourself enough time to acclimatise to your destination without having to factor in replenishing your supplies. I always bring:
- Baby wipes
- A change mat
- Bottles for milk and a spill-proof sippy cup
- A first aid kit with kids’ Panadol, thermometer, band-aids, nappy rash cream, teething gel
- Hand sanitiser
- Spare clothes
Spending hours on a plane trying to keep a baby or toddler entertained and under control can be exhausting so if someone offers to help, take up their offer. This can be everything from entertaining your child while you quickly eat your meal or even just letting you in front of them in the queue to board the plane.
Speaking of boarding, be sure to try and board early. This will enable you to have plenty of time to store all your belonging and get your child settled.
Book a bassinet
Sophia is now too big for the bassinet so she sits on our lap but if your baby is young enough definitely get the bassinet if you can, ring the airline well in advance because usually you have to reserve it. If you can, also ask at check in if you can be seated somewhere with a vacant seat next to you as this gives you a bit more room.
Bring plenty of milk
I find Sophia drinks so much more milk on planes so I always pack more than needed as I don’t want to be stuck without. I also give her a bottle during take off and landing to help relieve the pressure in her ears.
Organise a small go-to bag of essentials
It can become quite cumbersome having to lug a baby bag around every time you need change a nappy so pack a zip lock bag with some nappies, wipes and a change mat to help make it easier. Those small toilets are hard enough to navigate without bringing a big baby bag into the mix!
Always bring extra clothes
It goes without saying you’ll need some spare clothes for your child but don’t forget about you too. Accidents happen and you don’t want to spend the rest of your flight in a t-shirt covered in milk because you have nothing else to change into.
Invest in travel specific accessories
We bought a Baby Zen YoYo pram for our last trip and it was great as we were able to take it onto the plane. It’s compact enough to tuck away into the overhead compartment so we didn’t have to go through the hassle of checking it in. Plus it’s great for when you’re in transit. Also if the hotel we’re staying at doesn’t have a cot I bring a Baby Bjorn travel cot. It can be set up and dismantled quite easily so it’s handy to have around plus it’s something Sophia is already familiar with.
What are some of your tips for travelling with kids?