We have just returned from a family holiday… Although I had travelled with Noah a bit as a baby it had been around 9 months since I flew with him and wow how time changes as they get older and are on the move so much more!
So here are my tips for travelling with a toddler…
1 – Get to the airport early – There is nothing worse than rushing and being completely frazzled as your child will sense your vibe and thrive from it. Get to the airport an hour prior to give yourself enough time to check in, clear security, get a drink or some food and do a nappy change.
2 – Book through flights – I know that budget airlines with cheap fares is appealing, I know this best being a travel agent. However budget airlines mean if you don’t have a direct flight then picking up your bags and re-checking in. When travelling with bags, prams, portercots etc you just want to know you can check in at your origin and have them arrive at your destination.
3 – Spare Seats – Ask the check in staff if it is a full flight, fingers crossed they say no so you can ask if there are any spare seats. Noah is 21 months old so just about time that he is classed as a “child” and we pay for him to have his own seat. As much as it pains me that I will have to pay for him having him sit on our lap for longer flights can be a bit of a challenge. On our Melbourne – Cairns flight we were lucky that we had a spare seat next to us so Noah could spread out, he had room for his toys and room for him to lay down with his head on me when he needed a sleep. On our return flight unfortunately the flight was full so we were crammed in, it made me realise how lucky we were on our flight up to have that extra space and being taller Jus was feeling the pressure of being crammed in a lot more than me on our forward flight.
4 – Tire them out – Yes you may have to chase them around the airport twenty times but you will be thankful when you get on board with a tired babe. Better that they burn that energy before getting on the plane.
5 – Have the wet wipes and sick bag handy – Unfortunately I learnt this the hard way, we had a toddler with motion sickness which ended in Noah, Mama and the seats and floor covered in vomit. We had amazing crew on board who cleaned it up along with Jus without a fuss while I got Noah cleaned up and changed. But the ongoing smell, eww! Wipes are also handy to wipe down the tray table, change table etc as god knows what germs are on them.
6 – Change of clothes – I know most mums would have a change of clothes for their babes however pack a change for yourself as well. As per my tip number 4 bub is not the only one who can end up with vomit on them!
7 – Entertainment – Yes I know screen time isn’t always best but you will give anything to keep your child quiet, sitting still and entertained with some Peppa Pig. Also pack some of their favourite toys and colouring books. I also found it good to bring out one toy at a time so that Noah was over one thing before I bought another out. Qantas have a great kids program called the ‘Joey Club’ so when Noah got on board he got a pack that helped keep him occupied for some of the trip.
8 – Snacks – Pack plenty of snacks! Noah will eat basically anything and isn’t fussy however I had his YumBox filled with his favourite snacks and things that wouldn’t get him high on sugar. Cheese, fruit sticks, crackers, some fruit (for him to eat on board as some states are funny about bringing fruit in), yoghurt and his sippy cup of water to keep him hydrated. Food can also help as an added distraction when they are getting restless.
9 – Have a bottle or dummy on hand for their poor little ears on take off and landing. They can’t let you know whats wrong but the tugging at their ears may be a giveaway. Giving them something to suck on to try and ease the pain may help or if you are still breastfeeding that too will help.
10 – Flight Times – If possibly think about the time of the day you are travelling. For longer/international flights I would opt for night flights so that Noah can sleep as much as possible, no guarantees but worth a try. Noah still has a day sleep around 11am/midday so flight times around that time are good for him to have some lunch and try to get him off to sleep. We find early morning flights the hardest as you have to wake them up to get to the flight so they are already a bit cranky before you even start.
I hope my tips have helped a little when you are travelling with your toddler next and I would love to hear any of your tips that you may have… It may be a lot of planning to travel with a infant but there is nothing better than travelling as a family and creating memories together!