Are you taking the kids away on holiday this Easter? If you are, you may already be worrying about how you are all going to get through the flight! But travelling with little ones needn’t be a stressful experience; with a little careful planning you can make it into a fun way to start a big adventure abroad!
Here are our top 5 tips for simple, stress-free travel with toddlers and tots!
1) Plan ahead & take your time
Plan ahead and book everything well in advance to avoid last minute headaches, and aim for a flight at a time when your little ones are either at their most cheerful or when they are likely to sleep – only you can know what will be right for your children. If you have the option, go for allocated seats to make sure that you can all sit together.
Of course with little ones in tow, the most important thing you have to plan for is the timings. Calculate how much time you think you need, and then double it. What with one thing and another; toilet stops, tantrums and general travel-related disasters, if you plan to leave ridiculously early, you ought to get there just in the nick of time!
2) Be prepared
The old Cub Scout motto ‘Be Prepared’ has never before been so relevant to your life as when you’re getting ready to venture abroad with young children. When packing your hand luggage; include everything you could possibly conceive of needing, and then pack some more. Snacks, wipes, plasters, toys, spare clothes for everyone – just in case – pick up a few spare maternity & nursing t-shirts at Seraphine!
Make sure you have everything covered, and check out this complete hand luggage kit list from Have Baby Will Travel!
3) Avoid ear ache
Unfortunately that irritating ear ache during take-off and landing is a fact of flying, and for little ears it can be particularly painful. So what can we do to help them adjust to the changing air pressure?
For really little ones, the best thing you can do is to feed them during take-off and landing – whether you’re breastfeeding or using bottles, having something to suck will really help. For toddlers, having a drink is a good idea, but you could also give them a sweet to suck or (if you trust them not to swallow) some gum to chew.
If you’re planning on nursing on the plane, our Bamboo Breastfeeding Shawl is a life saver – it will provide a handy modesty cover up for discreet nursing, and will be an invaluable wrap to have with you in case it gets chilly in the cabin!
4) Keep them entertained
As we all know, hell hath no fury like a bored, tired toddler, so plan ahead to keep the little ones entertained throughout the flight. Of course in an ideal world they’d nap through at least some of the flight, but just in case they don’t feel like playing ball, make sure you have plenty up your sleeve to keep them busy.
For a toddler, it’s a great idea to wrap up a few small presents for them to open through the flight – little things like re-usable stickers and colouring books, hot wheels cars or plastic animals are perfect, and if all else fails, ask one of the flight attendants for a cup of ice and some miscellaneous bits and pieces from the tea and coffee trolley – plastic spoons, wooden stiring sticks, serviettes and mini milks for tea – this could buy you a full half an hour of happy playing! As a general rule of thumb: If whatever is entertaining them is quieter than the sound of the plane’s engines, you’re doing a fantastic job!
Stuck for ideas? Check out these 50 ways to keep your toddler or preschooler busy on a plane by Katie at the Playing with words 365 blog!
5) Make Friends
Last but by no means least: Be nice to your seat mates and the cabin crew! It’s a great idea to get the people around you on your side early on – smile, be nice and make friends. You know they didn’t want to sit next to your toddler and they know that you know, but if you make a little effort at the start it can pay off later. If you really want to go all out, you could even put together little goodie bags for the people sitting around you with sweets and earplugs!
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