Thursday, March 28, 2019

Top Ten Tips for Travelling with Toddlers on Planes

Dear friend,

A few months ago our family (2, 3 and 5 year old kids) experienced what can only be described as a travel experience from hell. Need a recap? Here’s a little video we made. Suffice to say, I vowed to write a blog to help anyone else that finds themselves in the air with little ones, because flying with toddlers is not for the faint of heart. Our family has racked up hundreds of hours in the air and so I hereby lay out my top ten tips for travelling with toddlers for your perusing pleasure.


1. Allow more time than necessary. Oh the fights I have had with my husband because we cut things too fine in traffic to get to the airport. Oh the stress and sweat I feel when I have to re-pack bags because they are overweight and the lines are building up behind me. Oh the drama when we have to shuffle and stop, shuffle and stop our way through the airport because we are pushing three trolleys and there’s only two of us.
2. Pack smart and weigh before you go. Common sense you’d think? Not the case apparently for a shopaholic like yours truly. Tim has legitimately put UN sanctions on me because of the number of times I have broken the rules.  We now have to weigh every single piece of luggage before we go to the airport to ensure we are not overweight. He begins this process days before we travel. He permits only five pieces of hand luggage total (despite the fact that technically we could have ten).  He requires one hand luggage carrying all changes of clothes/diapers and one hand luggage requiring all toys. Pyjamas are in colour coded bags (ok, that’s my influence) and changes of clothes are in other ziplocks. I love me a ziplock.
3. The wagon. We have three toddlers five and under. It is a nightmare to transport our tired bodies and their squirmy ones, plus our hand luggage through airports at midnight.  Not wanting to purchase a ridiculously large stroller that would fit three children, our friend introduced us to “the wagon”. Don’t ask questions, just buy one now. It’s accepted as a stroller on all airlines, is perfect for throwing copious numbers of children inside, is light as a feather and works wonders for corralling children in an efficient manner. This is our one


4. Invest in an Inflatable Bed. The single most useful invention made for children on planes is the Inflatable Bed. We bought ours from Amazon and inflate them for our kids to sleep on. Simply blow it up, stretch a blanket over it and watch your kids sleep well for hours. I researched this is a lot - this is the best value one I found that does the job.  
 5. You can never have enough snacks. I don’t know if it’s because we travel through Africa and the Middle East and the snacks aren’t quite to their taste or if our kids start acting like bears coming out of hibernation but I can never have enough snacks. I legit bring a small cooler bag on board.
6. Consider Melatonin Drops for Kids  - We use a natural sleep remedy for the kids when we change time zones if they are struggling (of if we are struggling). I can highly recommend this one. Sometimes it helps to use it that first night in the new country too. Also, on the plane consider putting all the kids in diapers overnight so you and they don’t have to go up and down to the toilet. We use these ones. 
7. You can never have enough wet wipes. I wipe down arm rests, remotes, tv’s, hands, feet, faces. Trust me on this.
8. Make sure you order a kids meal. Apparently, this isn’t guaranteed if you book your own tickets online. Make sure you request it before you fly as then their meals come earlier and are kid friendly.  
9. Bring mini trash bags with you. I am telling you right now that the trash situation gets out of control on flights. I do not know what possess airlines to wrap every single item possible in plastic but I can tell you that having mini trash bags to dump all the junk works wonders.
10. Bring empty (leak-proof) water bottles on board, then fill them up asap. Every time you get served a drink or meal, put the water into your kids water bottles so they don’t spill those stupid flimsy plastic cups on the people sitting behind you and their laptop or phone. (this has happened to us. Twice).  Our favourites are Camelbak.

BONUS 11: We love it that our kids have these awesome books sold by My Flight Log Book. It means whenever we take a flight we give the book to a steward who gives them to the captain and then the kids have a record and fun note to look at when they're older. 

Have I forgotten anything? Love to hear your tips, tricks and hacks! 

Happy travels friends!