Here are some of my tips for travelling with toddlers.
The art of travelling light
I had travelled to the UK with Sienna on my own whilst on maternity leave when she was 5 months, baby was fine, airline was not and resulted in a not planned overnight stop in Singapore..but that’s another story for another time. I had spent hours researching travel prams. At that time, I used the mountain buggy nano
nano is the ultimate travel stroller that promises a light and convenient solution for travelling with your child. Honestly, it’s a godsend.
Lightweight at less than 6kg and measuring just 54 x 31 x 51cm when folded, can easily fit into many carry on luggage units for planes, trains and automobiles, making travel with your baby a breeze!
I could carry Sienna and have a nappy bag over one shoulder and the pram in the other…my arms got a workout but definitely made travelling so much easier. I’d definitely recommend it.
I also travelled back to the UK on my own with Sienna and Rocky when Rocky was 8 weeks old. Tom is self employed an had a lot of concurrent jobs running so was easier for me to go as I was on maternity leave and to be honest it’s really not his idea of a holiday. I look back now and think ‘how on earth did I manage to travel to the other side of the world with a toddler and a new born but the thought of being home with my family and child hood friends just makes me push through and the resilience definitely kicks in!
When I was young we travelled a lot with my mum throughout Europe. Being a single mum, money was tight, but my mum always found a way to make it happen and it is some of the fondest memories I have. My mum was widowed at 37, which is younger than I am now. She travelled with four of us.
Tips for flying
Preparing for a flight is stressful at the best of times. But when you’ve got small children or babies it becomes all that much harder.
Flying with babies or young children is not easy and it is important to be prepared. If you’re prepared then the flight will be less stressful for you and everyone around you will be grateful too!
Tips for booking your flight
- If you are going on a long flight book a stop-over, it makes it much more pleasant!
- Try to book a flight that isn’t full so you have a chance of being able to take over another seat.
- Make sure to order a baby meal when you are making your plane bookings, particulary if you are on a long haul flught – if anything it avoids that mid flight tantrum when they see everyone else getting something.
- Think about how your child travels in the car or pram … do they sleep? If so, they’re more likely to sleep on the plane so night time is a great time to travel. If not, they probably won’t sleep on the plane and will be overtired and grumpy so you need to think of how you can keep them occupied.
Tips for preparing for your flight
- I always travel at night with Sienna and Rocky so I haven’t really needed to change their sleep pattern before our flight. If you are flying during the day, I’d definitely switch up their routine prior.
- Dress your child/children in bright colours so you can spot them easily if they wander off at the airport.
- Think about your luggage – can you carry what you have and manage your child? I always opt for a bag with a big strap that goes across my chest of over my shoulder and advantage is they leave you with two free hands.
- Buy or borrow a baby carrier so you can have two hands free to handle luggage, find tickets and manage older children.
- Make sure you read the airline’s policy on checked baggage and hand luggage (you may be able to take an extra bag on board for a baby etc).
- If you’re thinking of weaning your baby soon, consider holding off until after your flight. A quick feed will help to comfort them and reduce the air pressure in their ears on take-off and landing.
What to pack for a flight with small children
- Spare clothes for the kids and a fresh top for you – accidents happen.
- A small blanket and travel pillow.
- Snacks, snacks and more snacks (more snacks than you think) and their own water bottles.
- Panadol or Calpol.
- Don’t forget any comfort items your child might have.
- I’d always take a trip into Kmart as they have amazing travel items for kids and I’d pack s bag Sienna had not seen before and split it up across the number of flights we had so she wasn’t playing with the same toys for the duration – this has worked a treat and means she isn’t watching movies for 26 hours.
Tips for nappy changes on flights
- Pack double the usual amount of nappies in your hand luggage
- Also take a small toiletries bag that will fit in the seat pocket. Pack it with two nappies, a small pack of wipes, nappy bags and a fold-up change mat. Much easier to take that to the plane’s toilet than an entire nappy bag.
- Change tables in the back toilets are usually bigger, so try to get into those toilets.
Ideas for keeping children entertained on flights
- Like I said, buy a few new toys from Kmart or similar store and don’t give them all out at once.
- Load your smart phone with toddler apps and take child-friendly headphones so they don’t annoy other passengers.
- Plastic animals are a good toy to take – they are good to stand up on the tray. Also good are sticker books, colouring books, mini Magnadoodles and even a little pot of playdough (depending on the age of the child).
- Let your child have his own little backpack.
What food to pack on a flight with kids
- Lollipops are a good treat and the sucking will help their ears ‘pop’ on take off and descent.
- Looks for snacks which aren’t too messy, you will thank yourself later.
- Don’t load them up with junk food. Grapes, sultanas, pretzels and apples are great snacks.
- Take more food/snacks than you need in case of lengthy delays.
- Make sure you take food for YOURSELF!
Tips for flying long-haul with babies/children
- I travelled with my bubnest baby nest with Rocky at 8 weeks and it was literally the perfect travel accessory with him being so young.
- If your child is under 2 still consider booking a seat for them if flying long-haul.
- Pack disposable bibs – Tommee Tippee do packs and saves so much space in your flight bag..
- Ask your airline if they can arrange a free “meet and assist” on your flight, especially if travelling alone with kids. You will have a staff member meet you as you come off and help you through immigration and getting bags.
We are travelling to the UK again at the end of this month and I am keen to try The Fly LegsUp Flight Hammock to elevate their feet & legs boosting comfort & relaxation when ﬂying long haul.
I’ll let you know how I go.
Monochrome Mum x