Cases packed. Taxi to the airport booked. Passports counted (again). But you’ve got that niggling feeling that you’ve forgotten something.
Welcome to travelling with babies and small children. You never feel completely organised. And the stuff….equipment, food, toys. You may only be going on holiday for a week but you look like you’re emigrating with a family of 26.
Say goodbye to your neat little designer wheelie case and stave off thoughts of a quiet coffee, catch up on all that reading and 3 mid-flight movies – it’s not going to happen! Not for about 20 years.
I recently flew to South Africa with my one-year-old. What was so shocking about the whole experience was that I actually quite enjoyed it.
We boarded ahead of everyone, including the disapproving Speedy-Boarders; we were flooded with attention from the flight attendants and we even got some free crayons. It really wasn’t so bad. In fact, I’ve even come up with a list of tips for travelling with tots, in the hope of making the flying baby experience as fun-filled as possible for everyone.
- Time is NOT of the essence – Don’t stress about the timings of your routine. It doesn’t matter what time it is at home, what time it is at your destination or what time it is in the air. If Baby is hungry, it’s feeding time. If Baby is tired – it’s nap time. She wants a toy? It’s playtime.
- You are NOT what you eat (on a plane) – Airline food is not known for its nutritional content or premium taste. It does its job of keeping hunger at bay, and if Baby misses out on her daily Vit C/Magnesium/Fibre content for one day, it doesn’t matter.
- Bring a selection of quiet toys – There is nothing less relaxing than the passenger in front of you complaining about a buzzing/squeaking/beeping toy that’s keeping your LO quiet.
- Screen-time is happy time – Of course we are all desperate to peel our offspring away from screens for a million sensible reasons, but as above, a flight is not the real world.
- Check which airlines have carseats for slightly older babies. British Airways sometimes offers these and they are a lifesaver if your baby is too big for the bassinet but not old enough for their own seat.
- Pack as many cushions you can fit in your hand luggage. Those who have had a sleeping toddler on top of them for 10 hours know what a dead arm feels like! The cushions help spread the weight and let your little one get a better sleep without the pain.
- Try to stay as calm and relaxed as possible. The kids will sense your anxiety and feed off it. Shrug off delays, lost luggage, cold chicken and the kid behind you kicking your chair, as if it couldn’t matter less…..
Add your own travel tips in the comment box, and have a great trip!