Some people would prefer a poke in the eye with a flaming stick then jumping on an aeroplane to travel with kids. Those people probably don’t have kids. Actually I am pretty sure there are parents out there that would take the stick.
When you do have children and you have to travel or even like to travel you just have to do it. It seems leaving your children at home by themselves is frowned upon, surprisingly, so you pack up and go.
By the time Ari (3) reached his 1st birthday he had been on 14 flights. Leni at 6 months will be taking her first flight next month. Frequently flying with my kids I have learnt a number of things and hopefully my tips can help you take the angst out of air travel with young kids.
Take your time
I found this really hard at first. When I am going somewhere I just want to get there. Fastest connections. Fastest transfers. Fast!
Having children in tow makes fast a huge brain strain and patience is stretched to the absolute limits. Slow down. Think what is best for the family. Catching a later connecting flight might mean the difference between a toilet break or a wee accident (pun intended).
I also suggest finding a quiet(ish) corner of the airport terminal and let the kids ‘shake their sillies out’. When they hop onto their next flight there has been an energy release and sitting still is not completely unreasonable.
We have all seen them. The parents at the carousel with their luggage trolley that they are turning into their own leaning tower of baby collateral.
Save your sanity and possible damage to your baby gear by hiring it. You can hire anything and everything with most companies even delivering to you at the airport, if required. Need a car seat for your rental car? Car rental companies will have your seat ready to go, securely in place at pick up saving you time as well as the trouble of fitting your byo one.
Just one little contradiction on this. With little babies I like to take my pram wherever I go. I did stop taking my own at one stage and hated it. If you love your pram take it with you. Which leads me to my next tip.
Check the fine print
Not all airlines are created equal. Check the fine print on your tickets. Infants are not given a baggage allowance but some airlines allow you to bring on any of your babies things such as prams or car seats. Again check your fare rules as some airlines allow just one piece, others may allow as much as you reasonably need and others may allow you at a price.
Yes, thanks Captain Obvious! I know, but if I don’t have snacks to cover the WHOLE flight, even if they aren’t eaten, I am leaving myself open to whinging, fidgeting and iPad rejection!! No parent would ever like to allow this. Stash the snacks.
Leave the portable cot at home
We have carried around our portable cot a lot. Literally! Hardly used it, just carried it around. We would find that Ari wouldn’t sleep in it and one of us would end up co-sleeping with him. This happened quite a bit once he moved down to from the top-level of the cot. As long as your baby has a safe sleeping environment, who cares if he (or she) isn’t in their own cot. We now leave the portable cot at home and what a relief! There is no more lugging that big thing around for it not to be used. Leave your port-a-cot or any “just in case” stuff at home.
Keep your assigned seats
Lastly and briefly. There are reasons for the placement of families on flights. Respect it. For everyone’s sanity, just roll with it.
Happy travels with your kidlets. I have had many wonderful flights with my bub and I have had a number where I have sworn I would never do it again. But I do. Travelling is far too much fun to miss out.
Do you travel a lot with kids? What is your top tip?