Ten Travel Tips with Tots
With the world (certainly Europe anyway) opening up, there are a lot of families travelling with kids for the first time. While I am not travelling any time soon with the littlest rascal due in 4 weeks...having lived away in Dubai for many years and having my first two kids there, I have plenty of experience travelling with small rascals in tow. The flight from Dubai to Dublin is +/- 8hrs, I learnt a lot during this time, and I was often alone.
Here are my Top Ten Tips for international travel with Tots.
Make sure you have all the relevant documents - passports, vaccinations certs if required etc. Don't book until you have everything - there are significant delays at the moment in getting documents, so don't stress yourself out for no reason. Getting newborn passport pictures is an interesting process, I understand you can do them at home here, in Dubai you had to go to the shop with a 3 day old baby...you can imagine!
Flying? Choose a time that you are more relaxed. Lots of my friends swore by night flights with kids as they often sleep through. It stressed me out thinking they would be crying during the fight, keeping the rest awake. I preferred to go in the morning when I had more energy, and if the kids kicked off - well no one was trying to sleep anyway.
Leave LOADS of time. There is always something - poo explosions, they need a feed, etc, getting through the airport takes a lot longer with kids in tow.
Baby Carrier - an absolute lifesaver. Makes everything easier, going to the loo, handing over documents, boarding, disembarking, collecting baggage. Honestly if there was just one top tip for me, a baby carrier would be it.
Travel Buggy - like a Mountain Buggy Nano or YoYo Zen - these collapse small enough to be brought on board. Often you could bring your large buggy to the gate - but when you land at the other end, the buggy would be sent to oversized luggage at the baggage belt. Plenty of airports have a substantial walk - I'm looking at you Schipol! Keeping the buggy with you makes life easier as you have a lot more stuff to carry.
Changes of clothes - for everyone! Bring at least 2 for the kids and at least one for yourself. The changes in cabin pressure can result in poo explosions. Also all the snacks and drinks usually end up being split. Having a change for yourself is also highly recommended.
Snacks - bring all the snacks - every snack. Even for yourself. If you have a child that is small enough to be sitting on your lap on the plane, then you will need food for yourself that you can eat one handed. You won't be able to put the tray down to eat the plane food. Sippy bottles like our Izy Bottles, for everyone (have them empty going through security and then the on board crew can fill/refill these), reduces spillages. During take off and landing drinking or sucking is great to help them equalize their ears - if you're breast feeding, pop them on the boob, give them a bottle or a soother, or a drink to sip if they are older. Reduces tears from painful ears or shouting because they can't hear their own voice.
Entertainment - if they are old enough and it is a long haul with a screen, get kid friendly headphones so the kids can binge watch Paw Patrol. Bring books, colouring packs like our Super Petit Tablemats and Tiny Magic Colouring Pouches. If they are old enough, pack these in a their own little carry on bag - our Fresk bags are perfect! They can have their own snacks, drinks and entertainment. Going through the bag is often a time consuming activity for them anyway!
Bassinet seats - if you have a little one small enough for the bassinet seats - ask for them. They are seats that have a bassinet that attaches to the bulkhead, there is more room and it means you little one has somewhere comfy for a nap. You might be able to eat or watch a movie!
Ask for help! If its a longer flight and you are going alone, put it out to groups to see if there is another family going that you can buddy with in the airport. Rope in another adult to travel with you (thanks Mum!) and ask/accept help from the airline staff. I have a habit of pretending i'm superwoman and not accepting help - which can result in making it more stressful. People are generally kind, and happy to hold the baby while you pee, help you putting things up in the overhead luggage compartment. Take the help, and ask for it. It is tiring travelling with kids, so make it easy where you can!
I hope these tips are helpful, feel free to drop me a message if you are looking for any advice or have any questions, I'm no expert, but have a fair amount of experience. Accepting the fact that it won't all go to plan, that it takes longer, that the kids will kick off. Try to relax - I actually found travel when they are super small is easier and then when they are 2/3 its easier again...it's that between 8 months and 2 years, when its hard to hold their attention and they want to move around that the hardest!
Good Luck and Happy Holidays!