With Spring Break in the distance, we thought we would cover some high flying tips for you and your little ones. Not to say I'm an expert, but I have been doing the transatlantic route with children for the last four years, and so far so good. Over 32 hours of flight time and a total of 12 minutes of crying (not that we were counting but every minute your baby is the one crying feels like 10!)
Here are some of our top tips for flying with kids of all ages.
Baby on Board
I've been really lucky flying with the babies, our first international flight with Rebecca was when she was 7 weeks old and 11 weeks on the return dreaded red eye. There is a debate if nursing your baby or bottle feeding them will help their ears on take off and landing. Whether or not it's true, I did find if both mine were feeding on take off they were comforted, quiet and it made for a lot of sleeping during the flight. With bay carriers, strollers and car seats, you have enough to be lugging about, so pack as light as possible but pack enough diapers for any delays. Also, I'd recommend a back pack instead of a change bag. Walking down the aisle of a plane with a baby on one hip and a change bag on the other is bound to catch the grumpiest passenger sticking out of their seat:) Lastly, have sachets of liquid tylenol in case your baby becomes unwell. That has saved us a few times from disaster!
We found between the ages of one and two to be the hardest. The children wanted to walk on their new found legs and don't like to stay strapped down too long. Our saviours were food, books and stickers. I think we had an entire carry on full of snacks. Don't forget to buy your water or juice once you are through security as you won't be allowed through with liquids. A lot of people I spoke to also like coloring books and crayons, but I got a bit sick of constantly bending down and squishing my head against the seat in front to pick up roll away crayons. (When I wasn't lucky enough to get a seat in bulkhead.) Stickers were great, they consumed time and not much space.
The Terrible Twos
Again, the same as the above but probably more sugary treats as rewards for good behavior than I care to admit. At least at two, your child has their own seat, but I still found the best way to get them to sleep was on my knee and then they could be put down on their own seat for a snooze.
Three and Over
Let them pack and take their own carry on. Obviously there may be some supervision required for obvious reasons, but then your kids are responsible for their own bag for the whole trip. Old fashioned games like connect 4 are fun, but a bit bulky and potentially messy. You may limit the amount of gaming or movies your children get at home, but really, for some easy travel for yourself get out the iPads and gameboys and let your kids enjoy a bit of extra play time.
For older more responsible parents taking their kids on vacation, why not bring some homework for the plane on the outgoing journey. Then you won't have that worry hanging over you the whole trip. (By the way, this tip is rich coming from the biggest procrastinator on the face of the planet).
Seriously, the biggest tip from this frequent flyer? Have fun! I love to travel and hope it's rubbed off on my kids already. My husband gets my evil eye if he even shows a glimmer of stress, so that's the best unsolicited advice I can pass on.
Tell us about you! Is your experience fortunate flier or airplane anarchy? Sometimes, the horror stories are the ones you still laugh about and remember for years to come.