We, international families, take our kids on relatively long trips since very early ages… The first time I traveled by plane with my daughter she was only three months old. It was a two hours flight from France to Spain and everything went pretty well, since she was breastfed and the minute she’d get uncomfortable, I would breastfeed her. She pretty much slept for most of the trip… And the captain allowed us to take this pic as a souvenir!
It is relatively easy to travel with such a young child… most of all, if you are breastfeeding. And I learned a trick from a stewardess to soothe babies when the plane is taking off or landing, and the change in the atmospheric pressure can hurt their ears. You can either breastfeed the baby… or, if you bottle feed her/him, then take four plastic goblets, ask the stewardess to give you two hot wet napkins and do the next: place a napkin inside one of the goblets and then introduce a second goblet inside the goblet that contains the napkin. Repeat the operation with the other two goblets and cover each ear of the baby with one pair of goblets, as shown in the picture below… Now, I don’t know why this works, but I can assure you that it does!
When it comes to toddlers, traveling becomes a different challenge… And you must take into consideration many other factors. These are the most important ones for me:
1. I try as much as possible not to have my daughter’s schedules altered. This means that I don’t take very early or, on the contrary, very late flights… even if they are much cheaper. This pretty much rules out travelling with low cost companies, but that’s fine, mainly because of the next factor.
2. If the flight is long, I always book extra leg space or, if available, I choose a seat with assigned baby bassinet. The thing to know with regards to this last option is that you can place a toddler in a baby bassinet, even if his/her legs are hanging from it… But you might want to bring a soft pillow to put under his/her legs to make him/her more comfortable. Moreover, a bassinet can even serve as entertainment for your toddler, if, as it happens with my daughter, he/she likes to travel inside it!
3. I buy one or two new books every time I have to take the plane and, if they do not manage to get her attention, or the flight is too long, then I use different apps in my tablet to keep her busy (Cbeebies playtime, Baby coloring, Drawing desk, WhiteBoard)… or, as a last resort, I have some cartoons episodes in my tablet (Peppa Pig is a winner, but my daughter also loves Pocoyo… and the Mother Goose Club).
4. I always cook a pasta dish to take in the plane (I have a wonderful thermos!), but I also pack lots of goodies that my daughter loves… rice cookies, cereal bars, blueberries, etc. I do not necessarily think healthy, when we travel, as much as happy! Because all you want is having your kid happy and relaxed during the flight… So I recommend to let them splurge! But not to turn our backs completely to healthy, always keep him/her well hydrated with water!!!!
5. I let my daughter travel with her favorite teddy bear… and the blanket she uses to sleep at home. It makes her feel at ease… And I also prepare a little backpack that she can carry around as her very own personal luggage. Because she is at that age in which she wants to do all the things mum and dad do… Isn’t it the sweetest?
These are my tips to travel with a toddler by plane… I hope they help! Another posts will follow on traveling by train/car… In the meantime, do not hesitate to share your tricks with me too!!!!!