If you’re like most mums, you’ll share a feeling similar to birthing your baby when you think about long haul travel with your little one – Excitement with a touch of fear.
It’s a scary concept and not a situation to go into un prepared. So like most mums I know, I googled the sh*t out of it! For weeks I have been googling and pinning ideas that will hopefully make the flight more enjoyable for us, but also for our fellow travellers. I have a deep seated fear about being “that mum” the one who looks like she’s a wreck, totally disorganised, with a screaming dirty toddler in tow. Eeeek, get me a wine now! I’m hoping to fall somewhere into the uber organised, stylish mum that breezes through the process with happy go lucky travelling munchkins and the former description of my greatest fear.
From my extensive research heres a few hot tips for travelling with a toddler or baby on a plane… some tried, some banked for the next flight!
- Pack a spare outfit for you as well as your child, stuff spills on airplanes. There are a lot of stories of mums who get spilled, spewed or wet on and have not packed a spare top for themselves. Imagine 24 hours in a full vom covered top…. ewwww.
- Take more food and nappies than you think you’ll need – but not so much you need a sherpa to get you to the gate. On one of our first flights I made the error of taking enough for the flight, the rookie new mum traveller in me had not accounted for the epic delay at the airport with a baby who had just started solids. Better too much than not enough, the upside is that it also means the snacks can double as entertainment when junior gets restless. I’ve picked up one of those snack saver cups for this trip, after losing a bag of nutrios onto the floor of the last flight we took.
- Change your baby right before the flight. Only once I didn’t and I sat in fear watching a growing wee patch on my little mans jeans, hoping it didn’t make my lap. Seatbelt signs we’re on, it was a frightening moment. I made it off the plane dry, he made it off the plane covered by my strategically placed scarf. A cute nappy tote can be a great addition to your traveller kit so you don’t need to try and squeeze your nappy bag into the tiny airline toilets. You can also pick up disposable change mats, which are great. If they get some mess on them, straight into the bin they go.
- Breastfeed or offer your baby something to eat, drink or suck on take off and landing to help with their ears.
- Wear a scarf… it will double as a pillow, blanket, feeding cover and also help in instances you need to cover a mess on you or bub.
- Wipes…. take lots of them. When you first get on the plane, use them to wipe the tray table – chances are your child will most likely eat straight off it at some point of the flight. Who knows what cooties the person before you may be presenting to your devine germ free munchkin. I’d rather not have a sick bubba on holidays and if a quick wipe removes some of the risk – I’ll give that a go.
- Toys and entertainment. This one will depend on your kid and how many hours your flight is. You can see what I packed for my 20 month olds travel fun pack here. The hot tip was to take something for each hour and wrap them individually, it may be a small toy, a snack, the wrapping is designed to buy you another 3 mins of entertainment per toy! I also read a great pinterest post about a mum who packed two “play bags” one for the flight over and new stuff for the way home. I haven’t done that on this flight, I’m hoping I don’t regret it but figure we’ll likely pick up a couple of new things on our travels that will suffice.
- Use giant snap lock bags to keep everything organised, after a bit of rummaging with one hand, your bag may quickly turn into a shambles and be impossible to find what you need with one hand reaching down under your feet blindly.
- Use a baby carrier or travel stroller you can take on board to make getting to the gate easier. I have a babyzen yoyo and it’s been amazing. It folds with one hand and can be wheeled right to your seat on the plane. I fold it down before boarding if the flight is super busy, failing that the baby carrier gives you two hands to negotiate boarding. We also have a backpack with a lead – I swore I’d never be that mum, but proudly embrace when little mr fancies a wander in a crowded place.
- Ask if there is any chance of a spare seat next to you at check in if you don’t get a bassinet. The extra room may just make your flight amazing.