Your holiday is supposed to start the minute you close up that case and lock the front door. If however you are travelling with little people then the thought of a 12hour flight may not fill you with relaxation and calm!
The most important thing to remember is that, like labour, the travel part doesn’t last forever! It’s there for a reason and soon you will be somewhere new, exciting and all that packing, planning and worrying will have been worth it.
I wanted to share my top 10 tips that will hopefully make travelling with tots easier.
- Pack plenty of changes of clothes for your bambino (3 is usually a good number including layers incase the flight / destination is chilly) and pack a change for yourself. If there’s a vomit / spillage / leakage incident, then there’s nothing worse than having to sit in smelly clothes for 10 hours!
- Pack enough nappies for the flight and an additional 6 hours. It’s just in case you are delayed, loose your luggage or have forgotten to pack spares in your main case and are caught short on arrival!
- Pack a handy ‘grab bag’ which you can put in the front pocket of the seat containing wipes, nappy bags, nappies, change mat, and any other essentials like contact lenses. You won’t have to go rooting through your luggage in the dark or have to get up into the overhead locker.
- Have a bottle, pacifier or handy nipple available for takeoff and landing.
The sucking motion can help your child’s ears equalise and is likely to send them to sleep so you can sit back, rest and settle in.
- Pack a cover for the basinet as the lights on planes are left on at the most inconvenient times. A large muslin or Cozygo style black out cover will help your baby sleep through. Also pack their usual sleep bag / swaddle and try to put them into the new time zone on the flight as much as possible. If you don’t manage this then as soon as you arrive try to adjust to the new time.
- Pack your baby carrier so if you struggle to get your bambino to sleep in the basinet you can rock them to sleep in their familiar carrier and still have free hands
- Wear a bathroom friendly outfit i.e. something that allows you to have your baby strapped to you and still be able to go to the bathroom. It can be a long flight and struggling with trouser buttons whilst hopping from one foot to the other wearing a sleeping baby can be tricky – I know!
- If your child is over 6 months pack an ‘activity bag’ with some small toys. Stickers to stick on the seat (and you!), pots to stack, balls to throw and anything that lights up are always a winner.
- If your baby is sitting up then create a seat hammock for their toys using the airline blanket. Simply tuck it under your child’s bottom and tie the front corners onto the seat in front. You can then throw their toy bag on the blanket and they can stretch out their legs in their own little hammock.
- Ask staff to help you. You can ask to have your meal when it’s convenient to you. You don’t have to eat with everyone else and you can also ask staff to clear away your plates first to help avoid your baby knocking gnocchi all over you! If you need someone to watch your sleeping baby whilst you dash to the loo then ask. They are there to help.
As a huge over planner myself (I literally used to have sticker books galore and nappies coming out of every pocket) I understand how travelling with kids can be daunting.
The most important thing is not to worry. You’ll get through this. It’s your holiday too so share the load with your partner and try to sit back and at least watch a bit of a movie – although you may have to fight your child for the headphones!
The people around you are often sympathetic as they’ve probably been there themselves. Don’t worry about anything. Take a deep breath and go on that holiday confident and reassured it will be fine.
Guest writer Cathee is a Discovery Bay based doula. Visit dbdoula.com.hk for details about the services she offers parents to be and new parents.