A little background, our little one has been a frequent flier since she was 3 months old and racking up miles has made for some very interesting times. As the President of an airline you might think I have an advantage when flying, I wish that was true.
For me business trips are carry-on and go! Travelling with my wife and our young one is a different story! We looked like we were going backpacking in the wilderness for an entire year. Diaper bag, food, clothes, extra food and liquids, stuffed animals, blankets, winter gear, destination gear, stroller, car seat and our porta potty all thrown into multiple bags over our shoulders while holding, corralling and chasing the little one. New parents don’t fear, here are five tips to make your travelling less entertaining than ours.
Getting there is half the battle, loading the car with your luggage, stroller and little one is a process. Once you’re at the airport you’re faced with check-in times, long security line waits, and navigating the airport to find your gate.
Tip 1: Prepare to get there early; you’ll arrive on time and be at the gate with time to get organised.
When you’re up in the air the overhead bin will feel like it’s on another planet. The fasten seat belt sign will come on at the most inopportune time and you’ll be in a panic to grab food, water, diapers or a toy. You’ll be trapped in the window seat with no way out!
Tip 2: Put your little one’s gear under the seat in front of you.
Having your little one’s bag within arm’s reach is a lifesaver; it means you don’t have to do a juggling act to get what you need. Reach down and grab! You’ve taken your seat with your little ones belongings safely stowed under the seat in front and yours in the overhead bin for taxi, takeoff and landing, you’re relaxed, you’ve got this but then the little one changes plans on you. You reach down to your bag and desperately search for, where is it! Quick!
Tip 3: Pack your bag like a surgeon lays out instruments. You want to know exactly where everything is in your bag so when the inevitable happens you can quickly access your tools!
Wipes outside side pocket, bottle inside left, diaper cream inside a plastic bag right side of the bag, whatever your set-up keep it consistent. There’s nothing worse than digging through a bag to try and find something with an unhappy one on your lap.
Speaking of unhappy ones, air rage is real and is most acute in little ones. Those affected by air rage may suffer from mood swings, upset stomach, nausea, anxiety, crying, kicking, grabbing the seat in front, making strange with the people behind you and playing with the armrests and table trays. Remember this behaviour is normal for people flying on aircraft but is much worse for little ones! Sitting still for hours is tough and although we all monitor screen time, help yourself with various ways to entertain.
Tip 4: Load your iPad with a number of different cartoons; bring small stuffed toys and a book. You and your seatmates will thank you.
Nowadays there are so many flight options out there. Early morning, late morning, afternoon or evening, you have options. Booking in advance you’re able to get a decent price on any flight and at any time. We all have our travel preferences; some love the early morning, some like the mid-day and some the redeye. Your little one will be no exception, do they wake up happy, groggy or does it change with the nap or bedtimes? Jumping on the plane right after a nap will mean they’re going to be up and active for the next few hours.
Tip 5: Pick a flight time close to when your little one likes to nap. You’ll be able to time it so they’ll sleep on the plane and give you a much need break before the next adventure begins.
So there you have it, five tips from our frequent flying experience. Now that you know what you’re in for you, remember you have control over even less, weather delays, plane delays you name it, so have fun and just go fly, you’ll get to your destination and be happy you travelled once back at home! Would love to hear about your tips and adventures of travelling with kids.