The idea of travelling and exploring a new destination always excites me but the thought of air travel with a baby (now active and naughty toddler) gives me a cold feet. (Well I am exaggerating a bit here J)I am a sure that’s common worrying factor amongst the parents all over the world and I am no exception to it. Idea of spending hours in a closed compartment full of strangers with an unpredictable toddler can be stressful at times.
While I feel, travelling in a car is always a better option but the fact is air travel cannot be avoided most of the times. My first air travel after maternity was with my 1-month-old baby. Over these 2 years, now I have figured out some tips to make our travel comfortable and less challenging.
Also read my 2 more blogs with some more advice on travelling with babies /toddlers in general Travelling with toddler? Few tips for hassle free vacation ! & Travelling with baby- My first hand experience
1) While booking the flight -Well this just happened with us very recently. Generally airlines pre-assign the seats to those travelling with kids. While booking the flight, don’t forget to mention that you are travelling with child (specify everywhere as well as while selecting number of seats). Since we missed mentioning this, we were not pre-assigned the seats and had to pay additional to make sure we get our seats together.
2) Opt for night or early morning Flights– Always prefer an early morning or late night flight so that it’s dark enough for your tired toddler to take a nap at least. Also late night flights may be less crowded as well.
3) Web check in always – Investing 5 mins of your time (web check in opens usually 48 hours before departure date) can cut down the waiting time at airport drastically and save you from running around. I always ensure to web-check in to avoid reaching at the airport hours before.
4) Choice of Seats – For a shorter journey, I would prefer a window seat to keep our little bunny engaged (at least for sometime !). But in case of longer duration flights aisle seat and the ones closer to the washroom (not very close also!) are always a better choice. Although make sure to seat kids away from the aisle as it can be dangerous with the food carts passing by frequently.
5) Handy bag with essentials – A small handy bag with all essential items l Sanitizer, wet tissues, carry bag for the trash, cloth napkins, small toys, snacks and water sipper can help you avoid getting up again and again.
6) Carry comfortable pillow and baby blanket – A comfortable and cozy pillow, along with a warm blanket or shawl can be really helpful in making your little one comfortable while sleeping.
7) Dress your child with comfortable clothing – Loose and comfortable clothing is the best bet for the flights. Avoid short pants, sleeveless or tight fitting clothes, as it gets really chilly inside the flight. Carry an extra jacket or pullover if required. Usually I always carry 2 pairs of extra clothing just in case.
8) Present some gifts to surprise your child – We all love surprises, why should your baby be an exception.Probably it’s a good idea to surprise them with some small gifts and let them open it.
9) Carry chocolates and Lollypops (for landing & take off)- Landing and takeoffs can cause ear pain. Lollypop can help in reducing the chance of ear pain due to excess pressure. And Chocolates to handle the situation if your toddler get too cranky or bored.
10) Lunch & snack box – flights have only limited menu option which may not appeal to a little one, its always better to carry small packets of multiple home made/ healthy snacks along with the meals depending upon the flight Duration.
11) Medical kit (smaller version) – I usually carry 2 kits, bigger one with all the necessary medicines for the check in baggage and a small one with few essentials like band-aids, sanitizer, antiseptic cream, medicine for pain , rash cream, fever etc for hand baggage.
12) A tablet or phone – Although its better to avoid screen time but we all know videos and cartoon movies works like magic on kids. Always load your tab /phone with lot of rhymes, your child’s favorite cartoon series etc. This a great help in keeping your young one glued to one place and some relaxation for parents too.
Along with all these tips and tricks, don’t hesitate to ask for help from the ground staff or flight attendants. Usually they are very friendly and helpful.
So here you go! This was the short list of how to manage travelling with toddler. With all this we have been able to travel frequently without much stress and hassle.
Do share your travel tips!