Nothing is as exhausting as traveling with young children. I used to think traveling with one child is bad, but now that we have Felix as well, our trips with Kaya seem like a cakewalk in comparison. When there are two adults and one child, you get some time off. When there are two adults and two young children, neither one of you gets ANY time off.
We just returned from a month-long vacation to New York City. Although a 9-hour flight from Warsaw-NYC each way does not seem so bad for a whole month’s vacation, we also traveled from NYC to the Dominican Republic for a week, and took a car trip to upstate New York. I have to admit, the traveling was not easy, and sometimes it seemed like everything was going wrong, but we survived!
I feel like every trip is a learning experience and I’ve created a list of tips on traveling with young bubs, especially by plane, that might be of some help to others.
1. Fly at night. We always try to fly overnight, or at least in the late evening, when our kids are usually sleeping. This way, they usually zonk out for most of the flight, even if this means sleeping by our feet for our two year-old daughter. Sleeping children are better than hyper, in need of entertainment children…trust me.
3. Do NOT overpack! I tend to overcompensate while packing, worrying about every possible scenario. What I’ve learned is: 1 toy EACH is enough (they will be more interested in their new surroundings than any toy you might bring with you, although a stuffed animal/blanket they’re attached to is always a good thing to bring with you), sippy cups for a toddler are probably unneccessary (its just always another thing to carry/look for after the flight is over, and they can drink from a plastic cup on the flight), & one change of clothes each is enough (chances are that BOTH children will not soil their clothes twice, even if one of them does, if there is a small difference in age, they can wear their siblings extra change of clothes).
4. Bring lots of food. My two year old eats often, so I always try to have lots of snacks on hand, especially when traveling. Let’s face it- airplane food sucks, to the point that I didn’t let Kaya eat anything on our last flight back. By bringing sandwiches, snacks, or even some mac and cheese you made earlier, you can avoid the craziness of food trays & drinks coming all at once, and your child can eat whenever she/he is hungry.
5. Quadruple-check that you have enough diapers. We brought 10 diapers for our 6 month old son, and 4 for our 2 year old daughter for the 9 hour flight (although our daughter is potty trained, she wears a diaper when she sleeps). This was more than enough, but having too many is a much better scenario than not having enough…trust me, I’ve been there!
6. Socialize with other passengers. If your kids aren’t sleeping and they start getting antsy in the seats, take them for a walk down the aisles, and let them socialize with other passengers. Usually people are more than happy to chat, or even sometimes play, with a cute toddler/baby coming their way.
7. Always try to reserve for the first row/bassinet ahead of time. I’ve noticed that every airline has a different policy when it comes to reserving a seat in the first rows (more leg room, and the possibility of getting a bassinet for a baby). Always find out how to get these seats with the airline you are flying with, whether it is done while buying tickets, or during check-in. We flew back to Warsaw without these seats this last time, and had half the leg room and no possiblity of putting Felix down = disaster!
8. Stay calm/have fun! If your baby/toddler has a melt-down and starts crying at the top of his/her voice…stay calm and forget what others are thinking! Don’t let other people’s disapproving glances get to you, your children will sense your worrying/agitation, and this will only make their state worse.
There you have it, my tips for flying with your bubs. This was our tenth trip flying with a baby (or more) and I feel like we’ve almost got it to a T. Please comment with any other tips you can reommend to fellow parents!