This year was the first time I experienced travelling by plane with two kids. Back in March we flew to Paris but my husband was with me so supposedly things were a little bit easier. This june I done it all by myself – just me and two kids: a 31 month old and a 6 years old.
I must confess that both time I was really worried but it end up being a lot better than I expected. And believe me it was pretty hard especially on the way back from UK as my youngest was full of an eczema from a penicillin allergy.
Things are a little bit harder when you are the only adult but I think the same rules apply.
- REST well before travelling – You and your kids. Make sure you respect their routine as much as possible or ensure that they will sleep just before you travel. I like travelling at night or at lunch time as they can sleep on the way there.
- SHARE RESPONSABILITIES – You might travel on your own with the kids or with your partner but before you set off make sure you discuss who will take care of which bag, child, nappy change or milk. You don’t want to have a meltdown while you travel do you? Even if you are the only one you can still entrust your eldest the care of a bag or to make sure they remind you that is time to stop for the toilet for example.
- Arm yourself with a lot of PATIENCE – like with anything since you became a parent you have to talk yourself into not losing your patience, temper when travelling. I know sometimes it can be quite difficult but if you are calm than they are calm too. There is no point on starting to scream at your child if he has a tantrum as things are more likely to escalade rather than calm down. Counting to ten can actually help sometimes even if you feel like fire is about to come out your ears! And when your kids scream and cry in the middle of the airport or the very quiet plane don’t worry about the strangers that look towards you. Your kids and you are the most important and your reaction will be criticised no matter what you do. So make sure you attitude will benefit YOUR KIDS.
- ELECTRONIC DEVICES/GADGETS – If you can try taking with you one electronic device for each of your kids. I had one iPad and two phones so they were both able to play and watch cartoon at the same time. Age difference is quite big between them so they watch different things.
- Don’t forget to pack their FAVOURITE TOY(S) – Wherever we go Peppa and Minnie have to come with us. When my eldest was younger she had to have her cuddly toy with her “bear bear” but now she just wants her handbag with her 🙂
- TAKE A TOILET STOP before you go through the leave home,security check, board the plane. Very important as you don’t want your child to ask for a toilet or have an accident in the worst situations. Sometimes it takes ages to go through the security or for the plane to take off. Also every time you take them take yourself too.
- PACK SNACKS,MILK or MEDICINES(these have to have a prescription) – Snacks are important as sometimes delays happen and the only things you can buy are the things that your child doesn’t like. Also again sometimes the plane can take off with some delays and you kids might be hungry or thirsty. PS: Don’t forget sick plastic bags.
- WEAR COMFORTABLE CLOTHES – An impractically-dressed child is an unhappy child. Take an extra layer of clothing that can double up as a pillow OR blanket so they can blissfully drift away, dreaming of princesses. Plus you should dress yourself comfortable so you can attend to your kids without the fear that your body parts will come out or you will be too hot.
- KEEP THEM and YOURSELF BUSY – Don’t ever think that if they have their gadgets with them will be happy. You might need to play with them(we made bracelets out of elastic bands) or read them (we filled an hour of our flight with reading books).
- TRAVEL LIGHT – well this might be quite hard when you have to pack clothes, toys, snacks etc. But you know…try and get only one pair of trainers or shoes for you, one or two books and snacks that you know they like and you can’t find on the plane. You know kids always like other things than the ones they have so no matter what you carry with you they will regardless ask for other things. So this is why I am saying that you only need to pack only one bag for your kids necessities – iPads, books, nappies, wet wipes, snacks they all have to fit in one bag that can be carried by your eldest child. Both times we travelled we had a rucksack on wheels that my 6 years old find it very easy to wheel down. My mistake was that I took two more bags with me and didn’t realise that Kara will not be able to carry the rucksack up and down the stairs of the airplane so when I had to take the rucksack from her and handle my two other bags too and carry the 2 year old in my arms all was a bit too much. I can’t say I didn’t managed as the extra two bags were my handbag which went on my shoulder and the other my camera bag which went on my back. Hard and my back did hurt for quite a while after. If my husband was with us than this wouldn’t have been a problem but as I was alone with the girls it turn to be quite a hard one you see two year old was too scared to go up and down the airport stairs by herself. (Please don’t ever think that good willing people will help you as that rarely happens.
- Don’t forget about YOU! – While pouring all your efforts into project managing your offspring’s on-board, in-transit behaviour, do not take your eye off your own ball. Take care of yourself and the rest will take care of itself. If you are in good form, you’ll be far more able to cope with the inevitable tests thrown at you by your errant charges. So, pack your passport(don’t forget theirs), give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and pack your own MUST HAVE too. Maybe download a book on your Kinder to destress while your kids are sleeping or watch cartoon?
These are our tips for a stress free plane journey. It worked very well for us even when a certain 2 year old throw herself on the floor in the middle of the Luton airport. But please do share your tips with us too as it will be really interesting to read what you have to say about travelling with kids on the plane.