Its holiday season!! While for the most part, we are looking forward to a summer getaway we always feel a little dubious when it comes to travelling with a child, especially one that is in the realms of the terrible twos!
But fear not, it can be done, all you need is some inner strength, a little gin, a long list and my tips below….
I know, I know – it’s a tricky one. England is cold, destination is (most likely) very warm at least….So, it’s likely that in most scenarios the answer to your problems is layers! I can’t speak for boys as I am only accustomed to girls, but my favourite travel outfit is a cotton dress with cardigan and when necessary, leggings. I find cardigans come in great use for a pillow!
If I’m really honest, sometimes I even forgo knickers (only if leggings are involved) because sitting next to a child with hyper sensitive skin complain about seams hurting her in a confined space is not my idea of fun. I’ve also found that we need quick access when it comes to going to the loo – a simple sundress is perfect for this; no ruffles or frills, just give me cotton simplicity, H&M do brilliant little sundresses!
My little one doesn’t care much for shoes, so when it comes to air travel, a like to steer away from laces or dozens of Velcro straps as much as I can and opt for slip on ballet flats or sandals with the elasticated back.
The experts say don’t use food as a reward or distraction technique, but let’s be honest for a minute – sometimes it’s just necessary! Not only does travelling mean being in a fairly small vessel, thousands of feet in the air for hours at a time. It also means queueing and exhibiting a level of patience.
Have you ever met a 2 year old with patience? No, me neither. BECAUSE THEY DON’T EXIST; their beautiful, inquisitive little minds want all the information ALL the time! But give them snacks and oh look, their attention is focused!
I’m not for one minute suggesting that you cram your child full of sugar that is not going to help anyone, but pack a supply of their favourite foods. My hand luggage always contains cheese sticks, snack pots of fruit, vegetable sticks, biscuits, raisins, small bag of chocolate buttons – you get my drift. Things that can be consumed little and often.
I am strict with the drink that I pack, so plain water it is. If I pack something that is on the ‘YES PLEASE!’ list, it will be gone in seconds and I will spend the next 2 hours back and forth to the loo. I would like to enjoy at least 1 gin and tonic on the flight so anything sweet and lovely is out I’m afraid.
Plan Flights around Nap Time
I find this helps massively, although I know that it’s not always an option! We tend to opt for early mornings, as an early wakeup call definitely means sleep is on the agenda as soon as possible!
If you are going on a long haul flight, I would recommend an overnight flight just to help to keep to a schedule. Try to stick to the bedtime routine, minus the bath, but replaced with a warm wash-down/teeth brush, if you use a grow bag still – take it with you and get them zipped in, if not then take a blanket or toy that they go to bed with. Read the usual bed time story and persevere, chances are despite the distractions, they will have a relatively long sleep. Flying overnight also means you can get into a good daily routine quickly.
Things to do
My mum gave me a really good tip when it came to entertaining children on flights, buy a little gift for every hour you are on the plane and wrap it up so that they open one an hour! It doesn’t have to be expensive, shops like Wilkinsons and Tiger do little gifts for as little as £1…and also the pound shop will be able to sort you right out.
Books, colouring books and pencils or sticker ‘activity’ packs all go without saying, and then we have the iPad or tablet. Let’s just take a minute and give thanks to the technological saints that are responsible for these angelic devices. Sometimes as mothers, we need to be able to resort to a portable entertainment system for our sanity so under no circumstances should you travel on a plane without one. If it’s a long haul flight, there will be inflight entertainment, but what if they don’t have paw patrol or my little pony?? Just remember, Wi-Fi is a no go so remember to load up your devices with their favourite movies, series or game before you go, and for the love of god do not forget the extra battery packs!
Ultimately, just do it! Don’t let the fear deter you from either short haul or long haul travel. Travelling the world is an enriching experience regardless of age and enduring a minor setback such as an on flight tantrum is a small part of a wonderful experience and a chance to make lasting memories with your family.