I love to travel. Before becoming a proud parent of three darling cherubs, everyone said to me, “Enjoy traveling now because once you have kids, you won’t be able to do it anymore.” Well, I proved all the naysayers wrong by hopping on that plane with three kids in tow, sometimes internationally. I didn’t let their age stop me either, they all flew before the age of two.
It wasn’t always easy though. In fact, it was downright disgusting at times but definitely worth it. I’m going to share some tips with you to save you the headache and messes I suffered.
BRING A CAR SEAT
The first time our twins flew internationally, they were 18 months old. Most airlines do not require you to purchase a ticket if a child is under the age of two, so this seemed like a no-brainer to me. The entire ride both ways was a wrestling match between us and our twins–they definitely won in case you were wondering. There was no way they wanted to sit quietly on our laps for five hours–they wanted to roam freely through the airplane. When we traveled with their younger sister, I purchased a ticket for her, which meant I could strap her into her car seat. She slept the entire flight both ways.
PACK A CHANGE OF CLOTHES FOR THE PLANE
Sometimes you learn the “hard way,” and other times, you learn in a repulsive way. When my son flew for the first time, we didn’t know he was prone to motion sickness (we now also pack Dramamine). I bet you are wondering, “How did you figure it out?” While cruising at an altitude of 36,000 feet, my son vomited his egg and cheese sandwich all over the person to his left: me. Of course, I had nothing to change into for the rest of the five-hour flight. Be sure to pack at least something to change into or you will wish you did.
PACK A CHANGE OF CLOTHES FOR YOUR DESTINATION
Add clothes for your destination (such as a bathing suit, summer clothes, etc.) to your carry-on bag. Your luggage could get lost or it could take time getting to your room, so if you have other clothes accessible, you can change. You don’t want to be the family dressed in a hoodie and pants by the pool.
BRING A PEN (OR TWO)
It took me at least three international flights before I remembered to add two pens to my passport holder. On the plane you receive immigration and customs forms which you need to fill out for each child, and the airlines will not provide a pen for you. Sure, you could wait until you get there, but if your child is strapped into their car seat, then you have time to fill it out.
BRING LOTS OF FOOD
I pack an entire carry-on suitcase of snacks. Have you ever gone to the zoo or a farm and fed the animals? It’s fun, right? The animals are happy to receive some food and you feel happy that you made the animal happy. Well, traveling on a plane for hours in a small confined area requires some moments when you want to “feel happy,” so food is a great way to achieve this effect. You have to save up these moments for when your child is about to lose it because even if you bring a whole carry-on suitcase filled with food, it’s going to run out if you overuse it.
PLAY OLD SCHOOL GAMES
Let’s face it, things can go wrong with electronics and kids can get bored with it. If you are relying on that cool TV in the seat, don’t because I’ve been on at least three flights where none of the TVs worked. There are lots of old school games like a deck of cards, Tic Tac Toe, or iSpy that are easy to play in a confined space yet don’t take up much space in your carry-on bag.
PUT THE NAME ON OUTSIDE OF PASSPORT
I’ve probably heard more compliments about my passport cover than any other parenting technique I’ve tried. So, if for no other reason, you could put the label on just to hear, “what a great idea.” The main reason for putting your name on the front cover is when you are in charge of five passports, it prevents you from having to open each one to figure out who it belongs to.
Now that I shared my mishaps with you, hopefully you can have a fun flight with your wee ones. You have to make the best of it because once you get to your destination, it will all be a distant memory, unless you forgot your change of clothes.