Writing from her own experiences traveling with her young sons, Lorena Mayr shares some tips she has learned along the way.
I have been lucky to have had many opportunities to travel across the Atlantic Ocean several times. It has been a mixed bag though.
First it was just me as a teenager with my siblings and parents, then it was with my boyfriend (and now husband), and later on with a baby. Then it became one baby and one toddler, and now, I get to relax and my two teenage sons are well-seasoned travelers.
But, I have had to learn a few tricks along the way. Our longest trip ever was from Austria to Costa Rica, which involved having to go to the United States first, and our sons were only 6 and 9 at the time. It was a long trip, and I had to make sure I had enough entertainment and lots of patience.
I sometimes cannot believe my eyes when I see people with babies and toddlers or young children board airplanes, particularly when it is going to be a long flight, with nothing along to keep them entertained. Every time I knew we would be making a long trip I made sure to have a few little toys that were new and some snacks the boys would enjoy, since meals on planes can get tricky.
Here are seven my tips, whether you are traveling with a baby, a toddler or a very young child:
- Make sure you have plenty of time to get to the airport and get there early. The unexpected can pop up that might make you late and stressed-out (such as a major diaper change or a spit-up in the taxi or car. Things rarely run smoothly.
- After checking in try to walk around with your baby and look at things; or if you are with a toddler, have them walk or run a bit – it’s better to do this at the airport than on a plane. Get some of that energy out! You will have plenty of time to sit on the airplane later on.
- Bring a bag full of toys for them: you can forget reading your own book because your main focus will keeping your young child entertained and comfortable. Other passengers will be appreciative of this too. You might end up having them fall asleep, in which case you will probably be so exhausted you’ll doze off too.
- If your toddler or young child seems a bit wiggly walk up and down the aisles or go to the back to look out of the round windows.
- Make sure you have some crackers, cookies or treats you know your toddler or baby likes – sometimes it can take a long time before the meal is served (especially the transatlantic flights) and you want to avoid a hungry child.
- I always made sure I had something along for pain, like Tylenol or Motrin – little ears can get painful due to the air pressure, which in turn will make everyone miserable. Fevers also seem to creep up at the last minute so take a thermometer too.
- Last but not least, don’t worry about what other people may think. Have lots of patience, both with your baby or toddler and also with the people around you.
Something I just read about a few months ago (although I have never seen on a flight yet) are In-Flight Nannies – another pair of helping hands in case you have to take a long trip with your baby and/or young child by yourself.
I wish there was this kind of support when I was going on transatlantic flights with my sons. Instead my husband and I were able to juggle things and take turns entertaining the boys. But it was all worth it when we arrived at our destinations, the proud grandparents were there to greet us and give us a hand with everything from then onwards.
Do you have any horror stories or good news stories of traveling with children? Have you ever helped out a distressed mother ?
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