At present, I’ve traveled six long-haul flights with my toddler son in tow. Not only did I have to plan for the actual journey but also for my destination (which, by the way, is a whole other post in itself). Remember with kids, there are several stages of travel: excitement, curiosity, impatience, irritation, skepticism and exhaustion. At first, when kids experience the positive emotions we’re excited because it gives us this extra motivation — that inner voice saying, “YOU GOT THIS! You CAN travel with your little ones and preserve your sanity.” Unfortunately it is fleeting and soon after, we all experience the meltdowns. But don’t worry, with this tips below, you’ll get through the journey (exhausted) but in one piece.
1. Pre-load your iPad. Unless you’re traveling from the middle east to the U.S. having an iPad is allowed inflight. Stock up on age appropriate apps that work without wi-fi such as ChuChuTV for your 1-2 year old, Mother Goose Club for your 2-3 year old, or Storybook varieties such as Caillou: Show & Tell or The Very Hungry Caterpillar for your 4-5 year old. Downloading these apps and their contents (don’t forget that part!) to sync offline is one of the best ways to get through the ticketing, check-in and even boarding process.
2. Pack Essentials. Take the time to evaluate what you really need. Are you really going to have time to read those heavy 200 page magazines? Do you expect to get work done with your kids running around? So far on all my trips I have just combined my essentials (passport, cell phone, wallet, lip balm — yup! that’s it) into my kids’ diaper bag so that I didn’t have to deal with two shoulder bags amongst other carry-on items.
3. Lightweight accessories. Do you need a baby carrier? Check out BityBean - it rolls up and weighs almost nothing not to mention it is easy to wash. Need a stroller? Invest in a gb Qbit+ because it folds up and can be stored in the overhead compartment. (That means you don’t need to gate check!) Luggage for little ones? Check out the Skip Hop Little Kid Luggage. Just travel with less weight and you’ll thank yourself when at some point you’ll have to carry your kid too!
4. Athleisure. Thank goodness for this latest fashion trend. You could wear a super comfy outfit and still look chic! Check out brands such as Sweaty Betty, Uniqlo, Athleta and Lululemon for their all-day breathable and comfortable pieces that will sustain sweat and water spills (spit-up, tantrums, turbulence). Also, try to invest in layered pieces so that you don’t feel too cold, too hot, and also have options in case your little one spits up or vomits at any point. Don’t forget easy walking shoes that you can slip on and off. Brands like Toms offer classic slides in various fabrics and colors.
5. Diversify. When in doubt, pack variety - snack variety, toy variety, clothing variety. We can’t predict how our little ones are going to behave inflight but the best we could do is plan for it. Check out the Skip Hop Grab and Go Wet/Dry Bag and keep it on hand so that you can separate soiled pieces from clean ones. Stock up on snacks (that won’t crumble or break into pieces) that you can pile into Ziploc bags so that they’re easy to pack and won’t take up much space.
While I am not an expert when it comes to traveling, I definitely believe in these tips provided because they kept me sane and focused. Now what parent wouldn’t want that?!