I often get asked how we travel so often with such small children.
My only explanation is that I was a passionate traveller before I even met my husband, as was he before he met me. Once we were married we continued to explore the globe together, and when kids came into the picture it was a natural progression that they would join us on our adventures.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy or even fun, but we’d rather do modified travelling than no travelling at all.
Do we get to do all the exciting things we could if our kids weren’t with us? No. We definitely have to tone it down a bit while our kids are little. Our days of volcano surfing and dune buggies through the desert are put on hold, but we’re seeing more of the world than we would if we stayed home, and we’re creating amazing memories together as a family.
We have spent lots of time on airplanes with our kids, and in some cases have figured things out the hard way. We can laugh now, but it can be tough to do if all hell is breaking loose on the plane, and you’re getting the stink eye from everyone around you.
Next time you’re bringing your munchkins to 23,000 feet, keep these things in mind while you’re packing your carry-on.
1. Bring Lots of Wipes
Not only are they handy for cleaning up kids, they’re also good for spills, wiping off the strange things you find stuck to your purse, and for when your child projectile vomits a ham and cheese sandwich onto the woman beside you on the airplane. Luckily when this happened I had the wipes in the seat pocket in front of me, because we were landing, and not even the flight attendant could get up to help our poor airplane neighbour.
The vomit-covered young lady was very nice about the whole thing, but there’s a good chance she may never want children of her own, and she’ll definitely never get her suede shoes back to their original state.
2. When You Think You’ve Packed Enough Clothes, Pack Some More
Unexpected things happen on airplanes. Our kids never had the crazy explosive poops that you hear new parents talk about, but as soon as we reached a certain altitude, they become superhuman poopers. I’m not sure if it’s the air pressure or just a cruel joke, but this only happens to us when our diaper changing facility is the size of a tin can.
We’ve had babies poop through their back-up outfit, their second back-up outfit, and as a final resort, the pyjamas they came to the airport in. Trust me, you don’t feel like Mom Of The Year when you have to carry your naked baby off the plane wrapped in an airplane blanket.
3. Bribe Them
Like most parents, we usually try to limit screen time, treats, and unhealthy food, but the rules go out the window on travel days. Flying within Europe, I’ve yet to see an airplane with a tv in each seat like in North America, so for us, on overseas flights, this is a treat in itself. I’ve learned that trying to apply everyday rules when you’re stuck on an airplane doesn’t work. So go nuts, break out the treats, bring little presents, and make it a party! It doesn't happen every day and it sure beats the fight you’ll have if you’re trying to keep them from having the airplane cookies, while Billy in the next aisle is covered in chocolate, playing video games.
4. Treat Yourself
If the kids get treats, why shouldn’t you? After all, you’re the one holding this whole operation together . . . aside from the pilot of course.
While you’re packing the bribery items for the kids, pack a few things to save your own sanity. Whether it’s your favourite chocolate, your best hand cream, or the gossip magazines you try to only read at the hairdresser. Go on, throw it in the bag, because after you’ve cleaned up all the poop, and the vomit has dried to your shirt, you’ll want that scented hand cream to mask the smell until the next disaster hits. You deserve it!
Passing on the plane and taking a car? Here are the Top 10 Ways To Keep Your Kids Occupied During A Road Trip.
Check out these Must-Have Hotel Amenities When Travelling With Kids, for when you reach your destination.