As if handling children is easy on earth, just imagine a mother’s plight when she’s stuck in a plane with a toddler and an infant! Can there be a more disastrous combination, that too on (the-then longest flight in the world!)
If you need tips for surviving a long-haul flight, trust me you will not find a better person to ask than me. I did it all alone on the Auckland-Karachi trip. Here’s a guide to travelling with kids and successfully pulling through a long journey with minimal possible tragedies. (Don’t even dare think you won’t have any!
1. Do try to book a night time flight:
Although there are no guarantees when it comes to children, it is safer to assume that they sleep (relatively) easily if the flight is closer to their sleep time. In my experience, my flight was scheduled to depart at 8:10 p.m. at night and thus the kids were already sleepy. Even I was amazed at the ease with which they slept for a long, long time. It also helped that everyone was sleeping!
2. Don’t disturb the kids’ routine before flying:
When you are going on an overseas trip, it is easy to get distracted by the zillion things that are on your mind. Naturally, that affects the kids’ routine as well but please don’t make the mistake of ruining their routine. It will be really helpful if they do their usual things before flying and are not overly tired or fresh. Both conditions can make life miserable when you are stuck in a limited space.
3. Do carry surprises:
Although surprises usually don’t capture kids’ attention more than a few minutes in this day and age, it is a MUST to carry things that you can use to “bribe” the kids when things are getting out of hand. Naturally, on a 17 hour flight, no amount of surprises can be enough so don’t overdo it . I have known mothers to carry loads of things which ultimately become a burden to carry. Use your insight into your child’s interest wisely and surprise them when most-needed. (Remember, there will numerous moments that will seem like “most-needed” so don’t run out of your stock too quickly!
4. Do specify your requirement of a kid’s meal:
It helped me a lot! No, no don’t get me wrong. Your kid will probably be least interested in eating and the same will be your case. However, the various pretty-looking edibles can come in handy at various times during the flight. Also, you never know if they actually end up eating something. ☺
5. Keep your hand-carried luggage to a minimum:
If you are travelling with kids, trust me your hands will already be full just managing them! So, keep your hand-carried luggage as low as possible. This comes in handy at every stage like boarding the plane, putting it in the overhead storage and finally at landing. Also, try to carry a backpack instead of a handbag or shoulder bag. It is much easier to carry a backpack.
6. Consider investing in a sling/baby-carrier:
If there is one thing that every mom of a kid under 1 should have, it is THIS! You need to have your hands to do multitude of chores while travelling. Thus, between airports and terminals and what not, if you can keep the baby in a sling, it is extremely helpful. The best part is that it is useful anyways (even apart from travelling).
7. Don’t rely on airline food:
You know your kids best. Kids can be picky-eaters even in the best of situations ( which this is NOT). Thus, keep your supply of food with you. If you aren’t allowed to carry food with you, you can always stock up on things from the airport shops. Yes, yes, I know they don’t provide you the healthiest options but here we are talking about survival, that too in mid-air! Health is a priority at other times.
8. Dress them up in layers:
It tends to get cold in the airplane, no matter what the weather in general is. You wouldn’t want to be changing clothes or dressing them up in the middle of nowhere. It’s always easier to take things off. Moreover, the layers should be easy to put off and on, depending on the requirement.
9. Choose your seats wisely and in advance:
There’s nothing worse than a screaming kid if you are stuck amidst people. Always choose your seats wisely. The bulkhead is the best! If not that, try to go for a seat in which you don’t have to ask people to move when you want to go to the toilet or just want to stand up to make the screaming stop!
10. Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst:
You will need nerves of steel. You should definitely hope that all goes well smoothly but be prepared for the worst if it does not. Since I had imagined the worst already, everything seemed much, much better than I expected.
What are some of your tips that you found helpful in travelling with kids? Share with us. ☺
This article is submitted by Erum Fatima