A friend asked me the other day for some tips as they are travelling with a toddler and it got me thinking. I did a lot of travel with our first child and now that he’s a toddler and our youngest is still a baby we’ve done both the toddler and baby travelling. Here are my top tips! Feel free to add yours in the comments too.
Tips for travelling with a baby…
- Create a list of everything you will need including expressing kit, bottles, sterilising stuff etc.
- Take pain relief for your baby – you never know when they will start teething or get a temperature – it’s also handy just before you fly to help with equalising on the way up and down.
- When flying feed the baby on the way up and down. If you are using bottles be warned that the air will have expanded on the way up so milk can (and probably will go flying – have a muslin to hand!!! or you will have milk all over those around you…yes we learnt that the hard way lol!)
- If you think you have enough nappies when you pack for a flight add enough extra to cope with a long delay.
- Pack spare clothes for yourself and your OH in hand luggage as well as for the baby. Inevitably they are sick on you at some point during the flight and there is nothing worse than sitting there smelling of baby sick.
- If you can try to plan your flight time around when the baby sleeps or naps. It makes the flight easier and calmer.
- Don’t try to give baby solid food from a jar on a plane. There just isn’t enough room. Instead go for the pouches as they are a lot less messy or if baby is at that stage when they can take dry food like biscuits and sandwiches or banana then these are all a great option. Inevitably baby will swipe at the spoon covering you and your fellow passengers with food otherwise.
- Toys – take soft toys on flights… I once made a mistake and took wooden toys and my little lovely then decided it was fun to bash the chair in front with said toy… I soon put that away and had to find something else instead. Soft cuddly toys and hand puppets worked well along with soft books.
- Handling people who don’t like babies… always a fun one. Just remember it’s their issue not yours. If people have this issue then they generally asked to be moved. Don’t be offended just make the most of the extra space and ignore any funny looks.
- Getting the baby into a safety belt… this is often easier said than done. I found a toy or feeding the baby whilst doing the belt up worked well.
- Above all no matter what happens while you travel, stay calm and composed. Your baby will pick up on your anxiety.
- Many airlines allow you to take a pushchair or travel system to the gate. Make the most of it but give yourself enough time to put the travel system down flat.
- You may not get your travel system or pushchair back until you get to the luggage belt. Find out if this is the case before flying and if it is so take a baby sling with you or a hip seat. You will be thankful for it when you get to passport control!
Travelling with a Toddler
- Find a fun way for your toddler to carry their toys around the airport. We love our Trunki as it is both transport and a toy for our toddler while we queue for flights and find our way through the airport.
- Don’t put electronic items like kindle fire kids edition in their luggage, keep it with your own stuff as it’s easier than emptying out their bag as well as yours.
- Snacks and drinks are a must along with calpol and something to suck on like a lolly for on the way up and down on flights. Toddlers really do struggle more with this than babies.
- A range of toys are needed for longer flights and we found that the kindle fire came into it’s own but remember to check that the films have all been downloaded and have authorisation from the app store to play before you get on your flight as they do expire after 2 days from the first time they are played.
- Seathbelts… get a window seat for your toddler is my first strong suggestion. The view distracts them while you put the belt on them. Be calm- your toddler will probably hate being restrained and realise they can escape the belt… talk calmly and explain why they need it on. Point out the other people all wearing theirs and suggest that they can act all grown up in a big chair. Offer a reward for getting the belt on and another during take-off to help equalise.
- Keep wet wipes to hand… inevitably sticky little fingers get everywhere.
- Expect your toddler to be tired after their flight and not want to walk through passport control etc. Consider the best way to carry them… shoulders, hip seat etc or use the Trunki!
Good luck with your travels and let me know if you have other top tips for travelling with a baby or toddler.