I’ve had my share of long-distance flights and found some things to be helpful. Here are some tips that we’ve learned either by mistake or through experience.
Before the day of flight:
I’m assuming you’ve already checked your baggage allowance, checked into your flight online (if possible) and have boarding passes. This is super helpful to skip a step at the airport.
I can’t stress enough how much of a luxury it is to travel light! Babies and toddlers come with more stuff than I think is necessary sometimes. I usually ask myself if the place I’m going has the capability to do laundry. If so, don’t pack clothes for everyday. I find that I wear my favorite outfits anyways and the extras just take up space. And of course us “over prepared moms” bring two of everything.
Unless you’re going to a remote village out of the reach of any stores, you won’t need two of everything. If you lose something, go and buy another or simply do without. Kids survived many years without all the gadgets we have for them today.
We recently travelled to Singapore and Bali for 10 days. We brought one large suitcase (checked), one large carry-on, a diaper bag, umbrella stroller and our purse/shoulder bag. Now, traveling to a warm climate makes this way easier but if we go home for Christmas, we usually have just one more checked bag.
If you travel a lot, it’s worth investing in good luggage that can be strapped together. We don’t have a car so we take the train to the airport. If I’m pushing the stroller, that leaves my husband to handle all the bags. And with me being pregnant, he has to carry the stroller if we run into a situation with a broken elevator.
Instead of using a traditional diaper bag, I use a travel tote that will sit on luggage and and stay secure by the luggage handle. We can easily have all bags managed by one person that way.
The day before I travel, I try as much as possible to get some exercise and eat super healthy. I even juice a bunch of vegetables the night before to have along with breakfast, since vegetables is usually the food I’ll lack during my travel. Cucumber is great to have juiced because it is super hydrating. This last trip I made a juice out of zucchini, cucumber, carrots, apples, celery and ginger.
Make lists so you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything. I usually have two lists. Packing and things to do before we go. I wish I could say I keep these lists but that’s one reason I’m posting a blog on this! My list for a tropical destination included:
Copy of passport in your email
Medicine: Tylenol, anti-diarrhea, cortisone
Phone charger and adapter
Tootepaste and brush
Petroleum jelly (makeup remover and can use on thermometer if needed)
Shampoo/conditioner (if hotel doesn’t provide)
Extra pair of clothes in your carry-on incase of an accident.
iPad! Haha we love the Disney app with Sofia right now
First aid kit
Diaper stuff (wipes, cream and enough diapers for your trip. I keep a handful in the diaper bag and extra in the carry-on)
Extras For baby:
Small towel for your lap (prevention of accidents)
Spit rags (one in the diaper bag, one in the carry on)
Bottles/formula if you use them
For the diaper bag, I only put what I know I’ll use. The rest goes in the carry-on. It’s really tough to find anything if your bag is packed full.
Toys- so far the things that keep her interest change like the wind. I usually go to a cheap toy store or second hand store and buy (new for her) toys. My daughter is still in the phase of taking stuff in and out if bags. So I have lots of little bags that she can open and find new toys. Flash cards, play-doh, stickers, crayons, small doll with clothes, books, etc. My mother in law ordered these great small “magazines’ that are virtually indestructible yet extremely light. I never travel with something that I’ll be sad to lose.
We usually try to arrive in our destination in the evening so we don’t have to stay up that long. However, that doesn’t always work. I usually have kept my daughter on her normal routine while we’re on the plane because she will normally behave the best. I’d rather have her behave well on the plane and suffer the consequences later. My daughter normally doesn’t get her pacifier unless she is sleeping but when a travel, she gets it more often. I try to be aware of others on the flight but if she has a moment of crying, I don’t let it bother me. Eventually we’ll all get to the same place in one peace and people will forget about the flight (let’s hope!) We have been traveling with our daughter since she was 3 months old and she has been to 15 different countries since. So she’s pretty seasoned and I’m sure it helps.
When our daughter was really little, Jetlag didn’t bother her much. She ate so often that I could get her to the right time by letting her fall asleep while breastfeeding. Side note: Pacifiers and eating are good for take-off and landing so their ears don’t get clogged.
As she got older, it got trickier. In the beginning, I would keep her on schedule for the flight and then deal with Jetlag when we got home. I would stay up and watch movies with her while she played. Eventually she would come sit down and fall asleep. But as she’s gotten older, I’ve had to force her to sleep a little more. Even if that meant a lot of crying to wipe her out. If your child is old enough, you can ask your doctor about baby benedryl. I hate to admit that the last trip, I gave her a half dose to help take the edge off. She did so much better. But it came after getting desperate. The last time we had traveled, she would stay up all day with a normal nap and then stay up all night. She did this for four days. Eventually we both got sick because our immune system was so shot. So after getting medical advise I subcomed. I’m sure there are people totally opposed to this but this is what we’ve done and I tried managing without.
So these are some of the things that help us as we travel internationally with a toddler. I’m sure I’ll update this blog after #2 comes… in November!