The holiday season is coming up and many of us have travel plans. While I’m sticking around town this year, I know a lot of people who are travelling.
And I’m no stranger to long road trips or plane trips with my little ones. My side of the family lives on the other side of the country and I make it my mission to head out there at least once a year. I’ve been flying with my four-year-old since she was a couple of months old and my youngest one took her first flight to Ontario at three weeks old.
My husband and I also like to camp and go on road trips with our girls. They are both great travellers and I’ve picked up some tips along the way. Don’t be afraid to travel just because you have little ones.
Here is a break down of some things I’ve learned:
When booking a flight, try to arrange it around your child’s nap schedule. Boarding a plane with an overly tired baby is not fun.
Pack lots of snacks and then pack some more. You can never have too many snacks. I’ve also never had a problem bringing a bottle filled with milk for my baby or pouch for my toddler.
Bringing a stroller is key, or if your baby likes a carrier, that is ideal too, especially when boarding or deplaning. I once saw a mom pulling a foldable wagon through the airport and I thought that was a great idea.
When it comes time to board, people with small children are invited to board early. Do not do this. I’d like to spend the least amount of time possible on a plane with my children. Once on the plane, have at least one snack in arm’s reach and set up the tablet right away. My four year old has a screen time limit at home but not while we are traveling. She can have unlimited screen time on the plane.
The most important job is to keep the kids entertained. It is a lot of work and I think it is important to go in with that attitude. It won’t be a relaxing flight. Don’t even bother packing a book for yourself to read. But pack lots of books for the little ones. Small toys, colouring and stickers are also great. I had one friend bring Play-Doh, I haven’t tried that one yet but it sounds fun.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Once I was flying home solo with my two children. We flew in at night and both my girls fell asleep on me and stayed sleeping during landing. I waited for everyone to deplane, and then I asked for the steward to help. He held my baby while I ran out of the plane, opened up the double stroller that was waiting for me by the plane door, ran back in, carried my toddler out and put her in the stroller and then ran back into the plane to grab the baby. The steward handed me my bag and off I went. Every time I’ve ever flown I’ve been around helpful people.
It is also important to have a lot of patience and not to stress.
When traveling by car, most of the same rules apply. Snacks, toys, tablets and more snacks. It is also important to take lots of breaks and let the kids out to run around for a bit.
Visitor Centres are usually easy to find and have an area to stretch your legs. Play places at fast food restaurants are also great places to burn off some energy. Take your time and remember to enjoy the journey.