Over the summer, we went home to Nigeria to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation. As a member of a couple of Facebook mummy groups, I know flying long haul with a toddler would be no walk in a park. So I thought I would share with you my 4 tips to keep your kids happy whilst travelling.
1 Plan ahead including how you can keep your kids happy and occupied
Since becoming a parent, I have come to fully appreciate that you can’t just up and go. A 30-minute journey becomes 90 minutes on a good day. Things you can’t imagine going wrong do go wrong. By planning ahead, you give yourself ample time to think of any things that could go wrong and ask yourself how you would deal with it. Do you have your passports and are they in date? Do you need any visas? How will you get to the airport? How long before the gate closes do you need to be at the airport to clear through check-in and immigration for instance? If travelling alone, do you have or need written consent from your partner to show immigration staff if asked? Do you need any travel vaccinations? What toys can your kids not do without? How long is your trip? Do you have enough entertainment planned to keep your toddler occupied? Who would watch your child(ren) so you can get a bit of time to yourself? What child-centred activities are there?
2 Set out earlier than you need to
Even if you check in online and your journey from home to the airport would take only an hour and you do not have to drop off any suitcases, still set out earlier than you need to.
Before having my daughter, I once planned to take a coach to the airport in plenty of time. Unfortunately for me, my well-planned journey turned to disaster. Something happened along the way and the coach no longer went all the way to the airport and everyone had to come off midway and wait almost 30 minutes for the next coach and even though I got to the airport before the actual departure time, the gates closed within minutes of me getting to the gate and I missed my flight.
So yeah, give yourself plenty of time. If you end of being anxious or worried or frustrated, your little humans will pick up on it and it would make the trip an unhappy one for everyone.
3 Have some offline videos
It would be really handy to have some videos downloaded to your tablet or smartphone that you can watch offline. Yes, there’s likely to be wifi at the airport and depending on where you are travelling to, there might be in-flight entertainment. However, what happens if your little one doesn’t want to watch the in-flight entertainment? What happens if the airport wifi takes a little bit longer to stream a video? What would you do then?
You also need offline videos for yourself. After a day filled with lots and lots of child-centred activities, I love watching something that’s definitely not child-friendly. I’m talking Uma Thurman and Kill Bill type movies. It gives a nice balance to the day for me. See point 1 above again.
I try to give my little human mostly healthy meals but considering that we would be travelling door-to-door for almost 18 hours, for my sanity, I got us both some (meaning lots) of chocolate and biscuits. They are less messy too; no fruit juice running down someone’s chin from a juicy plum. To be honest, the biscuits were a life saver. When someone was about to get irritable and throw a massive tantrum, offering a biscuit helped calm the storm. A calm toddler meant I could focus on everything else that I needed to do. I got up at 3am to get last minute things sorted then woke up my little human and got her ready. We were out the door just before 4am and arrived at the airport 50 minutes later for a 7:20am flight where the gates closed at 7am. By the time we arrived at the airport, someone wanted to eat something, so the first biscuit was put in her hand. After going through the long queue to drop our bags and clear airport security, that was time for another biscuit. I had to hold a toddler, my handbag and laptop and sometimes her own backpack. Small biscuit/chocolate packets were easy enough to fit in my pocket and they helped me retain my sanity.
What I learned
Because my outward flight was early in the day, I didn’t give too much thought to my return flight. My return flight sets out at night on one day and we arrived in London the next day. The return flight made me realise why people who can afford it opt for first class seats. It’s easier to stretch out and let your little one sleep by themselves. As we were in economy, I became the bed. Thankfully, there was a detachable belt for toddlers provided that I didn’t need to wake my little human up when the seat belt sign came on. I think it was just that flight though. The cabin crew were not so accommodating in our connecting flight. As the human bed/pillow, I could not stretch my legs or even go for a wee.
For our next long-haul flight (whenever that would be), I would make sure I had a travel pillow with me, so my little human had something to rest her head on. Whilst it was quite cute talking really slowly but with our mouths opened as widely as we could get them to open, I think I would look into getting something to help with the change in sensation in the ears due to the pressure.
Giveaway with Holiday Gems
That said, when I found out that Holiday Gems, an online travel agent are giving away a Trunki travel pillow, I just had to enter it. Why buy one when I could possibly win one eh? I’m not selfish, so fill free to enter it too 😀
About the Trunki Travel Pillow
“This is the ideal travel pillow that connects under the chin with hidden magnets to form a soft and supportive cushion.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride… The fun fox Yondi, Felix is the ideal travel buddy for little ones on long journeys. With a cool, colourful design and soft fleecy fabric, The Yondi pillow provides comfort and support to the head and neck.
Suitable for ages 2 – 5 years, Felix is lightweight and car seat compatible.”
There you have it, my 4 tips to keep your kids happy whilst travelling. What are yours? Have you ever used a travel pillow? What are your thoughts on them? Please leave a comment below.
You can check out my other giveaway to win a $50 Amazon gift card by clicking here.