“With the recent arrival of Lil Gooseberry, I have decided to take a bit of a break from my blog and spend some time with my little family. However, I am thrilled to have a series of lovely guest bloggers and friends lined up fill the void during this time. Today, we are kicking off with a fellow Kiwi Mummy Blogger – Karen from mummydoit.co.nz. Karen is sharing her ‘Top 5 Tips for Travelling with a Toddler’ and given the fact it is the Summer holidays here is New Zealand these tips couldn’t be more perfectly timed.”
Thank you so much, Lydia, for giving me the opportunity to write a guest post on your gorgeous blog! My name is Karen and I have a lifestyle (mainly cooking, cleaning and organising) blog at mummydoit.co.nz
I am a stay at home mum with three children (ages 5, 3, and 18 months). I come from Scotland and have been living in New Zealand for nearly 20 years. A few months ago our family took a trip back to Scotland to visit my extended family. This is a big undertaking with three young children so I did a lot of research and preparation before the trip. I shared a series of four posts about this on my blog and Lydia has kindly invited me to share some of these ideas here.
Tip 1: research on-line
The internet gives us access to flight information in our own homes at our own time. This gives you a great opportunity to check out a variety of flight options and find the best option for you. Things to consider are: the time of the flight (day or night); stop over times; what the different airports and airlines offer for children; and the possibility of booking bassinets in advance. Taking the time to do this research yourself rather than relying on what a travel agent tells you is really helpful. Then when you are armed with your information you can speak to a travel agent if you don’t want to book the flight on-line.
It is also a good idea to do some internet research on tips for travelling with children. There are loads of great tips out there. I’ve collected a number of them on this pinterest board.
Tip 2: prepare your children
When I took my son with me to the travel agents he asked me where the planes were. I knew then that I would need to explain the whole procedure carefully with the children. I also created a simple countdown chart using a calendar and a cut out aeroplane to help them understand when we would be going.
If your children haven’t flown before it is also a good idea to talk about what to expect and what will happen. Talk about what will happen at the airport, how long the journey will take, that they will get their meals and be sleeping on the plane. To help with this you can get books from the library or find clips on you tube. This Peppa Pig clip shows what happens when going through security, which I found to be one of the most stressful times so it is good to prepare the children for this.
Tip 3: packing your carry-on luggage
What you have in your carry-on luggage will really help to deal with boredom or restlessness on the plane. Make sure you have plenty of snacks (that are not too messy), books and toys. For take-off and landing I took lolly-pops for the older children and baby food pouches for the youngest. These were great for dealing with the change in air-pressure.
Have plenty of zip-lock bags for containing your things. Then it is easy to locate what you want and take it out of your bag when on the plane. It is also a good idea to have a few spare bags for rubbish and wet clothes if there are any accidents. Also, remember that you will need to carry any liquid items in a sandwich bag for going through security. Check out the airline security rules before you go to make sure you are following them properly. You don’t want to have to repack your bag or throw things away when you get to security.
Now for my favourite tip! I discovered this great tip for packing clothing not long before we travelled and have had lots of comments about it when I shared it on my blog. I took a spare change of clothing for each child and a change of t-shirt and underwear for myself. This method of rolling up each outfit was genius. It kept the whole outfit together and I could pack four outfits in one ziplock bag. When I went to get changed when we were in transit I was able to carry my roll of clothing without fear of dropping my underwear in the airport!
When packing a number of outfits place the outfit together with the open part of the socks facing outwards, then roll it up and fold the socks back over the roll.
Then place all the outfits in one zip-lock bag.
Tip 4: allow your children to let off steam at the airport
When you are at the airport, either before you leave or when in transit, this is the time when you can allow your children to run around a bit to let off steam. They will be sitting quietly for a long time when travelling so find a playground if you can or just go for walks round the airport to look at the shops and the aeroplanes. The airport may have courtesy pushchairs you can borrow if you aren’t taking your own one with you.
Tip 5: keep them entertained & distracted on the journey
Our older two children were happy watching movies for most of the journey, with the odd snack to keep them happy. Our youngest also did exceptionally well. When she wasn’t sleeping we kept her distracted with books, snacks, and looking out the window. The flight attendants were also great at talking to her when I took her for a little walk round the plane. But remember that they have a job to do so don’t expect them to babysit when they are busy.
We also kept the children in the original time zone so that they were sleeping at the usual time. We left changing time zone until we got to our destination, when we wouldn’t be bothering other people with grumpy children!
Finally – don’t stress! Our children were wonderful the whole trip and I wasn’t aware of any negative reactions from other passengers. Do you have any travel tips you would like to share?