This was not the first time, I was traveling with young kids. But everytime one travels, there is a whole new experience. Last time, my younger one was six months old and she was traveling by air for the first time. The elder one was 2.5 years, old enough to understand the travel discomforts. But still when one starts crying, the other follows and then one and one becomes eleven. This time around, both the girls grew up older 18 months and 4 years and this age is much better compared to less than a year old babies.
One cannot have a perfect plan while traveling with kids but of course, personal experiences always help to get some guidance on how to prepare. So, here are my tips which I think would work.
1) Don’t carry a huge cabin baby baggage – Most of the parents do this mistake. In anticipation, they will end up filling up the baby bag. But that helps in providing peace to the mind. At the time of crisis, it is very hard to find the right thing in the heap of things. Even if you have everything set in bag organizer, still traveling light would help much better.
This is the mistake we did. We had carried everything from their favorite snack to toys, downloaded their favorite music and what not. But not everything helps.
2) Carry an extra pair of dresses – Even though we had carried two extra pairs but still that wasn’t enough. Because kids usually vomit in an airplane and if you don’t manage the damage well, there could a huge issue. Carrying extra t-shirts, big towels, and dry tissues always help during their vomit spree or unending shout, shrill and cry.
3) Carrying their favorite Cartoon/Music -Though it is a bit of an effort to download their favorite music and cartoon but trust me it’s all worth it. 10-15mins of distraction in watching tv is a huge relief to parents. Don’t hand over the phone for 2 hours because that will have an adverse impact on their health. They will not be only physically but mentally tired as well. And use this tool as the last weapon of distraction because once the kids get the phone, they are relatively quieter and everyone in the plane is happy andin peace.
4) Find friends in plane – This may not be always possible but chances are higher that parents with same age kids are traveling in a plane. It is in mutual interest to exchange few words as parents are in the same boat. It is lot easier for two kids to attract each other’s attention than elders. If you are really lucky then kids may gel well, and the entire journey becomes smooth. And that experience would be like attaining Nirvana.
5) Don’t lose patience/get angry on kids – Parents have to understand that traveling by air is very stressful for kids. This restricts their movement for hours. The only thing parents can do is be sympathetic and provide adequate support. When they are being cranky, screaming and shouting, be patient and try new methods to distract them. I noticed that at times, parents feel embarrassed because of their kids’ behavior. And that adds more pressure on them. Parents should shamelessly ignore other passengers’ response because there is hardly parents can do to help their kids.
The above points are based on my personal experiences. And I am not saying that I travel effortlessly but our problems have come down significantly.
Try above and share your experiences.