Many of my friends have lauded me for being ‘brave’ enough to travel with a toddler. Now, obviously I had my personal selfish reasons to be ‘brave’ enough to undertake the trip, the chief one being fulfilling that wanderlust that had been kept at bay for a good 1-2 years during pregnancy and till she grew old enough to travel! And the fact that she didn’t require a ticket (atleast not till she turned 2) didn’t play any role in me not waiting for that trip to happen!
To all such moms with toddlers who may fear undertaking that long trip outside home, it is really not all that difficult! But yes, a lot of planning needs to be done to ensure that all goes well and the little one is at ease.
For starters, think about a few major things and how you need to tackle each one of them.
Inflight travel with a baby:
Before the flight
- Inform the airline that you will be travelling with a baby beforehand. They may provide you with the first row seats with more leg space and a bassinet for her to sleep in. Trust me, your flight will be much easier with that extra space during a long flight.
- Travel bag – Make sure you carry several diapers, wipes and a couple of changes in clothes. Dress her in some layers for flights can be cold.
- Entertainment Entertainment Entertainment! If you think if you require that during the flight, think about that restless toddler who needs it at all times in her waking hours! Those old toys are not going to be entertaining enough to keep her at her seat. And you can’t pack large toys either in your baggage. So, shop and pack several small treats that will keep her busy. Package them all so she spends time opening each one and getting surprised! Give her a new toy only when she gets bored of the old one! Some suggestions for toys to take on the flight are small cars, key chains in various shapes, small board books with pictures, small nesting toys, flash cards, colorful necklaces etc. If your kid is old enough, you could take a coloring book, puzzle book etc s well. You will ofcourse also be able to use some resources at hand such as the inflight magazines, the food tray table, the opening and shutting window shades, and hopefully co-passengers who will entertain your child!
- Food – Think about what you will be giving your kid to eat in flight. Carry a home cooked meal for atleast one meal. You can also carry cereal for which the flight attendant will be able to provide you hot water with incase she does not like the food served during the flight. Cheerios, cheese-links, pulpy fruits, and biscuits can be used to satiate hunger pangs during snack times as well. The key is to carry only food she likes!
During the flight
- It is a great idea to travel during her nap time so she sleeps through some of the flight atleast.
- Take-off and landing times can be challenging for kids and babies with changes in air pressure. Give them something to suck on or eat so they keep swallowing thereby causing less discomfort in their ears
- Entertain her through the flight. When she really gets bored of sitting, be prepared to walk up and down the aisles with her when they are not busy
Other modes of transport with a baby
I would recommend train travel to bus or travelling by car for long distances since a train accords more space to move around and is faster as compared to traveling by road. If you have to travel by bus be prepared to sit in cramped seats and face her tantrums or hope she falls asleep during the bus journey!
What are your experiences if you have traveled with a baby or toddler? Share them in your comments…
Continued in the next part here..