Planning a holiday with your baby or tribe of little ones? Or needing to travel because of work or family commitments?
Congratulations and good luck!
But seriously, every parent knows that whether you are travelling by car, train or plane; for 1 hour or 24 hours, that the planning and attention to detail that you must put into its success is pretty much second to none.
And with good reason: holidays are precious time when you are a family and it’s not surprising that you want everything to go smoothly.
Here’s the thing: I’m a veteran of many, many hours of travel, including international, long haul plane trips.
I’ve made my mistakes, but I’ve quickly learnt the easiest ways to ensure your journey goes smoothly for yourself and your baby.
You want the lowdown? Here it is!
This list is by no means definitive, but these are the biggest lessons I learnt whilst jetting my small children between two countries.
Read on and I hope it helps you to enjoy your family plane trip!
The first time I went overseas I didn’t think twice about taking my Phil & Teds jogger with me - I used it all the time at home, so I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to do without it in Japan when we were out and about.
And I was right. Kind of.
It was fabulous for sightseeing in open areas, but for everyday getting around it quickly drove me mad. Getting up and down stairs was a nightmare (and there were A LOT of those!), it was too bulky on crowded trains (our fellow commuters were NOT impressed!) and when we returned home the frame was bent in transit, leaving me with a pram that constantly veered to the left.
Our trip was wonderful, but that bit wasn’t.
And while you can check in your pram, you won’t be able to access it in transit and you do run the risk of it not meeting you at the other end. Totally inconvenient.
If you really want to take a pram, opt for a simple, light and compact stroller. It may not be the height of luxury your baby is used to, but most seem to settle into a stroller easily once they are in it.
It will be much easier to get around and won’t break your heart if it gets banged up in transit.
Do allocate space in your carry-on luggage for food. Please. You’ll thank me later.
The simple fact is that you can’t rely on being able to access food your baby enjoys and is familiar with whenever you need to.
There may be delays to boarding the plane, leaving you with just airport food court options (and when they are shut… well, that’s bad).
Appropriate food may not be available when your baby’s routine requires it.
Airline meals may be served whilst your child is sleeping.
Familiar food may be just what they need for comfort in an unfamiliar environment.
Carrying your own food makes you the master of your own destiny: baby needs food *fish it out of your bag* here it is!
No crying baby and everyone remains relaxed and calm.
That’s the theory anyway. (My personal experience says that this theory runs true!)
Bonus tip: baby food pouches are so easy to heat up in a container of hot water. These are highly recommended for plane travel!
Planning a plane trip with your baby and don’t have a baby carrier?
Buy, beg or borrow one, but don’t get on that plane without one.
Ever been on a flight with a baby who just won’t sleep? Yep, we’ve all been there, silently commiserating with the parents who are doing their darnedest to get their child to doze but it just isn’t happening.
That doesn’t have to be you.
On plane flights, the reduced oxygen, lack of routine and busy, light-filled cabin mean that rocking your baby to sleep is usually the only option.
Being able to pop your tired bubba into a carrier and moving to a quiet area of the plane (usually the back or near a bulkhead) gives you more control over soothing your child and keeping your own emotions level.
Often just being held close and away from distractions will be all your child needs to drift off .
And it means you can get some precious sleep too.
Trains and cars tend to have a soothing, ambient motion and sound, which lulls little ones to sleep easily.
But movement in a plane is a little different. Often it is only possible in extreme turbulence, and no one wishes for that!
And distracting noises in the airport lounge or cabin can make it difficult for your little one to tune out in an already unfamiliar environment.
A compact, portable white noise machine available on the Snotty Noses website will be your best friend, as it can be placed close to your little one, to help block out those distracting noises on the journey.
Everyone needs a little entertainment on a long flight - watching someone snore across the aisle from you will only cut it for a short time. Our babies are no different and a few of their favourite small books will be golden to have with you to pass the time.
Toys are a tricky one though: you don’t want to be taking the noisy ones with you (that will just make you incredibly unpopular with your fellow travellers!) and the risk of losing them on the floor of the plane is high.
A plane’s work is never done and as soon as passengers have disembarked it is refuelled, cleaned, catered and off it goes into the sky again. There is little time for parents to be on their hands and knees looking for a lost favourite toy!
And in this modern world, too much I-pad time can leave your little ones overstimulated yet exhausted from excess blue-light stimulation.
Cozi Go is the genius Aussie invention that doubles as an airline bassinet cover and pram sun shade. The universal fit and multi-purpose design means it fits any cot, pram and all strollers. Your baby will find it easier to get to sleep quicker, and be less distrubed by light and noise. And that can increase nap time by up to 400% - winning. Your baby will be able to breathe easy and is less likely to overheat And your fellow travelers will love you for that!!
Attachables and Chewables
Toys can easily be flung onto the floor and once it's been on a plane or airport floor, who wants their babe sucking on that?
The solution? Attachable, chewable toys can do double or triple duty. Our friends at Cheeky Chompers are experts in travel toys.
Neckerchews are your baby’s bib and teether, all in one and they won’t get dropped and lost.
Comfortchews are a teether, toy, comforter and teddy, and they can also be slipped over you child’s hand for security.
And the bonus? They’ll look so calm and stylish when they disembark, they’ll look like an old hand at this travelling game.
And finally....hand sanitizer, baby wipes and other necessities!
An oldie but a goodie. And something every traveller needs, not just those with little ones.
Make sure to pack enough wipes, nappies, nappy sacks, organic hand sanitizer, lip balm, water bottle, and a spare shirt for you and bub (just in case).
So there you have it. I hope these tips have helped you prepare for your journey.
And you’ll be confident to travel more and more with your baby, creating wonderful family memories and experiences for years to come.
Good luck and travel safely!