Travelling with Children overseas will be fun, they said. You get to watch the 'pure joy' on their face as they see the world they said. They will get to experience new foods they said. You don’t have to change your holidays just because you have had kids they said……
What they didn’t tell you was…. The pure joy you will experience when your pride and joy decides that they don’t feel like lunch anymore, and vomits it back up all over you at take-off at the start of a fourteen “sweet smelling” hour flight. There is no level of deodorant and wipes that can get rid of the smell.
What they didn’t tell you was “How fun it is” when the same beautiful child has a nappy incident, as I look to call it, fourteen hours later at landing, thanks to the extra water they drank through the flight, to starve off the dry mouth from the plane.
They didn’t tell you how “comfortable’ it is sitting with that gorgeous 22 month old on your lap for fourteen hours in economy, otherwise known as cattle class, whilst the person traveling without children in front of you reclines, leaving 2cm between Master 22 month old and the TV screen.
It doesn’t help you with the building jealousy you feel to the people around you (Yes I am talking about the Person in front who slept reclined, about 12 hours of the 14 hour flight), as they relax, watch movies, sleep, eat, go to the toilet in peace, whilst you juggle 4 children’s every need, want and desire.
What they also didn’t tell when booking at the travel agents, was the “child’s meals” are often not very parent friendly, imagine yoghurt at 10,000 feet and the mess, the carnage it brings.
Now I am not saying don’t travel, Don’t get me wrong, I am already planning our next overseas trip, and we have taken our kids on quite a few trips internationally and domestically just go into it with eyes wide open, really wide open. (Which they will stay as don’t expect to get any sleep in the flight either)
It’s just I think as Parents we need to know that travelling on aeroplanes internationally with children is very different than your pre children days. It is not as easy, it is not as relaxing, not as enjoyable, but still just as worth it.
MY TOP TIPS
Bring changes of Clothes for them but just as importantly for you.
My families favourite story is the previously mentioned story that involved one of my children, that decided to not only vomit on me then wet themselves whilst sitting on my lap on our flight from LA to Auckland, which ended up with me having to purchase a very expensive and impractical pair of merino wool trackies at our stopover CUE Bogan music please…. (That coincidently would have been about the same price as buying an extra seat) and a whole lot more comfortable.
Bring Food, heaps of food.
Children are fickle creatures, one day they will eat anything, the next day rice crackers and sultanas are considered a staple diet. We learnt on our first overseas trip with our four children, when our children’s meals didn’t arrive that travel is so much easier if your children have a steady piece of food in their mouth. We also learnt the hard way trying to keep children clean eating yoghurt in a confined space is never going to happen so it’s best to bring your own ‘clean’ lunch. When I say Clean, I don't mean healthy, nutritious, I mean realistically food that is not going to make a huge mess, because anyone with kids realise that they can turn a biscuit into a sloppy delightful mess not to mentions banana or any thing with any liquid content.
Bring Wipes, twice as many as you expect to use (It will still probably be half as much as you need)
Wipes are by far the best, most awesome baby item ever invented, I don’t know who invented them but I would love to shake their hand, buy them the most expensive bottle of wine I can and thank them for saving my sanity more times than I could count.
Wipes are perfect for almost everything, from cleaning hands, face, clothes, Sippy cups, trays, glasses, toys, really is there anything that they can’t clean. Also great for all toddler and baby free people on the plane to remove their makeup, (Because realistically you won’t be doing that as you will be lucky to even go to the toilet alone, but we can dream can’t we?
Don’t pack too much.
I know it seems contradictory to my last three bits of advice, but as a parent travelling with a toddler, you have to know at one stage you will be not only carting your luggage through a crowded airport, but also be carrying your child.
Now my children are great at walking through the airport, until we stopped at customs, suddenly like ‘magic’ their legs both stopped working. Imagine, 2 adults, 4 kids, one bag to many, both of us with a toddler on the hip trying to find passports, forms, all whilst I was wearing my itchy overpriced Merino wool trackies, trying to remember the joy that the travel blogs speak about when travelling with children.
Electronic devices will be your friend – but be prepared.
Do you normally have a time limit on technology, forget about it, for your sanity, for the sanity of the people around you. If they want to play on the iPad for 6 hours let them, yes they will be tired and cranky when they finish but guess what, they were going to be anyway.
But be prepared.
Bring a portable charger for your iPad, you can buy them from most electronic places, and means that they can play the iPad off and on through the whole flight.
Also bring your own headphones, unless you want to hear those magical words, “Help” 5327 times as the adult ones full off their heads again and again.
Remember the flight is just the means to the end and once you get there you will be giving them an experience so many others can only dream off.
What are your best travel tips with children?
Would you travel with children? Are you game enough?
If you interested in some of my other ideas about travelling internationally with children read more here
If you are interested in our trip to Disneyland (the fun part) read more here.