Halfway through the school hols is not the ideal time to write a blog on traveling with kids. However some of you may be fortunate enough to swoop up good deals outside of the holidays and it's always nice to hear that wanderlust doesn't have to stop after procreation. With family on opposite sides of the globe, we have traveled on 9 long haul flights to and from Australia with our little nippers. A bit battered but still here to tell the tale, I thought we'd give you a little insight into these bonkers adventures.
Plane travel is the least civilized way to travel with kids. After being confined to a germ box for numerous hours you may end up hating your children, partner and questioning all your life choices. When children are old enough to be plugged into games and movies, plane travel is so much easier. However you'll have to be an expert in fixing gadgets that have been pressed and frozen three million times. I'll put a list of survival tips below, but most importantly if you are traveling alone, you must tell the airline staff as they can provide amazing support. After 16 flight hours of breastfeeding/baby passed out at the boob bar, a sympathetic stewardess took my little one for a walk. This potentially saved me from a complete public meltdown or throwing myself out of the plane. The lovely staff will look after your kids when you need the loo and bring your food out at a different time so you can feed the nippers first and don't have to negotiate towers of trays on your lap.
Our family enjoys traveling on boats and trains. We can all move around and the journey is most definitely part of the adventure. Boats often have very questionable cabaret/clown acts which are always entertaining. Some even have cinemas and designated kids play areas. There is always the danger of a rough crossing. but the bonus of many travel sickness remedies is that they may make your child sleep all the way ! On trains, the buffet carriage is a highlight as is the fantastic treats trolley. Board games can be spread out and dare devils will enjoy crossing the wobbly bits between carriages.
We've always felt that the benefits of exploring new places and seeing loved ones far outweighs the challenges of family travel, even if we are hissing at each other and the kids learn some more bad words along the way.
Top Tips for Long Flights with Small People
1. Loo always just before boarding.
2. Games/Toys that won't end up immediately under seat (stickers, etch-a-sketch things with pens attached)
3. Change of top for yourself if you are feeding a baby on your lap.
4. Buy large kids headphones that will fit the tv jack. Also be prepared to bolster them up on cushions so that they can see the screen.
5. Millions of snacks.
6. Valium .......