By: Kurly de Guzman
Very soon, the house will be filled with noise again as kids will soon have their semestral break. You might have your vacation already booked, but wait, it’s your toddler’s first ever plane ride. It’s now beginning to sink in and you try to anticipate what to expect and what to do. Whether you have a few weeks or days left before your trip, here are some tried and tested tips for toddler air travel.
Choose your flight schedule wisely. It may be a good idea to choose a flight schedule that coincides with your child’s regular nap or bedtime. That way, he would be sleeping most of the time.
Request for a bassinet if applicable. My little one is on the lighter side so even when he was already a year old, we were still able to use a bassinet. Now, what are the benefits of requesting a bassinet? First, you can let your little one down to sleep. Doing so will be more comfortable for you both. Second, you can get a bigger leg room because you’ve got front row seats! NOTE: Some airlines will gladly accommodate you and your companion (i.e. hubby) in the front seats, while some will only allow one guardian and you have to pay extra for your companion (as this is considered a premium seat). And oh, call them early because there might be other babies in flight who would need one too.
Ask about the food. In our first international flight, I requested for baby food for my then 13-month old son. I was surprised when we were given 3 bottles of baby food. That time though, my son already eats real/table food. I just shared my food with him and on our flight back, I requested for a “post-weaning meal.” I thought I hit jackpot, but then when the food was served, I knew I was sharing my meal again! Apparently, the post-weaning meal consists of mashed fresh food like broccoli, chicken, and carrots. So don’t make the same mistake… Ask the airline!
Bring toys and other things that would keep him busy. I read somewhere that you should bring something that’s new to him. So yeah, I bought new small toys (doesn’t have to be expensive) to bring, as well as some activity books (be careful with the stickers, he might stick it to the airplane windows like what my son did! LOL). If you’re okay with letting him use gadgets (i.e. tablets or smartphones), also consider installing new games that don’t require Internet connection.
Have a travel quick card. On a sheet of paper, print or write down ALL the important details you need. I did this on our 2nd trip when I was traveling alone with the little one. I realized that during my first trip, I had to pull out both of our passports every time I need to fill out forms. So the next time we traveled, I prepared a sheet that had all the pertinent information needed for the trip – passport details, itinerary, hotel address, flight details, visa details, etc. This way, every time I need to fill out forms, I just need to grab that piece of paper or card.
Ask your pediatrician for a prescription of all first aid medicines you’ll need. And of course, buy and bring those. In certain countries, certain medicines might not be readily available or bought without a local doctor’s prescription.
Get travel insurance. Some countries require this when getting a visa, while most others don’t. Whether it is required or not, travel insurance is a small investment compared to all the trouble and hassle you might get into if something happens.
Babywear! You’d want to have your hands free to pull your baggage, push the cart, write stuff, do last minute shopping, and more. You need to take this off though when you go through the scanners. And oh, speaking of baggage, get one that has four wheels so it’s easier to push, pull, and maneuver.
Bring your essentials in your carry-on bag. When it was just me and my 14-month old boy, I had two bags as my carry-on. One was my own cross-body bag where I had my personal stuff, travel documents, a small sippy cup, a couple of diapers, travel-sized toiletries (wet wipes, alcohol, diaper cream, etc), a ballpen (super important), first aid medicines, and toddler snacks. In my other bigger carry-on bag (stroller type), I brought extra sets of clothes for me and the little one (because when your baby has booboos, mommy’s clothes might get messed up too!), blanket (there was a time when the airline didn’t have clean blankets to provide), more diapers, a bigger pack of wipes, and a bag of stuff for the plane. This bag of stuff had all the stuff we might need during the flight because the stroller bag was stowed in the overhead compartment. In this bag were toys, some toiletries, and snacks.
Let your baby/toddler play while waiting for boarding. This way he uses up his energy and will hopefully be sleepy when on the plane.
Talk to your little one. IT WORKS!!!! You can simply say “<name>, we’ll be riding the airplane tomorrow, okay? Daddy will not be with us so please behave and help mommy.” Also, introduce your baby/toddler to airplanes and traveling so he’ll know what to expect. If your child is old enough, involve him also in preparing the itinerary. Show him photos of the places you plan to visit.
And lastly, RELAX and PRAY! Don’t worry what other people might think. Let babies be babies! Also, you’ll be surprised that people are extra kind and helpful when they see you alone with your kid.
Enjoy your trip! Take photos but don’t forget to enjoy the present moment!
This article was originally published here.
Kurly de Guzman is a life coach and CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of KurlyConnects. She is a hands-on mom to an energetic boy and a furbaby. She believes that parents ought not just to teach and preach, but to demonstrate, encourage and inspire.