{Guest Post} Aeroplane Travel with Toddlers – Top 10 Tips

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Bon Voyage! I’m off on holidays and I’ve invited the lovely Victoria from 2 Plus 1 to write a guest post for you while I’m gone. I asked her to give me some tips on travelling with toddlers before our journey. Here is the wisdom that she has to share.

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We’ve recently embarked on a couple of long flights to get from the UK to Australia and along with 8 huge pieces of luggage (we have emigrated here so had double the usual amount allowed), a toddler and a head full of worries and stresses we finally made it. We departed our homes in England and it was a 2 hour minibus taxi journey to London Heathrow, from there it was around a 14 hour flight to Singapore where we stayed for a few nights. I think it was around 8 hours for the flight from Singapore to Adelaide and at the time our little toddler was 2 years and 5 days old. I’ll share with you some of my own hints and tips that helped along the way.

Top 10 Tips for Aeroplane Travel with Toddlers

1. Have no expectations at all. Our little girl has always been a very wakeful soul during the twilight hours, despite numerous trips to doctors, sleep specialists, craniologists, health visitors etc. she has always been a bit of a problematic sleeping so this worried me a lot. I had read a lot of articles online and a lot of people seemed to say that their children/babies/toddlers slept as the plane has a similar motion to a car which was comforting to them but this was not the case for us. I think if she had been in her car seat it may have helped though she had her own seat and was not sleeping at all (she fought sleep for 19 hours straight). I had really hoped that as we were on a night flight I would put her in her sleep suit and she might nod off but she didn’t. Next time we get on a plane I won’t even expect her to sleep at all and then if she does it is a bonus.

2. Wrap up tiny little ‘gifts’ for entertainment along the way – I found the best toys for her age were small figures where a lot of imaginative role play could take place (pretending to ‘chat’ to the child, jumping along the chair arm, going to sleep tucked in with a tissue ‘blanket’, having a drink etc). Other toys we used were sticker books, (cannot rate those highly enough), colouring in, mini etch-a-sketch toys, mini books and puzzles, a small dolly, a small car etc.

3. Pack healthy snack food. The excitement, jet-lag and new surroundings put my daughter off of her food so we brought along a big selection of things for her to nibble on along the way, we brought along fruit pouches (these are great for keeping little ones hydrated on long flights too), raisins, crackers, oat bars, rice cakes etc.

4. Make it fun. If you are a nervous flyer try not to let it show to your little one or they will pick up on your feelings too, luckily I’m a bit of a child still and still get excited each time the plane takes off and lands but explaining the whole process and looking out at the clouds, spotting the aeroplanes from the airport all help it become a nice and fun place to be for your little one and if they feel settled and comforted they are more likely to sleep!

5. Buy a new/novelty drinks container. The novelty of a new drinking device for little ones usually helps encourage them to keep hydrated on a long flight.

6. Other passengers will avoid you like the plague. I, for sure, most definitely, if the choice was available would have sat as far away as possible from any child on a plane. Both of our flights happened to be jam-packed and the lady in front of us kept turning around to ask us to ‘quieten down our child’ and passed us hot flannels to make her quiet (?!) She wasn’t being particularly noisy, just chatting and playing and the odd moan – like any other toddler but it certainly added to the stress levels knowing that the person in front was immensely irritated by us. Let this type of thing just pass you by without annoying you – as after all, you probably want your child to settle off more than anybody else on the plane, and you’re very unlikely to ever see said person again either.

7. Take it in shifts. If you’re travelling with someone take it in turns to ‘watch’ your little one along the way and keep your child entertained, you probably won’t be able to sleep if you know your little one is wide awake right next to you but you will be able to just close your eyes and rest your mind slightly for a little, plus dealing with 30 minute ‘shifts’ helps a long flight be more manageable.

8. Portable DVD players. Oh how I wish we had bought one – I thought that as we had a separate seat for our 2-year-old she may watch TV but the angle of the TV was too high and she just could not see the screen at all (and due to a lot of turbulence we were unable to have her on our laps for long) – I’m pretty sure a portable DVD player would have been the best purchase we could have brought along with us and will be getting one for sure next time we go on a long journey on an aeroplane.

9. iPhones and iPads. If you’re lucky enough to own one there are tons of amazing free apps on these devices available for toddlers, babies and children, I downloaded a few and before getting on the plane my little one was very rarely allowed to touch my iphone though it was the best thing we brought along. Being able to charge it on the plane was an added bonus as we could still use it if needed once we landed.

10. Patience and a positive mind. Bring as much of this with you as possible, turn each little hurdle into and adventure, make it an amazing and exciting trip that your child will remember and buy books in preparation that explain about going on a plane and what happens (I highly recommend the Usbourne ‘Going on a Plane’ book.

I hope those tips have been a little help. Always remember if your little one is resisting everything and not a happy bunny it is a time that will pass, it may not feel like it at the time but it will, each second is a step nearer to getting to your destination, and you will most probably be more lucky than us and have a sleeping child like the majority seem to have on flights (we went for a lot of walks around the plane and every other child slept a lot of the journey – we looked on with much jealousy!)

{Hello. My name is Victoria and
I’m a thirty-something wife to Steve, a mother to Tabitha.

I love eating sushi, drinking coffee, finding thrift-store goodies,
sewing, knitting, gardening, baking and being a Mummy.

I’d love to see you over at my blog sometime}

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3 Comments

  1. Great tips. My sister and her little family are flying to Aus from the UK to visit early next year so I’ll pass this on to her.
    Catherine Rodie Blagg (Cup of Tea and a Blog) recently posted..My week in pictures #2My Profile

    • Good luck to your sister, thank goodness there are so many different ways to keep children entertained these days. That’s going to be one long flight!

  2. Pingback: aeroplane travel with a toddler «

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