Well, it is now less than a month until I board the plane together with my three gorgeous ones – all alone all the way to Norway. Because of that, I am writing a few posts about travelling with little ones – let’s call it my educated guess on how to get it done as easy as possible. Once we have arrived safe and sound, I will go back and evaluate the points here and see how it actually went. But these are my advice anyway – on how to best prepare them and what to do before the actual flight:
- Let them pack their own bag. My kids love it when they get to pack their own belongings for simple getaways as well as larger ones. They are bringing a small backpack each with a few things, and they will be so proud. Hopefully they will be small enough so they won’t have to put them upstairs in the storage as well.
- Talk about it. Oh, man, do we talk about it! Sophia, obviously, does not necessarily understand that we will be flying for hours on end, but Melodie and I talk about it on a daily basis, so hopefully by the time we are there, the nagging may be limited:).
- Print documents. Make sure you have copies of EVERYTHING. Passports, birth certificates (they sometimes from upon single people travelling with kids…) as well as travel documents. And know where they are! There’s nothing worse than having everything sorted, kids content – aaand we’re stuck here looking for a silly piece of paper.
- Don’t cry when you say goodbye. One thing I have learnt as a mother for five years, is that my reaction to things is alfa and omega when it comes to how the kids will react. If I manage to stay calm and collected when saying goodbye to Simon at the airport, I will be able to comfort them in case they cry, instead of being busy wiping my own tears. If they don’t know that it is sad, they may not get upset. So stay strong!
- Visit the airport. If you live close enough, and if you haven’t been to the airport before, a visit there, with the kids, could be a good idea. Talk to them about what will happen, where you will be going, show them the gates and find out where the toilets (and the ones with nappy change facilities) are.
- Go to the toilet. Make sure the last thing you do before you are boarding the plane is have everyone going to the toilet/put a fresh nappy on. We all know that if a child has to go – they have to go! And it does take a while before they are allowed to.
- Take advantage of priority boarding. Every time I have flown with a small child, I have been asked if I wanted to board before the rest of the passengers. It may be tempting to say no, as it means less time on board, but do it. The kids get more time to familiarise themselves, you will have some more room and time to organise your stuff and the things they need to your liking. Oh, and the extra toilet trip they probably will need.
- Arrive early. Because little kids are just that – little kids – they do not understand urgency the way us adults do. We may be able to walk quickly from security to the gate and board quick and easy, but kids look and feel and hear and pick and eat and drink and all sorts of things, so a walk to the gate may take an hour, where it normally would take ten minutes. Remember it is an exciting time for them, so taking your time and talking about it all is good for their whole experience.
- Security check. The dreaded line of waiting for someone to look through your bag and be screened for illegal-ness. I hate it – the children will be the same. Keep everything you need to show, like liquids, at the top of your bags, and together. It is much better than having to open up all your bags. If you are travelling with an infant, like I am, you may be asked to taste their formula bottles. Be prepared. I will have Simon with me in Adelaide, so that will be no issue, but might have to do it again in Dubai, and I am expecting a sweat.
- Don’t stress. As above –every feeling you have, the kids will feel it! Smile, be happy, take photos, relax. Just remember that there is an end to it on the other side. Only a few hours left!
- Book early flight. You know your own children best, of course, so you’d know how their routine is. If you can book it so it goes together with their nap time, brilliant. It may be good for you. If not, try to change their routine up a little so it fits in with the flight.
- Make sure they are full. In-flight, you may not get to eat for a long while, and kids need to eat NOW. If you can delay that by having them eating something before you board, it may help.
This is all I could think of – and we will see how I go! Remember, all children are different, and you know what your own child needs in terms of preparation, but these may help in deciding what is important.