This is a collaborative post with Tots to Travel
When I first heard the news that our family would be flying long haul to Australia, my heart sunk. The thought of travelling with an 18 month old toddler terrified me – a feeling that made me feel ever so slightly sick until the plane left Gatwick a few weeks ago. However, I needn’t have been so worried…all our flights went well and with minimum fuss. So I’m here to tell you that flying with a toddler is possible but there are a few things you can do to make your life that tiny bit easier along the way!
Consider buying your toddler a seat
This was a last minute decision on our part, but the best one we made for the trip. Our daughter had her own seat, so we were able to fit an FAA approved car seat and she was much more at ease and comfortable. I couldn’t recommend this enough, and a big improvement on a previous short flight we took, when she was on our lap. On less busy flights, it may also be possible to use empty seats so the little one has their own space to relax and can even sleep lying down.
Bring a stroller or sling to use while you board the plane
As my first time travelling long haul with my daughter, I hadn’t taken into account the time you are often standing and waiting. Especially when flights get busy, you can be waiting in queues for 10-15 minutes before you can be seated, not to mention the long walk to the gate to board the plane. Our stroller could be stored in the overhead luggage compartment, which was ideal as I could use it until the very last moment. It also helped to keep my daughter calm, as she is very independent and often doesn’t like to be held for long periods of time.
A bottle or dummy for take off or landing will save the day
We took 4 flights in total on our trip and by the last flight, our daughter was completely at ease with take off and landing. However, having a bottle of milk or a dummy to hand, was such a life saver. It meant that she could cope with the odd feeling of her ears popping and helped her forget about it for a little while. I was also really grateful that the cabin crew were so helpful at providing us milk throughout the flight.
Remember to bring entertainment!
On our first flight, I took everything with us bar the kitchen sink but quickly realised that we didn’t need to bring so many things. However, it’s always good to bring a few books, cuddly toys and little toys such as figurines to play with. Often our daughter didn’t want these toys as the novelty of watching the onboard TV and films was at an all time high – but it was a peace of mind to have them to hand.
An overnight stop-over to break up the long journey
It depends on your own circumstances, but an overnight stop-over can be a great thing for toddlers. It breaks up the travel and makes it a little more manageable, as well as helping with the jet lag when you arrive. For us, a 7-8 hour flight went well but getting back onto the plane after a short space of time was a little more difficult.
We thoroughly enjoyed our family holiday and found it was the little things that made it a bit easier for toddlers to travel. What seemed like a huge mountain to climb, turned out to be easier than we had ever imagined. Happy holidaying with your families too!
For more information on baby and toddler friendly holidays, as well as lots of travel advice, visit Tots to Travel‘s website.