Both my boys were born abroad in sunny Antalya. My parents retired to Antalya, I wanted to give birth near my parents for the added comfort and company, so it was the best decision all round.
Both were 2 months old when we first flew with them. The flight was 4 hours long but travelling with kids in general can be daunting enough, when they are so tiny it can be nerve wrecking to say the least. Just the planning involved to fly with a newborn is a trip in itself. But we did it, it was fine, so can you.
Now my boys are older, 4 and 7 to be precise, we still fly at least three round trips a year, visiting our loved ones in Istanbul and Antalya. There is still an element of planning involved, but my carry on bag is definately getting lighter and less bulky as they get older.
What I’ve done, is broken down the flight necessities by age. Of course every child is different, some children require more some require less, so these recommendations are based purely on my experiences travelling by plane with two kids up until now.
I hope you can gain a few handy titbits to help the jouney run more smoothly!
Babies are in my opinion the easiest ‘little ones’ to travel with. Especially if you only have one to deal with. However if it is your first child there is the added stress of being a first time mother on a plane, which is totally normal. We have all been there. They normally sleep with the lulling sound of the engine. However my second son had colic so spent the entire journey screaming, every child is different. I haven’t had any mean remarks from other passengers up to now, but I have a handy reply at the ready to any grumpy people, that my mother (also an experienced traveller with young kids) taught me, “Just ask them if they were ever babies?”
Here is my round up of Travel Essentials on board a plane –
– nappies/wipes – keep lots handy.
– dummies – take extras, planes can be dirty places, if one drops on the floor.
– Change of clothes – for baby & a few tops for yourself incase of accidents
– Snacks – keep little bags of nuts, dried fruits, oat cookies at hand to nibble on. Its impossible to balance a plane meal tray and a baby on your lap at the same time.
– Blanket- Never rely on the airline for blankets, take your own.
– Milk- if you are breastfeeding this part is easy. But if you have to prepare a bottle I’ve found the airlines to be very helpful in providing warm water. As you may know only 100ml of liquids are allowed through security at airports. If you are carrying on pre boiled water or mixed formula, the security people will llow it through as long as you taste it infront of them.
– Kids in this age range are a bit more mobile so be prepared to be running around the airline at some point. Either bouncing your little one on your hip or chasing your toddler up and down the corridors. If you are traveling alone make sure you have your valuables in a small rucksack or across body bag so you can carry them with you as you are walking around the aircraft. Essentials-
– Nappies / Wipes / Dummies – reasons as before
– Snacks – finger foods and pouches filled with yummy purées which you can take on board with you. Don’t forget to pack a little spoon!
– Toys / Board books- don’t go crazy here, 1-2 favourites are enough otherwise they just get lost on board.
– Nappies – Most kids are potty trained around this age but believe me there will always be the chance that your little one will fall asleep. Just put on a pull up nappy pre flight to prevent any wet pants and seats.
– Change of clothes – theres bound to be the odd spill or accident.
– Sticker books- These books are a godsend! They will keep your toddler busy for ages.
– Colouring books – Not as popular with my boys as the sticker books, and crayons can break and get fiddly, so take along colouring pencils instead.
– Meals – My older son loves and has always enjoyed the on board meal. After the age of 4 years he has had what everyone else was given. I have tried the children’s meals on several airlines but have not found them to be so popular or all that healthy. I clearly remember one airline offered 2-3 chocolate bars amd a handful of sweets! My younger son absolutely refuses to eat the on board meals so instead what we do is grab a sandwich at Pret or make a packed lunch to bring on board. Everyone’s happy!
– Snacks – Don’t bring chocolate on board, all you end up with is messy fingers and faces. Not good in a small space. My favourite snacks are pretzels, yogurt coated raisins, dried fruit and nuts, dry cheerios, oat cookies. Anything in handy little packs for quick snacking. Fresh fruit – cut up apples, grapes. Bananas are another no no, very messy if squashed in your bag, unless you have one of those ‘banana boxes.’
– Sugar free chewing gun or sugar free lollies – to suck or chew to help with ear popping at take off and landing.
-Ipads – Essential for a little peace & quiet!
4 – 7 years –
– Change of clothes-accidents can still happen.
– Snacks – as before.
– Ipads & a book to read
As you can see the essentials list is much smaller as the child grows.
Its never easy, I remember going to the toilet in airplanes lots of times with both boys when they were little. Squeezing into the tiny cubicle, one jumping about, the other screaming on my lap, while I try to do my business! But thats life as a mother, you learn to get on with it.
Enjoy travelling with your little ones it can be fun!
Bon voyage! xxxx