Today I would like to talk about travelling with kids. I am by far no expert, but I do make regular train rides with my two alone back and forth to Germany and we have also been on the plane a few times with our children. As travelling can (but does not have to) be the most stressful thing, I would like to give some advice to parents who do not travel regularly.
THE BEST PLACE IS ALWAYS AT THE (MILK-) BAR
So when you travel with smaller babies (and it does even work for the older ones) put in your bag an extra portion of milk bottles, because they generally love their milk and when they get nervous it helps to calm them down. If you are breastfeeding this is the easiest thing as once your child becomes a bit nervous or tired, just breastfeed.
Do not worry about whether or not it is the regular time to drink milk. It is one exception, which will not change the habits of the child. Travelling is very exciting for the kids as well and is not part of your daily routines in the first place, so why not shake up the routines a bit more and include a yummy milk bottle? I am a fan to make things as smooth and easy as possible, because there are always people in the train that give you mean looks even though your kid might just be playing nicely and happens to make some noise while doing so.
So while there will almost always be some negative outside factors, just create a positive experience for your child and yourself. Also it gives you Mamas 5-10 mins of peace & relaxation time, which will help you keep going for the next few hours.
For those of you, who will be taking the plane this summer: make your child also drink during take-off and landing as it is important to regulate the ear pressure.
Do not forget to pack your lunches, dinners and snacks for inbetween. Again here I would pack things that are a bit exciting for your children. Maybe some grapes and fruits in a tupperware as dessert can work well. Take notice, that most airlines allow you to take water bottles and purees for your babies. I pack always several milk & water bottles, fruit compotes, purees etc and they always let me take everything through. They will test it for explosives, but they normally let you take everything, but check before on their websites. When travelling on the train, you can maybe add some excitement by walking with your older children to the bistro wagon and it takes up again quite a few minutes.
I would also pack as a last resort, when the going gets rough some candy (or something equivalent, that your children love). I would hide them well and yay if you do not need them, but in case the other people stress you a lot with their looks and comments and your child starts screaming again and you are about to start crying GET OUT THE CANDY. Again this is not an everyday occurrence and why try to be the hero, when life can be a bit easier.
ENTERTAINMENT IS THE KEY
Pack a looooooooooot of toys and it’s a good idea to pack toys that your child has not seen in awhile before the trip, so that the trip is extra exciting for your child. Pack 2-3 crayons and a piece of paper. They literally do not take up any space in your bag and can as well be a little distraction for a few minutes.
PACK A BABY-CARRIER
For children, that are up to 15 months (maybe even older, that depends I guess on your child) I always found it a good idea to pack the baby carrier, as it allows you to go on safer walks in the train (and plane). Your child can look around and you can again kill 20 min (lol), also this could be a way to make them fall asleep as well, which is generally a bit tricky on the train & planes.
PACK ENOUGH CHANGES
According to Murphy’s Law, the diarrhoea and general diaper leakages always happen when you are travelling. So pack a few more diapers that you normally would and also a change of clothes just in case. Also include a little extra cardigan as the ACs in the planes and trains are always a bit unpredictable.
MAMAS DO NOT DRINK TOO MUCH
If you are travelling alone in a train and your child cannot walk yet, going to pee is almost impossible. I tried it twice and if you do not want to leave your child with strangers, believe me it is pretty haaaaaard and during my attempts it included some crazy acrobatics. So obviously do not dehydrate ladies, but maybe don’t drink a litre of water before entering the train.
STAY COOL & PREPARE YOUR LITTLE ONES
Last tip is simply to stay cool. Yes it is very difficult sometimes, but every train ride or flight will be over at some point and you WILL MAKE IT THROUGH IT. I have a girlfriend who will be making a 12 hour flight alone with two small children this summer. Compare your trip to hers and try to stay ZEN #lol.
Keep in mind the end of the trip and keep interchanging between activities and snack times. Also which is important, talk about the upcoming trip with your children. They understand more than we think & preparing a toddler about a big upcoming event can prevent you from some extra tantrums (check out my How to Survive the Terrible Twos Post).
For some trips, it can as well be very interesting to check out the BedBox from Jetkids. I will be testing it this summer and am already excited to tell you all about it.
Good luck Ladies and enjoy your holidays
Kind greetings from Paris