Traveling Overseas with Little Kids
We just returned from a trip to Australia to see family and friends. I loved the vocabulary (nappies are diapers, chips are fries, biscuits are cookies), the public transportation system, the seriously amazing play grounds, the family toilets, mothers nursing freely in public, visiting with family and catching up with friends. Traveling with little ones is always a challenge though, whether you have one or three. Here are a few ideas that worked for us and a couple that didn’t.
Buy a Trunki! I cannot be happier with our Trunki experience! It’s not a huge U.S. thing (at least in my experience), but they are all over Australia, Asia and Europe! It made a huge difference. We have children ages one, five and six. All three of them loved having their own Trunki. I was able to pack each child with special age and interest appropriate items. They were able to pull, push and ride it through the airport with little effort and redirection. If you have a little one and are going on a long trip … a Trunki is worth the investment!
Wrap presents – I don’t like wrapping paper very much because it seems wasteful to me and it also creates a bunch of trash on the flight, so I opted for paper towels. It still made each item a great surprise and the paper towels were useful when we had that inevitable spill (and also for cleaning up turbulent-descent-induced-vomit, which our child handled like a champ –aiming quite well into the barf bag provided).
Take favorite toys. Collect anything that is compact and isn’t a daily love and hide it for a week or two before your trip. It’s exciting to get back on the flight and have on your adventure. Don’t forget to pack your child’s go-to security blanket (or other item).
Each of us (parent) carried a backpack. One backpack had snacks (Cheerios, suckers, raisins, goldfish, fruit leather, an empty sippy cup … go-to treats for the kids) The other backpack had medication and toiletries (diapers, wipes, inhaler, aspirin, medication, deodorant, toothbrushes and our laptop.) I also packed extra zip lock bags. If you have a kid in diapers or packed snacks like chips or crackers, they are convenient to have for overflow or in the case of a stinky diaper.
Change of clothes (in a large zip lock bag). Let your kids be cozy…think pj’s. If you have to change your kids clothing it is probably because something spilled or there was an accident, so putting the clean change in a large zip lock gives you something to put the dirty items in when/if the time comes.
Fleece headphone’s, they double as head bands, they are soft, they are earphones, they are cozy. The speakers are adjustable. I ordered adaptors in case the flight didn’t have the correct jack/connection. Our outbound flight could accommodate a normal jack. The return flight required the adaptors.
If you think you can handle public transportation, than forgo the car seats!! In our case we would have needed three. If you are going to a large city, public transport and walking is probably an option.
Pack as little as possible. It makes it easier to get around and chase kids when you don’t have a bunch of stuff. I packed four outfits for each of us and did laundry there.
Travel ID bands. We have three kids, there are only two of us and a lot of luggage and airport time. Shit happens … label your kids. No one has access to the identifying information on the band unless it’s cut off or removed and flipped over. It has space for contact, medication, and flight info.
When you get home – have a date with your spouse (pre-scheduled). Whether the trip is a screaming success or an utter failure, a prearranged date with your partner is a good idea to regroup and reconnect after the relaxing, stressful, action packed adventure you just had with your kids!
What didn’t work so well:
- Apparently TSA considers Play-doh a liquid (who knew?)! Our TSA supervisor (after careful inspection) let us keep our play-doh, but we were told this might not be the case every time – moral of the story… treat it like a liquid and buy the mini containers.
- Child safe plane seatbelt work on domestic flights well but are not realistic on international flights. Generally the child safe seatbelt works really well when we travel domestically. It encourages little ones to stay in their seat and makes them feel more contained (like they are used to feeling in a car seat). The new international planes are more technologically advanced. They have charge pads, remotes, tray tables and all kinds of stuff that don’t allow space for the Child safe seatbelt. Our return flight had room, but our outbound could not accommodate the straps.
Hope these tips help!