One of many parent’s biggest fears is travelling with children. I personally think the younger and less mobile they are, the easier it is. Once they are able to crawl or walk, it takes a lot to keep them in their seats. Earlier this year in May I flew from Taipei to London via Hong Kong with my very active almost 15 month old. Sounds like a real task doesn’t it? But with a little planning ahead, it’s totally manageable. Here are some tips and some of the things I did travelling with my son from Taipei to London via Hong Kong. Door to door it was an almost 22 hour journey.
1. Schedule your flights so that the time difference works in your favour and around your child’s sleep schedule.
When travelling alone I used to take the red eye from Hong Kong to London. This was great because I slept for most of the flight and it felt like I went to bed in Hong Kong and woke up in London (the flight would get in at 5:45am GMT). Doing this with my son would have meant that he’d sleep for the first 7hrs of the 12 hour journey and be awake for the last 5 (when everyone else was sleeping.) No way! So instead we took the 14:40 flight. It meant then he was awake for the first 5 hours and then went to bed at 19:30 (when he usually does) and slept for the rest of the flight.
2. Extra sets of clothes
Despite your child being generally neat and tidy, wears a bib when eating and hates sticky fingers, you ALWAYS need an extra set of clothes. I took an extra bodysuit, pants, t-shirt, sweater and a pair of pyjamas. Oh and lots of nappies!
3. Extra pacifiers
If your baby needs one to sleep, you got to have more than one on board. There are so many ways to lose a pacifier and the last thing you want is a screaming baby on a plane.
4. Enough milk and a little extra
I’m so glad I took extra milk. My son started teething on the flight and wouldn’t eat much. He ended up waking up in the middle of the night wanting an extra bottle. I was so glad for the extra nappies as well, he needed six changes. Teething nappies aren’t fun for anyone!!
5. Enough food and a little extra
Heaven forbid your flight is delayed or has to land elsewhere or doesn’t take off from your transit port, you always want to have enough food for baby.
6. An extra set of clothes for yourself
So you may think, well what could happen to my clothes? An old colleague told me how she was once flying from London to Spain to meet her in laws with her 18 month old who threw up on her. She didn’t have an extra pair of clothes except a string top in her bag. She ended up having to walk off the plane to be greeted by her in laws wearing a string top and hot pants….cringe!!
7. Calpol or Nurofen satchets
Unfortunately I didn’t have any and my son started teething on the flight and developed a slight fever. Luckily they had some on board and I gave it to him just before landing.
8. A loaded IPad
I try to limit my son’s time on the Ipad for many reasons but on such a long journey I think anyone would be forgiven for relying on their Ipad and all the apps and games available these days. Guaranteed to keep them occupied for at least 45 minutes.
I packed a mini backpack of toys he had never seen and 2-3 ones he usually played with. By introducing them slowly throughout his awake time, he always had something new to play with.
10. Something familiar for your baby
This could be a blanket, a soft toy, a comforter. My son is not really attached to anything but he has a bunny soft toy I place beside him wherever he sleeps. I took this on the flight. To me it sort of denotes his sleeping area. It could be in a cot, on a bed, on a mattress, in a bassinet. Wherever we have travelled.