What were you all thinking?!
I had to do a long haul flight with four children under the age of six recently (do not even ask!) and, being the perfectionist that I am, I thought I would go ahead and do the sensible thing – prepare by doing my research and find out great tips for travelling with children.
I love the internet. No matter how random the question I type into the search engine, someone else has already been daft enough to think of it and there are answers out there just waiting to be found!
Anyhow, I duly got my list together and, feeling suitably informed, set off on my great adventure.
And now, for your reading pleasure, I bring you tips versus reality.
Tip 1: Be aware that you are likely to lose something and do not panic when that happens
This tip does not really apply when the “thing” you have lost is your four year old son and you are in the middle of a busy terminal. When that happens, by all means, panic! Especially when you have four others to keep from losing when you are searching for the lost “thing”!
Tip 2: If you are travelling with a partner, book seats away from each other to allow you to take turns to rest
What they fail to mention is that if you are in Seat 9C and your partner is in 24A then you will not be able to leave the children unattended long enough to do a shift change. This is when you find out that there is actually no cell network at thirty five thousand feet......
Tip 3: When choosing your travel attire, opt for comfort and not style
I am so glad I did not have to pay for this advice...who does style with toddlers in any circumstances? Duh!!
Tip 4: Take an extra large bag with change of clothes, toys, snacks and diapers
Do not forget to pack your extra set of hands and instant nanny in there too. With a toddler in each hand, space is at a premium for extra bags.
Tip 5: Try and stick to your child’s normal routine
Seriously, who writes these things? Middle of the night check-ins, three hour delays and 14 hours in a confined space cannot be translated to normal in any way, shape or form! Disruption is the order of the day and crankiness (mine, not the toddlers’) will ensue.
And last but not least, my favourite tip of all:
Tip 6: Pack makeup in your hand luggage. When you feel stressed, touch up your lipstick and tell your reflection that you can do it.
If you have not fallen about laughing as I did at this point then either you take your lipstick very seriously, or you have yet to have children.
Seriously, the kids can come again when they are a little older. After this trip I am using my airline credit card rewards to upgrade to first class and have a second honeymoon with my partner. I just hope we don’t come back with our fifth child on the way! BTW, I am really glad he enjoyed his time in 24A. There are lots of ways to save money on your next trip. Just try to decide if you are going inlcude the kid or not ahead of time.
Moral of the story: airline credit cards are great for leaving the kids at home and having some time for just the two of you. Learn more about the types of airline credit cards if you would like to get away for a whole lot less money on your next big trip. If you do have to travel with the little ones, there are more than a few secrets to keep them happy when travelling.