After our twins’ virgin trip to Perth for holidays at the age of 8 months, we brought them to New Zealand last month. Although they are now young toddlers, it wasn’t any easier compared to the earlier trip. They simply couldn’t sit still and always ready to explore around. So, what to look out for and be prepared when you wanna bring your young toddlers for a holiday? Here are the 5 Tips to travel at ease with young toddlers.
Do allow for flexibility in everything, be it your itinerary or food. This means you need to factor in extra and additional travelling time and be mentally prepared that you may need to change your course of route or things you would like to do at the destinations. Our kids have fell sick during the first week of the trip, we have to change part of our itinerary to start our day late with all the feeding of medications and end early for them to rest.
Food wise, we have to be really flexibility on our kids’ table. You can easily order kids meal or just specified to the restaurants for no salt, no sugar and no MSG in the dishes, usually restaurants in developed countries are pretty obliging. As we stayed in the service apartments, we also get the choice to cook and bring it out as well. Notwithstanding, we always have some dry food like biscuits and bread, which were our life savers many times during road trips especially travelling on mountainous roads.
2. Toys and Treats
Get ready for some travel toys and enough titbits to entertain them along the way. Bring some safe and healthy snacks. When I said safe, I meant something that has already been tested and accepted by your little ones. Do bring the quantity that can last you at least for the first two days before you could replenish at the local supermarket. Snacking in the plane or in the car could keep them occupied. some parents may not agreed with snacking, that’s fine, bring some new toys or think of new ways to entertain them. We all know tots simply cant keep still and novelty can probably keep them for a short while. I actually made my own toys by giving them the coco pops box, few packets of jams and let them try putting in and taking out the jams from the box. In a way, I was training their fine motor skills. Do make your toys and snacks the last ammunition and only give when your little ones ask for it or starting to feel bored.
Although we were travelling to a country where we could easily get medications, I did not take any risk especially when my kids have history of slight bronchitis. I brought a bag of medications up to the plane. Do make a visit to your paediatrician before the trip and buy some basic medications or any medication your little one would possibly need due to medical history. My medical kit includes medication for fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, flu, allergy and antibiotics. Not forgetting a nebuliser and the medication.
4. Itinerary Preparation
During planning for your itinerary, do include a lot of buffer time between your itineraries. Take for example, we have buffered for 10 hours of total travelling time from Christchurch to Lake Wanaka although the whole journey probably just took only 7 hours. Reason, we planned for breaks every hour and eventually may not utilised some of the breaks, at least it gave us some allowance to stay at a place longer if it turned out interesting.
5. Air Flight
a. Travelling to airport
Give ample time to travel to the airport. Firstly you can never predict the traffic conditions, and second, you can never when your kids are going to poo before leaving the house, which they always do that especially when rushing for time.
Book the cab in advance, and travelling with twins plus at least two huge luggages and stroller, we always pre-booked a maxi-cab.
b. Checking in and through the security checks
If possible, do internet check-in first. Try to check in as many stuff as possible and just bring the necessities on board. Pack the necessities into one bag instead of carrying several bags on board. Reason #1, some domestic airlines only allow one hand-carry per passenger (in case you are transiting to domestic flight thereafter). Reason #2, you do not need to spend too much time taking stock of your belongings during security checks. Imagine you have to unload 5 bags for security checks then try to reload 5 bags at the other end, while your eyes and hands are busy with your tot(s).
c. Going to the gate and boarding the plane
A word of advice, go to the gate early. It is no fun, trying to rush a tot or two to run with you to the gate. Usually airlines allow passengers with young children to board the plane first. By boarding the plane first, you ensure you get luggage spaces above your seats before the other passengers load theirs and you have to shaft yours to somewhere far away from your seats. Another great advantage to board first is, you get unblocked way to get to your seats. You need that, with kids, diaper bag, etc.
d. Taking off
To ease their discomfort during taking off and landing, feed them with some water or milk. The swallowing action can help to clear the blockage in the ears. If you still breastfeed, fantastic, let your child latches on you during take off and landing.
e. In the air
Some kids could sleep on the plane and some simply couldn’t. If it is a long-haul flight, waking time is inevitable. I bring enough food and toys up to the plane to keep them occupied. Interactive toys or some magnetic drawing pads would be some good suggestions to bring on board.
Hydrate your kids as much as possible. It is dry up in the air. Also, check that they are adequately dressed but not overly dressed
Last but not least, if you are travelling via full-fledged airlines, you can try to request for post-weaning or kids meals. I find that such meals taste better than the adult meals in the economy class although usually I don’t eat in-flight meal. At least, your kids get some warm food than food in the can.
So, are you all ready to go for a fantastic holiday with your little tots? Do check out my earlier post on “How to do a stress-free overseas holiday with infant twins?”, for other tips that could be relevant as well.
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