I've already written about my experience traveling with Zidaan. I've done over 30 flights with him in his short little lifetime including 4 international ones - I considered myself somewhat of a pro at traveling with a baby. That is, until I had to travel with him recently. Traveling with an immobile baby vs traveling with an active mobile toddler is VASTLY different.
Oh and did I mention these were international flights? And there were connecting flights? Disastrous.
Traveling with Zidaan anytime prior to last week had always been a breeze, these flights, however, were not. My toddler’s energy is beyond my comprehension. I’ve listed a few tips and tricks that have been successful for me in the past and that I tried this time around as well.
KEEP HIM BUSY
I mean, it's a given. You keep a child busy, he sits in one place. I wish it was that easy.. but hey we try, right?
I usually take his favorite books. Paperbacks take up less space than hardcovers, and weigh less too. Add a book or two they haven't heard to the stack. I have a picture book about airplanes and a toy airplane I plan on taking with me so Zidaan can match his experience to the story.
Any sort of puzzles, mini trains or magnets do the trick as well. They can keep your child’s attention for 5-10 minutes. Maybe. Ha.
I've heard great things about Toddler Car Seat Travel Trays - the one I own is linked HERE. This has a bunch of activities on it AND an iPad holder for his YouTube shenanigans. I’ve only used this twice on domestic flights. What I’re realized is that these are just TOO big to carry on with you on a plane. They may be more suited for roadtrips.
Speaking of iPads, take a portable battery charger with you. The one I've used for years is linked HERE. Our phones and iPads are always charged with extra charges available! I usually download a few episodes of his favorite shows off of Netflix so he can watch on repeat. Remember to do this a day in advance!
An Old Wallet with expired cards. Before y'all think I'm crazy, my son has this new obsession with my wallet. Kids like to have their own versions of adult possessions, and the “stuff in stuff” game is always a hit. He will sit and take the cards in and out of the wallet repeatedly for a good 20 mins.
Overnight Diapers - Anything to avoid multiple trips to the bathroom on a long flight.
As always, plenty of change of clothes, lots of wipes, enough snacks, children's allergy and pain medicines and a blankets are a must. I usually pack dry snacks - everything from yoghurt melts, snack puffs, goldfish and crackers.
The BEST snack/formula container - Linked HERE.
The BEST travel diaper changing mat - Linked HERE.
If you like carrying cereal or a cooked meal for your little one, I love this to-go container that comes with a spoon - Linked HERE.
Zidaan was a mess on our flights back and forth from Europe this time around. It was like all of a sudden, I had a new child that I didn’t recognize. My baby had done a 9 hour flight before and it had been a breeze, what suddenly got into him now? Welcome to toddlerhood.
Things I’ll definitely keep in mind next time that I’ve learned now:
Pack extra Tylenol. We traveled with a small bottle and ran out fast. One of Zidaan’s molars decided a red eye flight to Reykjavik was the right time for it to creep up.
Pick the right flight and time IF you can. We had three flights on our way back and that in itself was a disaster. Next time, I’ll try to do longer but fewer flights.
Don’t over stress if your baby cries. Babies cry on planes. It happens. Everyone knows the parents are trying their best. Stay calm and collected.
Walk the aisle. But not too much. Trying to keep an active toddler in your lap for a long flight is a pretty tough endeavor. Toddlers need to move, so for anything longer than an hour flight, plan to spend some time in the aisle getting a little exercise. Try to time these walks around the beverage and food service so you can stay out of the flight attendants’ ways!
Don’t stress a nap. Ebad and I were trying everything in our power to get Zidaan to sleep and he was simply too distracted and excited by the new environment. I certainly tried mightily to force a nap (rocking him, etc.) which ended up being more trouble than it was worth and probably provoking bigger meltdowns.
I hope this helps you if you’re traveling soon! As tough as these flights were, I don’t plan on letting them affect our desire to travel with our little one. Our next international flight is in a few months and I’m going to stay positive that it will go a lot smoother than this past weekend! Fingers crossed.
Thank you for reading!