It’s that time of year again when everyone is planning trips and booking flights. I can’t quite believe we are down to the last few weeks of the year and have just a handful of Fridays left before we’ll be opening presents on Christmas morning. A mild sense of panic sets in when I realize just how fast the time is going and the weeks are slipping through my fingers – not only because Christmas shopping hasn’t even reached my radar yet but as a mom, it’s definitely bittersweet.
Along with festivity and merriment, this time of year also brings about travel and lots of it. Whether it’s families travelling overseas to visit loved ones, children heading home for the holidays or loved-up couples heading somewhere tropical, you’ll know at least one person packing their suitcase this festive season. And it got me thinking about the next time we decide to hop on a plane, just how different it will be! Gone are the days of packing a suitcase and small carry on with my flight essentials (you can check out what they are here and here) and then using the opportunity to catch up on some reading or some sleep! With a baby or toddler in tow, there is an endless list of paraphernalia that they require and travel isn’t quite as simple as it once was. So together with Travelstart, I’ve jotted down a few tips to remember for when we do decide to take to the skies and thought I’d share them with you too.
Travelstart really has got you covered but I’ve added a few of my own essentials that I definitely wouldn’t leave home without!
- Baby Carrier/Wrap: If I could only pack one thing, this would be it. An absolute essential in my book. You are always juggling bags, tickets and passports when travelling and you don’t need to be trying to juggle a baby as well. Not only does a carrier mean you’ll have two free hands but it also keeps baby feeling safe and secure if they are a little overwhelmed by all the noise and busyness – and they can safely nap on you during the flight too.
- Use your nappy bag as your carry-on: This obviously depends on the size of your nappy bag and how long your flight is but if you can avoid carrying multiple bags, it will make life so much easier. If you are travelling with your partner, try to share a hand luggage bag so that you each only have one bag. And be ruthless when packing the nappy bag too! Only take the essentials and know where you’ve packed them (spare change of clothes, nappies, dummy, receiving blanket, bum cream and wipes – you can never have enough wipes!)
- Hand Sanitizer: If you are a bit of a germaphob like me, then you’ll already have this packed regardless of whether you have a baby in tow. Not only is is great for keeping your hands clean but I pop a drop or two on a tissue and use it to wipe the tray table and arm rests down. But the reality is that you also can’t avoid the germs so try to stay relaxed about them (mental note to self!)
- Snacks and a spill proof cup: Healthy snacks like dried fruit, rice cakes, biltong and Squishes are great travel food as they easy to pack and serve on the go. Snacks also keep little people entertained for a while so you might even buy yourself some quiet time! A spill-proof sippy cup for water is a must to keep baby hydrated and avoid spills in your bag or on your lap.
- Favourite toy/Dudu: If your baby/toddler has a favourite soft toy or Dudu blanket that they sleep with, make sure it’s packed! You don’t want to realize this isn’t on hand when you 30000 feet in the air…
- Breastfeed/Bottle/Dummy: The altitude can cause sore ears for babies as they are not able to equalize pressure like us adults. On take-off and landing, sucking can help relieve the pressure so feed or allow them to suck on a dummy. You can also keep Calpal or baby Panado with you just in case.
Travelling can be stressful, especially over the festive season and travelling with children can definitely add to that stress but if you plan accordingly and try to be organized ahead of time, you’ll feel a lot more relaxed. Try not to have any expectations and also don’t assume that they’ll have a meltdown – you baby will probably surprise you 🙂 And at the end of the day, little people will be little people and if things do go pear shaped and baby has an epic meltdown, just take a deep breath and roll with it. The airport and airline staff are well practiced in travelling with people of all ages and I’m pretty sure there isn’t much that they haven’t seen!
What are your essentials for travelling with your babies?
This post in written in collaboration with Travelstart.