If you're raising your children to live by the words of Dr Seuss "oh the places you'll go", you'll need to get used to travelling as a family.
To limit the number of tears during your travels (and not just from the little one) it pays to have a few tricks up your sleeve to make the journey as smooth as Heinz fruit puree.
Whether you’re travelling an hour interstate, or somewhere that calls for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the air, check out our six tips for travelling with a toddler.
1. Pick direct flights to keep transit times to a minimum
Why fly via Hong Kong to Singapore when you can fly direct?
Although some flights may be cheaper with multiple stopovers, when each stopover involves loan-prams, tantrum-inducing long waits and another airport to navigate, the additional money on a direct flight seems like a fair value exchange for your sanity.
If you’re travelling to Europe from Brisbane Airport, look for airlines that offer a free or discounted overnight stop as part of the airline fare. A good night's sleep in a proper bed will make the next leg of the journey a whole lot better for everyone, especially mum and dad.
2. Travel light on toys, high in clothes
Before you start packing every toy, colouring book or puzzle under the sun, remember most airlines offer kids’ packs to keep the little ones entertained.
Make like Marie Kondo and discard any unnecessary toys from your carry on, and instead load up with outfit changes. As a rule of thumb, pack a fresh set of clothes for every four hours for your little one and at least one set for you. It might seem like overkill but there’s nothing worse than wearing someone’s orange juice and running out of clothes at 40,000 feet. Pack any spare clothes in individual snaplock bags - clean ones out, dirty ones in. You’re welcome.
3. Prepare for the snack attack
If your child has a favourite snack, whether it be a box of raisins or bag of popcorn, make sure you pack some, because #bribery.
Remember, baby foods are exempt from international travel restrictions to keep powders, liquids, aerosols and gels under 100mls (commonly known as PLAGS). Load up with a couple of their favourite squeeze pouches in case they have zero interest in what the airline is serving.
Keep lollies on hand to help equalise the pressure in their ears and ensure a tear-free landing.
4. Get fully charged
Make sure ALL your electronics are fully charged and loaded with all their favourite shows. If possible, pack one device per child so everyone has their own.
To avoid techno-tantrums, pack a charging cable for longer flights, as most aircraft now have USB charging outlets.
Make sure you invest in a good pair of headphones that fit your child’s ears to block out any aircraft noise and allow them to enjoy their favourite show.
5. Board last to avoid being bored first
Just like whether you roll or fold your clothes into your suitcase, you’ll have a different belief on boarding first or last when travelling with children.
Why board last? Simple. Less time in confined aircraft = less frustrated child. Let them burn off some steam for as long as possible outside the aircraft.
6. Move around
If your child is getting restless in their seat or on your lap, take them to the back of the aircraft for a bit of wiggle room.
Cabin crew will do their best to help you - whether it be helping entertain the littlies or holding them for five minutes while you use the bathroom in peace. Just make sure you wait until meal service is finished and they crew are usually more than happy to help.
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