I recently took off three weeks from work and traveled back home to Egypt with the fam. It’s been more than a year since I boarded a plane with my little Yehia and I must admit – it wasn’t as easy and breezy as travelling with him when he was younger. In short, yes – there was a lot of running around, chasing, hiding under counters and trying to jump on baggage belts. But there’s hope; there can be some tricks that can help you keep tabs on your excited little traveler and minimize your urge to pull that exit door handle and just jump off the plane.
Rise and shine early in the morning: I’m not really an advocate of using cough drops to make your little one drowsy so they can doze off on the plane. However, if your child happens to have the sniffles, then you’re in luck. You can give him his regular meds an hour before the flight takes off. What I strongly recommend you do is wake your toddler up really early in the morning, so by the time you’re at the airport for passport control, baggage claim and your duty free shopping, your little Columbus would be worn out and exhausted; all ready for his nap. At least this way you can enjoy a hassle-free trip on the plane, read a book in peace or enjoy a good movie.
- STROLLERS, STROLLERS, STROLLERS: For some odd reason, I gave in to Kais’s constant pleads to leave the stroller behind. I ended up having to run after Yehia in terminals, duty free shops and toilets and the killer part: carrying around for what seemed like hours on end. Yes, I was plotting Kais’s ‘accidental death’ on my three-hour flight to Egypt and kicking myself for not doing it my way and taking the stroller anyway. Rule of thumb: ALWAYS TRAVEL WITH A LIGHT-WEIGHT STROLLER.
- Charge up that smartphone/iPad: If you have some animations or movies that you know your baby likes on your iPad/Tab or smartphone, then make sure to charge up your devices. You can also purchase a power bank from the airport’s duty free, if you already don’t have one in your hand luggage. Most airlines have a good set of movies on their in-flight entertainment programs, but just so you can keep your little one distracted while you shop or as you roam around the airport terminals, some movies or games can be handy. I also had to resort to Youtube, since Yehia seemed to want to watch some random car videos rather than his actual favorite cartoons. So a device with an enabled data package would also be a plus.
- Pack your toddler’s favorite items: If your little boy has a favorite stuffed animal, book, blankie that you know keeps him sane – make sure to pack them in your hand luggage. Avoid small toys that can be easily lost – otherwise, you’ll have to deal with constant tantrums once when you can’t find them in the airport or on the plane. Also make sure you have extra diapers, a change of clothes and a whole bunch of pacifiers – we all know how they magically disappear when you need them the most.
- Where you sit on a plane makes all the difference: When my kid sees open spaces, he gets a sudden urge to just get up and run around. For that, I insisted that we get three seats by the window and have him sit in the middle. With not much to see and barely any room on an EgyptAir Economy class seating, he was settled and dozed off since we woke him up at the crack of dawn. If you are travelling with a younger baby, it’s always best to sit at the very front facing the separators so you can ask the flight attendant to get you one of those baby cribs for your munchkin to sleep in.
Traveling with a child will never be easy; so say goodbye to those old days when flying solo was a walk in the park, but I do hope that these tips help make your travel experience a little less painful.
If you have any other tricks up your sleeve that work wonders for you – share them in the comments section below!