As I had previously mentioned, in a few days my family and I or I should say that my hubby and I are going to be flying with a moody sleep deprived toddler. Considering that this will be our 5th international flight, you would think that we would have the whole procedure down to an art but it is not as easy as that!
Generally when we travel to South Africa to the hemisphere changes we are swopping seasons. So where in Dubai at the moment it is summer and the temperatures are hovering around 45 degree Celsius, South Africa are in their winter season where the temps are below zero at some times of the day. This, of course, needs to be take in to consideration when packing. Secondly we will land in Johannesburg and then drive another 5 hours to our home near Ladybrand in the Eastern Free State. So we need to be sure that we are prepared for the extra traveling time. Arriving home after a full 14-15 hours of traveling.
Needless to say my toddler is going to enjoy being cooped up in an Airplane for 8 hours and the a car for another 5. So for our many flights starting when Daniel was 8 months old I have a check list prepared which I find help bring some sort of semblance in to our travel preparations.
- Make sure that you pack 1 suitcase per family member, this way you avoiding packing unnecessary items. For trips to colder weather, use a bigger bag instead of many smaller bags.
- Buy your toddler or baby an extra seat, especially for long trips
- Reserve seats when you book and Make sure that you check in as early as possible .
- Make sure that your carry on luggage has everything that you need for each leg of your journey.
- Make sure you have a car seat ready when you land, this is especially important if you are going to be traveling by car to your final destination.
- Check your stroller at the gate before boarding. That way, the crew will have it waiting for you when you get off the plane. We have the foldable Yoyo stroller that fits in to the overhead locker, it fits through the airplane isle as well.
- I don’t believe in adjusting your toddler’s nap schedule so he will sleep on the plane, I am a firm believer in sticking to schedule and this is because the moment I push my son out of his normal routine we have a very cranky young man. Instead I try ensure that he sticks tot he same bedtimes as at home as the destination. 8pm is bedtime, no matter where in the world we are!
- Dress your child in comfortable clothes. Airports and planes have varying degrees of temperatures. make sure that your child is warm enough but if he gets to hot you can easily remove one or two layers.
- Keep water close at hand. Flying is even more dehydrating for children than it is for adults, so make sure they get plenty of fluids.
- Pack enough entertainment. While I am not one of those parents who allows her child to sit with his nose in an IPAD or an Android for most of the day. While traveling I do make the exception. I make sure that it is loaded with his favorite (currently Planes) movies and learning games. this gives him the option of choosing to watch his movie, read his favourite book (Forget Me Not – Stuart Broad) or play with his toys.
Most of all you need to remember that no matter how many times you have flown with your children every single trip will be different to the last one. Not only because you think you a re getting the hang of it but because you child will be in a different stage of development. Daniel is just over 2 now and I already know that his is not going to want to sit still for very long during that flight but I do know that the moment he gets into that car seat in Johannesburg he is going to have a long nap so we know that this will be the faster part of our journey!
No matter the hardship of the travel, it all disappears the moment we drive up the oak avenue and get our first glimpse of home, Tripolitania, we are home!