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Travelling with kids tips


Travelling with Kids

Over the years I have travelled with my daughter at almost every age, both long and short haul. Today 13 hours into a 17-hour flight flying solo with my daughter with another connecting flight to go I’m so grateful for her age.


Nine is a great age to travel with kids, so far for me, it’s the best age.

At nine, I feel lucky to experience this trip with my daughter. I’m travelling with a mini-me, my little friend who is self-sufficient and thoughtful together were heading home to Ireland to see family and share memories I know she will have forever.   Many times, today and this week I’ve noted how much easier this trip’s organising, and logistics are. Previously weeks of planning would go into what to take to keep her entertained, fed, warm, happy, filled with snacks etc.


It’s funny right now I’m sitting on the second row back in economy. You know the one behind all the families with babies, and as I watch the parents around me, I feel my exhausted just looking at them and grateful to be passed that stage. Were on an overnight flight that left at 9 pm Brisbane time, their kids are already overtired and cranky. The couple in front of me were seated with a lady in her early 20s who wasted no time asking for a spare seat as soon as she realised what she was in for and moved as soon as she could. At least these parents now had an extra seat to move around in.  As the plane fills, you can see the parents glancing around at each other sizing up their different dilemmas based on their little one’s age.

I could see the knowing look form one mum to another, the ‘what the hell are we in for? look

Please let our kids take it easy on us tonight.


For some parents, the idea and the lead up to and the actual task of travelling with babies or young children can be an immensely stressful time. Often the younger your child, the more anxiety a trip can cause and the more stressful the idea of travelling with kids can be. Taking kids overseas can be made a lot easier with planning, organising and packing. If you plan well and organise your flight can be much smoother, and the transition to new timezones can be more manageable.


I often get asked what my advice is for travelling with kids so here it is for flights, long car trip and then some –


Planning is crucial, and each age group has its challenges:


Newborn to 2 years – how do you manage routine and feeding while commuting – Honestly you just do your best to get through the travel time, flight and commute until you get to your destination then reset your little one with a bath and bedtime routine in the evening at your new destination. If you’re on a long-haul flight, consider waiting until after the lights have gone down before attempting to settle your baby down for a longer sleep. You can even try doing a mini bedtime routine: for example – a top to tail wipe down, a change into P.Js and then a feed and into their sleeping bag from their just cuddle them to sleep.


If your destination crosses timezones they may have several naps while travelling; don’t stress about this. Just aim to get there and once arrived and organised start a bath and bedtime routine in the evening at your location.

Your little one may be disorientated, but hopefully, the bedtime routine will help to show them what’s coming next and reset them. It will usually take a few days for them to adjust to the new time zone, so make sure you allow lots of daylight and serotonin during the day to help their body adapt to the new times.

Remember that you are a partner in this parenting journey. Today I was very aware of how the mums on the plane were taking on so much of the parenting on the flight while the dads were having a snooze or offering the occasional helping hand.

Delegate and share the load with your partner so you can get some rest too.


Prepping for a plane ride or long car trip means being organised with plenty of entertainment and snacks for your little one the more entertainment, the better. Packing some books, colouring pads, colouring pencils texters, is some doodlers iPad change of clothes and some snacks Traveling with kids as a general rule:

If you’re going long haul try to book an overnight flight, so they are more likely to sleep for you on the plane.

Packing P.J and doing a mini bedtime routine when your aiming for them to sleep can help. If it’s a day flight, don’t worry, they will have some short naps and then reset with bedtime routine at the destination.


Some essentials to pack:


*Spare changes of clothes – the younger your child is the more spare change of clothes you may need

Remember a change of clothes for you too. Plane rides can be cold so bring warm sock and a jumper.


*A standard size Pillow – honestly you won’t regret this, it can really help you get comfortable if you have a child sleeping on you or it can be great for your little one to sleep on across your lap so they can be more comfortable and hopefully sleep longer. You can also then just slide them from one lap to the other, so you are sharing the load with your partner.


*Panadol /Nurofen and any other medication you may need and a small first aid kit (honestly mine has bandaids, antiseptic, antihistamines alcohol wipes and tweezers. If I need anything more than that I would want medical attention anyway)


*I also bring a mini essential oil first aid kit with me everywhere I go


*Packing lots of entertainment for your little one and staggering the appearances of said items will help keep them entertained for longer


Examples of entertainment:


Colouring pencils and pads


Fidget spinners

Mini size books

Mini play dough kit (think one tub with five different colour balls and some utensils )

Ziplock bag with a puzzle or some Duplo

Today on my flight I saw a family put together a laptop size busy board for their 16 months old it was fantastic. It had a pill box each section with a treat a mini measuring tap, a fidget spinner some keyring torches, and some different beads and buttons on a string. A quick search on Pinterest will set you up with some great ideas in no time.

Mini cars trucks or figurines

Obviously, the Ipad and some interactive games can get you out of a jam, but I would caution you to use it sparingly


Age-appropriate entertainment:

0-6 months- a few rattles, mummy, daddy and mummy and mummy’s boob, dummy if necessary, toy Mirror and touch and feel book or toy.


6-10 months: All of the above snacks, comforter, mini books, and figurines iPad with one or two apps like Playschool Wiggles or a doodle drawing app.


10months -2 years:  all of the above plus a few more apps more snacks and little playsets ie- small tub with 4-5 balls of playdough and some mini cookie cutters, a writing pad and some colours sticker books. Mini cars, trucks and people. Aqua doodle/ water magic pads (great entertainment and no mess)

2years – 5 years – Again all of the above but maybe a movie or few episodes of their favourite T.V show on a device. Their own headphones can be fabulous too. Some little games you can play together like snap or some activity packs, for example, a bag with some loom bands or flower making masking making kits etc.


Some other good Ideas to pack when travelling

* You’re own Travel cot so you can be confident that it’s comfortable and quality.

* A Plane Pal these are worth it if your travelling with a child under 7

* Some big Muslin cloths as they are endless in their uses

* Some Microwave sterilising bags if you need to wash items



When is the best age to travel with kids?

My answers are usually along the lines of…

If you need to travel when your little one is very young try to wait until after their first Immunisations – this age is relatively easy as they are happy to be koalas for a long-haul flight


Try to avoid travelling in the 4-6-month-old age bracket if you can as there is so much change happening with them at this time. The long-haul flights and time zones can make matters worse and more stressful for parents.

6-9-month-olds – this age is challenging as at this age they are more mobile and may be frustrated being stuck on your lap the whole time. Sticking with positive bedtime routines can help them adjust Hot tip for this age – In the weeks leading up to the flight you can sing a particular song to them or read a specific story to them, maybe use some lavender oil as part of a bedtime routine and then use these as cues for naps on their flights. When you get to your destination, start your routine adjustment with them at Bath and bedtime routine and just help them adjust to the new change.


9months -3 years – same as above but also the longer you can keep them in their seats the better once these little critters realise, they can walk all over the plane you can forget sitting for the rest of your trip. Stagger entertainment and snacks with them and try to take turns with your partner so you can get a little brain rest time.


Finally when you are away from home all you can do is your best,  a trip away is an exception to the normal, and once you return home from your trip, you should plan on no plans for the next two weeks so you can help your baby adjust to their usual routine.



Enjoy your trip

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