Sunday, April 1, 2012

Military Monday- International Flights with Small Children

Moving is stressful enough, if you have small children the amount of stress that you face can be through the roof.  Although I personally do not have children, I have done a lot of asking around and found some great advice for making your trip a smooth one.  This can technically be used as advice for any long trip but my goal is to inform those that are PCSing via plane ride with small children.

{UPDATE - 6/9/12}  My Traveling Troop recently did a post about activities that are helpful to keep a toddler age child entertained.  The list has some great ideas that are definitely worth a gander.

1. Long before the move, mentally prepare your children for what lies ahead of them. If they are of the age where they can comprehend the change, it'll be important for them to feel informed and part of the move.

2. Bring a small carry-on that you can store underneath the seat in front of you and place essential items in it. Having it easily accessible makes it convenient for you to get things out so you don't have to keep blocking the aisle.

3. Get small cheap toys like play dough, books, crayons, puzzles, etc and wrap them individually. Take one out per hour or as needed while on the plane. You can have your child unwrap the "presents" and discover what was inside.  Having a nice variety of toys helps keeping them from getting too bored as well.

4. Put an extra set of clothes (child and/or yours if needed) in a zip lock bag. If anything wet or stinky (i.e. vomit) gets on the clothes you can put it in the zip lock bag and not have to worry about it getting your other items wet or smelling up the plane.

5. Bring snacks! Nothing is worse than a cranky baby on a plane and hunger can be a huge source of crankiness.

6. Before the flight, let your child walk around as much as possible, hopefully it will help burn some energy.

7. Since you're flying with a child you do not have to abide by the 3 oz rule.  Make sure they have plenty to drink.

8. Check your seat assignment.  Once you arrive at the airport see if there would be a more convenient seat that you can be assigned to.  Aim for one that wont require you to squeeze past other passengers every time you need to take your child to the bathroom or need to pace the aisles to get him/her to settle down.

9. Call the airlines prior to your flight to ensure they are aware that you have a toddler so they can make arrangements for food etc. Usually the flight attendants have some toys on board that they give out too.

10.  Don't worry too much about pleasing the people around you.  Of course if you have a young child they are going to cry from time to time.  If you are doing your best to please your child but they are just not cooperating you are bound to get some dirty looks from other patrons.  Just say a quick, "I'm sorry" and forget about them.  You'll never see them again so don't stress out if they are mad at you for a few hours.  Worry about yourself and your child and the rest should be the least of your worries.

Be prepared for a rough ride.  Especially if you are traveling alone, it can be a tough job getting through a 9-12 hour flight with a child.  Come prepared and make it as smooth as possible.

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