Some of you (may have) noticed I haven’t posted in the past week. This is because I was offered a last minute trip to go to the States to visit my family. My grandfather recently passed away and my being with the family is such a blessing! When you live in the Arctic, however, you don’t just hop on the plane and get to your destination in one flight.
Pepper and I left our home in the Arctic on Sunday at noon and after 7 flights, 7 airports, 3 time zones, and an hour drive in the car we pulled into my childhood home at 3 pm the next day. 24 hours of straight travelling. This is never an easy trip to make and especially with a one year old is has the potential to be horrible. However, I feel semi-pro in this now. We couldn’t have asked for a smoother trip! So, with all of this fresh on my mind I thought I would share some quick tips to flying with a toddler (or maybe flying in general!)
- Pack a light carry-on. It will be so tempting to pack every special teddy and blankey, 10 different snacks to choose from, some books and quiet toys and a couple coloring books and crayons. But I can tell you that you won’t touch most of them. You will not feel like digging to the bottom of the bag when you can hardly even reach your bag at your feet in the first place. Despite all the time we spent on the plane the only thing I packed was Pepper’s little blanket that she always sleeps with, some fruit snacks, and headphones for her to use my iPad. Then, of course, her diapers and wipes took up the rest of my backpack.
- Don’t put baby on your lap until the last minute. When you fly with a child you get special privileges. One of them is that you get to use the pre-boarding. On most of my flights I was the first one on the plane. This means I get at least a half hour in the plane before the plane takes off. As other passengers are boarding I always let Pepper sit in the seat beside me so she could have fun buckling and unbuckling, peeking around and just being wiggly. Once the passenger came that the seat belonged to I would scoop her up and put her on my lap.
- Set up camp. Speaking of that pre-boarding…you have a little bit of time to set up before the flight takes off. I always put my water bottle, ipad or book, headphones, gum, and a snack in the seat pocket ahead of me. This is for two reasons: first is that it is really hard to dig around in your bag when the baby is on your lap. Second is that if the baby falls asleep on you (which you are most likely really hoping will happen) then you won’t be able to get anything out of your bag without waking the baby. Having everything you will need right there in arm’s reach is a great help.
- Walk the airport. You are about to spend a lot of time sitting in that plane, don’t spend the waiting period in the airport sitting down! Walk around. A lot of airports have at least one little area for kids to play in, I suggest looking for that, too!
- Don’t drink too much. This sounds weird, I know. But when you have a baby who just fell asleep on you the last thing you are going to want to do is try to get to the back of the plane and use the lavatory. And I can say from experience it is not fun to use the lavatory when you are flying with an infant! Once they are walking it’s not quite as a difficult task but still- I try to avoid using the lavatory on the plane at all costs. It’s just easier to drink little and use the bathrooms in the airports.