As a transplant, I travel home to London, at least once a year, to visit family, with my children (so they can bound with their London based family). More often than not, I travel without my husband, because his Atlanta based courier business APC, is still in its infancy. Travelling with children poses its own set of challenges. First, there is the 8 hour flight you must endure, in an close enclosed space with several hundred passengers, most of whom will give you horrible stares and make comments should you be unable to keep your kids quiet and “under control”.
I recently traveled for work to New Jersey (via PA), and on the trip home, I was upgraded to Business class, as my scheduled flight was delayed, I took an earlier flight. I had the pleasure of sitting behind, the cutest little girl. No more than 3 or 4 years old, she cried the entire trip home which was approximately two hours long. She was travelling with her Dad and I could sense his frustration and feel his pain, as he was unable to sooth her. Here are three tips, I would have loved to share with him, should he have to travel again with a little one in the near future.
Travel Tip 1 – Be Prepared
When travelling with little one, you must be prepared. Preparation begins at home, long before the flight. In addition to the obvious, ensuring you have a passport (for international flights), you’ve packed adequate clothing for the little ones, you have their favorite toy ( for the little ones), or hand held devices for the bigger kids. Or Headset to allow them to watch the latest movies, and any other day to day necessities that may be unavailable in the country, region or STATE you are travelling to e.g. a particular milk or cookie etc. You have to ensure you have covered all bases.
For my daughter and I, we have matching Mom and daughter neck pillows and I ensure she has her own suitcase so she can feel like she is part of the process. You must make sure they are fed, with food and water and content, at peak physical health prior to the onset of the trip. The process of going through TSA is arduous and can be quite daunting for a little one, so it’s best to explain to them prior to travelling what’s happening and reassure them that you will be here with them every step of the way. Last but by no means least, you should have an ace up your sleeve.
For me, it’s usually a lollipop. Most young kids, when travelling suffer cannot process the pressurization and depressurization that occurs during the takeoff and landing of a flight. Not to mention, should they have an ear infection, this could feel a 1000% worst. For breastfeeding kids, it’s often best to breast feed or give a bottle during these times.
Travel Tip 2 – Pack Conservatively
Work smart. When travelling with little ones, it is best to check in as much as you can from the onset (except the stroller, which you can check at the gate). It is difficult travelling with little ones and multiple bags. So my recommendation is ensure you pack as conservatively as you can. If you are travelling with a baby, pack their things with yours. If you have a budding kid as I do and they want their own suitcase as mine does, you ensure they are aware that their suitcase is their responsibility for the during of the trip, especially if they refuse to check it. But know that ultimately, should they get tired, this too will be something you must carry, so ensure you account for this when travelling through the airport
Travel Tip 3 – Think of Yourself Too!
Last but by no means list, think of yourself as well. For me, being a wife and a Mom of two, I unfortunately put myself last often but travelling is one of those times, you have to think of yourself too. For example, pack stunning outfits and accessories so that you can look your best, while travelling and during your trip, for those nights when you have to visit with friends (with and without the kids). You never know who you might meet during your travels, many celebs, stars, business people travel regularly. For me, this means packing my favorite jewelry pieces in one or two Kinkless’s along with my favorite shoes that match, so that I can look and feel my best.
So next time you have to travel with kids, remember be prepared, work smart and do something for you. I hope that you takes these tips into consideration and they help. Peace and love
-Nina Lewis – Kinkless Founder –