There’s no question I adore travel. As a young child I recall getting excited every time we went anywhere. Whether it be piling a crew of us into the big jumbo jet van for a distant swim meet, packing our entire family up for a California road trip, or the odd airplane ride to Hawaii, I was always eager for the adventure ahead. And still am to this day!
Fortunately my children have adopted my eagerness for travel. Little C & Little B are rockstar travel companions. They are great listeners, independent, polite, confident, well-behaved and patient. From an early age they have travelled well and I believe being prepared plays a large part.
No matter the length or time of day, we tend to prep the same (list of suggested items below). Yesterday we took a West Jet flight from Vancouver to Toronto. During the single child baby years I would opt for a window seat; less interruptions and a secure space I was most comfortable in. A place to rest my head, nurse without leaning on my neighbours and I barely required to get out of my seat. If travelling with anyone, I would hope our strategy to pick the aisle and window seats would allow the availability of the less desirable centre seat. If a full flight, the centre person typically traded for an outside seat, so no worries.
As the girls grew to toddle size, I chose an overnight when travelling east. They would nap, do dinner, prep for bed and take an 11pm flight. We would all cuddle and get a descent sleep before landing early the following day. Last summers trip to the grandparents proved to be the final intentional red eye. The girls were awesome as usual, but mama didn’t sleep a wink, as they shifted to get comfy far to often.
So this year we opted for a day flight. Armed with entertainment, snacks and our best behavior, the kids were pumped for their ‘big girl’ flight. With no complimentary TVs on board the Checkers and PuzzleJuice apps on ipad, Schleich figurines, the Crazy Book of Canadian Trivia, and a little nap did the trick for the 4.5 hour flight. I think C & B were most thrilled when the cart came around, sharing a Sprite the first time and switching to Club Soda for round two. Pre-boarding and West Jets friendly service is always appreciated. West Jet is my first choice for airlines, especially when travelling with kids. I always feel welcomed and comfortable with the above and beyond care, friendly personalities, and how the crew aspire to make our journey a most enjoyable experience.
When travelling with kids; keeping calm, creating conversation and being observant as to when a change of activity is necessary, all go a long way when checking into security, in-flight, waiting and waiting. Staying hydrated and visiting the bathroom when possible always helps too. I notice when parents are on edge, the children feed off of it, so staying calm and understanding not everything always goes as planned are key.
Our family has found a ‘routine’ that works for us. And the more we travel, the more hopeful I get that our dream to do schooling and work/travel abroad will be an enjoyable reality. Especially when armed with our suggested list for travel prep!
Comfort: Blanket (thin fleece works great), pillow (Pillow Pets work wonders), long sleeve shirt and pants, socks, possibly a hoodie and even eye masks (they do help, but more for fun)
Snacks: Trail mix, veggies and fruit (international flight no-go for security, but possibly once inside the gate area you can find something), meal bars (beware of the high sugar granola bars), chips (non-greasy options), gum or juice berries (for take-off and landing), maybe even a little quality chocolate.
Entertainment: Ear phones, card games (UNO is one of our favorites), trivia and puzzle books, Crayola Color Wonder markers and paper (ink only shows on the special paper – love the no mess!), downloaded games and movies on ipad or electronics of your choice, Magna Doodle or Etch-a-Sketch, a story book or journal, and recently added to the list is thread for friendship bracelets.
Oh and empty water bottles and baby wipes too!
Thanks in advance for sharing your must haves for travel, if any of the above tips helped ease your travel adventures with kids or any questions below!