Traveling with babies ?
We are making a 10hr 30 minute journey to Arizona from England with our 12 month twins and our 12 and 6 year old daughters this will be out first time travelling as a family of four.
I need all the tips you can give me to keep them occupied! Also we have a double baby jogger city mini for the twins and car seats which we will need to take and should we take a booster seat for our 6 six year old, how does that work ? Will the buggy survive ?
The plane seats are two by two so our 12 year old and six year old will be sat by themselves has anyone else had to do this ? They will be sat behind us or infromt of us.
THANK YOU !
Hopefully some experienced moms can comment on travelling with little ones, but re: 12 and 6 year old sitting together... you know your kids best, but twelve seems like a perfectly reasonable age to sit just in front/behind mom and dad on an airplane and not get into any mischief. My parents took my brother and me on flights a lot when we were younger and we were often split up--once when I was ten, I was sandwiched between complete strangers a few rows down from my parents because we couldn't get the seats rearranged. I also think twelve is a perfectly reasonable age to "babysit" the 6-year-old sibling while you two are busy with the twins. Give them both enough to do (and make sure they can work out the in-flight entertainment!) and they'll be fine. If you're still uncomfortable with the idea, you could always have your husband sit with one twin and one of the older kids, and you sit with the other twin and the other older child, but in my experience the two older kids might enjoy themselves more sitting beside each other rather than a parent busy with a baby--more opportunity for activities together. :)
Not a mom, but my mom took to me to Taiwan (11-13 hour trip) when I was just about to turn 1, I actually had my first birthday in Taiwan :) My dad was in the Navy and going to be gone for 3 months, so for my mom not to be all alone, she went to visit family and took me with her. For a baby, there really isn't much you need to do. She said I mostly slept, but bring a couple of toys and those touch books, they're pretty distracting. Also she would recommend ear plugs or else you'll have a screaming baby when the plane lifts offs.
We went again to Taiwan when I was 6 and my sister was 5. Booster seat? For the plane? I'm pretty sure they don't allow that.... We didn't bring those. Anyway, my parents had bought us these art kits. So we basically colored the whole way or slept. Now plenty of planes have TV's that they could just watch the movie. So bring headphones unless you want the crappy ones they provide, which also depending on what carrier you have, might make you pay $2 (what American Airlines wanted, Delta is free from my experience). We were also big on reading, so my sister and I each brought 2-3 books.
No experience with having to sit apart from mom and dad. We didn't have any younger siblings though... We normally got 4 seats in a row, but if we didn't our parents would split. (I would sit with dad, sister sits with mom, and they would switch too)
Hope that helps a little bit!
I don't have children, but I act like a child when I travel :D so here is what works for me, plus some other advice:
For the twins:
- Nurse or bottle feed them during take off and landing. The sucking motion keeps their ears from popping (or so mom friends have told me)
- Hopefully between feedings and changes, the babies will sleep
- I'd call the airline to see if you can bring the stroller on the plane as carry-on
For car seats and booster seat:
- I would see what the law in Arizona is for 6 year olds riding in cars with or without booster seats
- This website is pretty handy for talking about car seats and boosters in airplanes, taxis, buses, etc: The Car Seat Lady - Airplanes
- I would call the airline to see what to do about car seats and booster - whether they need to be checked or carried on
For the 6 and 12 year olds (these are things that I still do for myself):
- Most trans-Atlantic airplanes have great in-flight entertainment with tv's on the back of each seat. Bring at least 2 or more earphones (like for iPods) and set the kids up with a kids' movie
- Bring books, activities, snacks, juice and water (those would have to be bought at the airport, I think)
- You can buy earplugs called "Ear Planes" at drug stores - they act like ear plugs but are specially designed to keep the pressure even during take off and landing
- You can give the kids hard candy or gum during take off and landing
- If it is an overnight flight, maybe give them Gravol or something that might make them drowsy so they can sleep through the flight. Might want to consider buying the pillow and blanket (or bringing your own) for them if they would sleep through the flight (I get cold on overnight flights, personally)
- Put them in comfortable clothes - I still wear track pants, t-shirt, and zip up sweater on planes.
Hope this helps! Have a great trip!
I'm not sure what airline you're using, some let you choose your seats when you buy the tickets and some let you choose when you check in. If worst comes to worst and you're all spread out you can always ask the flight attendants to negotiate with other passengers so that you can all sit together. One thing you may have to look up is whether your airline allows more than one infant per row (I know that westjet doesn't), if they don't then you and your partner may be seated apart. I believe that most airlines allow you to bring a car seat and a stroller on the plane with no extra charge, though calling the airline just to make sure that its fine and that your car seats meet the approved safety standards couldn't hurt.
I just traveled with my baby on a plane, but only from London to Italy so not a long flight. And she's 19 weeks, so I won't be much help in the keeping them entertained area (but there are other threads for this). I had her in a sling, and the pram went in with the rest of the luggage, but I did see other people bringing buggies on, and the flight attendants put them somewhere else. Most airlines, even cheap ones like easyjet, let parents with children under 5 (?) enter the plane before the other passengers, so even if you haven't chosen seats beforehand it should be no problem.
I don't have any experience with traveling with children the age of your daughters, but I think I'd give mine some magazines, an iPad with some movies, music, colouring books (mainly for the 6 yo), soft pillows so they can have a nap, plenty of snacks and drinks. Basically all Andie said up there. I very much agree with the comfy clothes thing, I always wear ballet or yoga clothes when I'm on planes.
Did you buy seats on the plane for your twins or are you keeping them on your laps for the flight? If you purchased seats, you can install their carseats on the plane. This would actually help if your babies are used to napping in their carseats. It gives you a place to put them.
Even if you didn't buy seats for the babies, if the flight isn't full most airlines will try and accommodate families. This means that they may rearrange the seating so that you can have access to the empty seats for your babies. This is something that you can ask about at the counter as you check in.
You will want to bring your booster seat for your six-year-old. You can check it in as baggage and pick it up at baggage claim, bring it to the gate and check it in there (it will be waiting for you at the arrival gate as soon as you disembark), or bring it onto the plane and install it there. If you decide to check it in, the baggage claim attendants usually put it into a plastic bag which they provide, but you can also find travel bags made specifically for this purpose.
Another option for your six-year-old is the CARES safety harness. You can purchase or rent these. There's more information about this here: Safe Airplane Travel for Kids - CARES Child Aviation Restraint System
I've done the 10 hour fight from the US to the UK with an 11 month old. This is not the easiest age for plane travel. I would suggest bringing lots of snacks. This is not a time to be stingy with treats. Treats can be more helpful than toys. If it's something the babies can take out of the bag themselves, this is even more helpful. (The whole taking things in and out of containers game is a popular one at this age.) Be prepared that you may be doing a lot of walking up and down the aisles while carrying/following a baby. I've done a lot of standing at the back of the plane while holding a baby at this stage.
I hope this is somewhat helpful. In the end, just keep in mind that it's only 10 hours. You can endure just about anything for this amount of time!
I read this blog post the other day and I thought in might come in handy at the moment, Parenting: 6 Tips for Traveling on a Plane with a Baby
Hope this helps, good luck!
We flew Australia/UK with Agnes when she was 6mo, 8mo and 20mo.
It was fine!
All the toys and amusements I bought were a waste of space, mesmerising iPad videos were enough to keep her happy. Sesame St etc, all worked well. It might help that she doesn't normally watch tv so it was a big treat.
You (of course) don't get to watch anything! Lots of walking up and down the isle, singing and snacks. If they fall asleep on you - bonus but after seven hours I lost all feeling in my legs...
The worst bit is the airport but hopefully it tires them out.
I'm not a mom...but I think the 12 year old is old enough to sit without a parent. I'm sure they could "babysit" the 6 year old. If you're still not sure, then at least sit behind them, you'll probably be able to keep an eye on them that way.
As for activites...you know your kid best. For the younger ones, make sure they have a favourite toy with them. Some books to read to them. The 6 year old could also have some colouring books.
If you or your eldest child has any sort of music player like an ipod or mp3 player, you might want to bring that. If they have something like a gameboy, they might want to bring that too. (Unless they have an ipod touch where they can download games directly onto that).