Travelling internationally with a toddler can definitely be hard work. A few weeks after Maya’s 1st birthday, I decided to take a 1 month trip all the way, yes aalllll the way to Japan. On the 29th of December we set off on a journey to remember.
This was Maya’s first time travelling by plane and her first time out of the country soooo me being me, decided to do it completely alone! Yes, you read that correctly, I took Maya aaaaalllll the way to Japan; that’s 6000miles away from home and I did it on my own!
… was I crazy?
Now, how I got off that plane with 2 suitcases, 3 bags, 1 pushchair and a baby is beyond me- I guess you can call me super woman! But, after a LOT of trial and error during my experience, I have created a list full of my ‘What went well’s’ and ‘Even better if’s’.
These are my useful tips for any parent(s) planning on travelling internationally with a toddler.
1. Buy a seat for the little one (If you can)
When I found out that Maya could travel with me, virtually free, I was immediately SOLD. Little did I know that the child seat provided on the plane was not going to be the most practical. Let me tell you, there was absolutely no way I was gonna place my child in that seat whilst keeping her entertained for 12 hours straight.
We were in the middle seat out of 3 and had two very well mannered passengers either side. Now, the only way I could see the usage of that seat working was if I sat on the man to my left… NOT practical what so ever LOL.
So I did indeed sit the entire outbound flight, with Maya… in my lap.
Outbound flight aside, I was lucky enough to experience the luxury of an extra 2 seats on the return flight to ourselves! And no joke, that flight was the most comfortable flight I have ever had in my life!
However, every toddler behaves differently and in all honesty, there was absolutely nothing wrong with what they provided on the plane. That being said, if you have a toddler who CANNOT sit in one place for more than 10 minutes… buy the seat to preserve your sanity. I sure wish I did!
2. Snacks, Snacks, SNACKS
It goes without saying that a toddler is definitely NOT themselves when they are hungry! Maya’s favourite activity is probably eating and that girl can eat more than me! That being said, I had to make sure I was specially equipped with the goods to occupy her for the entire flight.
As I was informed before my flight, due to not having bought an additional ticket for my child, she will not receive any inflight meals. I had to make sure that her bag was stocked up with snacks, snacks and more snacks! I totally recommend taking a trip to the supermarket and stocking up plenty of dry snacks, baby crisps, baby cookies any multipack you can get your hands on; as Maya loved munching on those (I have linked her favourites). She also loves her fruit and although I didn’t pre-pack any myself, I made sure to stock up on packs of fresh cut fruit at the duty free.
Related Post: Why not try my recipe for Carrot Cake’ inspired baby porridge!
3. Keep them Preoccupied- preplan entertainment
Although Maya slept through a large majority of the flight, there were several times that she was awake and needed to be kept busy. With a very short attention span, It was important that I tried to distract her as much as possible. Once that girl real realised she was doing nothing, I had to stop her every attempt to exit the plane LOL.
I’d definitely recommend packing a sorting toy… of some… sort haha. This will definitely keep your little one busy for at least half an hour and I was honestly surprised how something so simple had my child focused for so long.
I recommend alternating between playing with toys and watching the inflight entertainment provided. Just remember to bring some kid friendly headphones!
4 .Keep the Pram, You’re gonna need it!
Stop! Don’t panic! There is still a way to travel without breaking your arms carrying your child between check-in and the flight!
Some people are not aware but you DO have an option NOT to check in your pushchair and keep it with you until you arrive at the gate! This was something that certainly made my trip a whole lot easier as I did not have to worry about carrying my bags and my heavyyyyy child after check in.
If you plan to keep the pushchair, I totally recommend you make sure it is clear of any bits and bobs as they do still need to put it through the X-ray machine at security. I also recommend that you don’t do what I did and rely on your pushchair to carry all your heavy cabin luggage since you will need to carry those bags AND your child to the plane, especially if you’re travelling alone!
And that brings me to my next tip….
5. Pack Smart
I am just gonna be honest here, this is a major one in the ‘Things I’d do differently” pile.
Since I was going to Japan for a month, I’m sure you can imagine- I had plenty of luggage. And this was no average plenty oh no no no, I really just packed way too much.
Ya girl obviously had to OVERPACK and that did not make my travels any easier! How else was I going to survive without my 10 step skincare routine and at least 3 changes of clothes a day!? Very easily in fact….
So basically, what I’m trying to say is PACK SMART!
Leave things behind that you can buy abroad and stick to the necessities. That’s unless you want to end up like me trying to push a cart of luggage and a pushchair simultaneously through passport control…WHAT was I thinking!?
6.Spare Clothes, Nappies and Wipes
When it comes to travelling internationally with a toddler, us parents know that absolutely anything can happen. Regardless of the distance, it is key to come prepared. So pack a few changes of clothes and more nappies than you would ever think you would need. And without question, bring at least 2 packs of wet wipes as they will be your best friend throughout your journey!
7. Stay HYDRATED
I’m sure we all know how drying plane travel can be. Due to the lack of humidity, most of us wake up from a nap with dry ass lips and a dry throat. If you wanna avoid having a dry baby too, keep them hydrated! Maya asked for water several times on the plane and I knew I made the right decision buying those extra bottles before boarding. Offer baby plenty of water to keep baby happy, it’s simple!
8. Relax and Believe in yourself
Although all these tips will make a difference, I think the most important thing to have during your travels is a positive mindset! There is no doubt that I could’ve done many things differently and truthfully, I still have a lot to learn. But when it comes down to it, I believed in myself and that made things a whole lot easier. Be prepared, relax and enjoy the flight.
Safe Travels everyone
FINALLY, after months and months of pure procrastination I am back with the blog posts! Life has been crazy hectic-please forgive me- but I am getting back into the swing of things! See you soon x
SiobhanMay 22, 2020
Really helpful tips! Thank you so much ❤