You want the some Winter sun, in fact, you crave it. However, you can't bear the thought of taking them with you. But you have too. Mum of one, Sam, talks us through her top tips for how to survive a long haul flight with a toddler.
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Remember the days when you were one of those travellers who looked forward to a flight? When you packed a neat suitcase, full of things which belonged to you and you only and you knew that those hours, spent on the plane could consist solely of sipping G&T and watching a movie? I do, very well.
Now, the thought of a flight, even a short one, is slightly daunting. Especially a long haul flight. The three hour Easyjet flight to Spain I can manage but any further and I start to break out into a cold sweat. Imagine then, what state I was in, when we booked our flights to Sri Lanka. That my friends is 11 whole hours, trapped in what essentially is a metal tube (are they metal?) in the sky, with a bored toddler.
I should add, that we took that flight two years ago and survived it and the return flight. Sadly, I am not writing this from a beach on the Indian Ocean. However, it is once again prevalent to me as we have booked to go again, in a matter of weeks in fact, so I am recounting my own advice for how to best prepare.
These are my top tips for surviving:
– Chose your seats wisely. If you can get the extra leg room seats, do it. Having some space for them to stand/lie/build a den/throw a tantrum is invaluable.
– Load the iPad/tablet up with every episode of Peppa Pig ever created, including the bloopers and outtakes. Seriously, whatever they are currently into, find and download every episode;
– If there is more then one child, buy two sets of headphones and a splitter , so they can watch the i Pad together. If the worst comes to the worst, you will have watch Peppa Pig too. Fear not, it is mildly more entertaining in mid-air when the gin kicks in.
– Actually, just buy two of everything to mitigate any potential sharing issues;
– Introduce new books/activities in stages throughout the flight. My son must have thought Christmas had come again, judging by the number of ‘presents’ he received on the last long haul flight we made. You can even wrap them so that they can't see what's coming next;
Vary the activities. This is key if you stand a chance of keeping their attention. You know the drill, colouring books, to Superhero mannuals, dot to dot books, to stratch books, to stickers, to little plastic animals. Keep it fresh!
Snacks, snacks and more snacks. Follow the two tips above for this. Introduce a new food stuff at varying intervals throughout the flight. Preferabbly nothing too sugary, you don't want a full on melt down if it can be avoided but frankly, whatever it takes.
– Pack as many Calpol sachets that you can cram into that clear plastic bag
– Don’t underestimate how many changes of clothes will be required. For you and the children.
– Pack nappies, lots of nappies, the little mites know that the nappy changing facilities in aeroplane toilets are tight, so they save up their poo’s. If your child is old enough, pull up nappies are a life saver, and make a standing- on- the- toilet- nappy- change possible.
– And finally, leave your pride and dignity at the plane door. It is about survival, not about worrying what the other passengers are saying about you under their breath!
Please do share your tips in the comments below.