Rather bravely, we have decided to get on an aeroplane next week with two children. Regular readers of my blog will know that we have had some awful travel experiences, from projectile vomiting on takeoff, flying home from the Caribbean early, to unending hysteria (and that was just me). However, sometimes you just need a holiday, and with Mr. G working away most weeks, we thought a week of snowy fun was exactly what we needed. So, I've been thinking of ways to make the travelling easier, and asking friends and relatives what they recommend, and have come up with these travel tips.
1. Do not assume you can get children's first passports in a day or two. I nearly had a nervous breakdown this week, when I was told the only possible way to get my son a passport in time was to travel up to Liverpool. Luckily, I managed to get it sorted in London, but don't be dopey like me, leave three weeks for a first passport, as even with the fast track service, getting appointments can take weeks.
2. If you are travelling with a baby, morning flights are definitely easier. By the afternoon or evening, thy are already pretty tired and grumpy, and might not sleep well. We have found that you can't assume a baby will sleep on a plane, so we'd rather lose a daytime nap.
3. Calpol, calpol, calpol. Preemptive dosing, especially in teething children, might sound a bit controversial, but if their little tubes or gums are tender to start with, I think it's kinder to ease any possible pain. I've travelled with a sore wisdom tooth, and can assure you, it was hellish.
4. Entertainment on flights or car journey's is critical. iPad's are worth their weight in gold, beg, borrow or steal (not literally), and upload as many episodes of Peppa/Thomas or some favourite films and apps to keep little ones quiet. I've also created a lucky dip bag for our flight, with lots of new books and magazines (and maybe a Cinderella doll, but don't tell anyone!) to keep Fifi entertained. You can buy sticker books and activity packs for a few pounds on Amazon.
5. This one is going to be painful to write, but in my experience drinking alcohol on a flight with children makes it so much harder. It's your call, but 8 hours of screaming seem to hurt more after a glass of wine, and certainly make pacing up and down the aisle on a bumpy plane interesting.
6. On takeoff, babies can really struggle to pop their ears, so giving them a dummy or bottle of water to suck on is great. However, if you're going with the bottle option, make sure you only start just before lift off. I tanked my daughter up with so much water before we had even started moving, that her tummy was so full, the pressure of taking off made the water come straight back out. Heaven.
7. If your kids scream the entire way, know that you will get death stares and lots of sighs from people around you, but just ignore it. I am always amazed by how some people can be so mean when your baby is crying. I know it's annoying, I have it ringing in my ears and will probably be hearing it for the next 2 weeks, but it's not as if I poked my child to make them cry.
8. After an 8 hour flight from hell, be mindful that your husband will still want to take photos.....