"We travel not to escape our life, but to stop life from escaping us"
Slowly we make our way up to the counter, tickets scanned, passports checked and off down the gangway to the awaiting plane. There are already people shuffling their bags into the overhead compartments and as we make our way into the back of the plane we see the all to familiar look from surrounding seats 'They have kids, this is going to be the longest flight ever'. I'm sure if you have flown this has been a reality for you as a parent.
To be honest we are very lucky, our kids have traveled by planes, trains, and automobiles from a very young age and now they take it like champs. However we do have a few good techniques for making especially long haul plane journeys more smooth sailing.
- Our first angle of attack is to always try and fly on an overnight. This at least gives us the best chance of have some solid sleep for us, and both the girls during the flight. It also eats up the miles/ hours.
- Next we make sure we have some kids shows and movies downloaded to our IPad. This has saved me more than once on long haul flights. There is nothing like Curious George to quell a rebellion brewing in the center seat.
- We ask for extra blankets. Our oldest daughter is 3 and gets fidgety after a few hour in the seat. Now we ask for a couple of extra blankets and when she start wanting to stretch out she will make a blanket bed on the plane floor by our feet, stretch out and lay down. Yes, we get some funny looks but it seems to work and after about 20 minutes she is back up in her seat happy again.
- Noodle pots and squeeze snacks are a must. Although most airlines now serve food on long haul flights our kids eat constantly. We keep a few noodle pots and some fruit squeeze pouches in our carry on bag as well as a water bottle. The flight attendant will happily put hot water in the noodles and both snacks create little chance for mess.
- Coloring books or plain paper with a couple of pencils is another great go to. They are compact and can be a nice change up for our kids when they are tired of watch the iPad.
- Exploring the cabin is one of Lucy's pass times while flying. We will stroll up to the front and chat to the attendants then to the back to see where all the food is stored. Its a good chance to stretch legs and let our girls feel like they aren't trapped in their seats.
Lastly the biggest thing we have found about long haul flights is, in the words of Lucy's favorite Disney character, to just 'let it go'. So some guy cuts in front of you during boarding, who cares. You plug your head phones in and only one ear is working, whatever. Your flight is delayed by an hour, no problem. Just let it go. If you are stressed and anxious your kids will know and that will make them the same, which in turn will set the foundation for flight anguish. Take it in your stride, after all you're on holiday!