It’s been a while since my last post but I’m still here, and by here I mean completely dissorientated somewhere in Seattle. I’m loving being back in an English speaking country again (yay!) but I’m also heartbroken as we missed out on the dream house last week. A mid century modern doer-upper, I had so many dreams for our little family there – but it wasn’t meant to be.
While we are unfolding our lives and continuing the house hunt I have a lovely guest post from a frequent flying Mumma and beautiful friend Bex Jenkins as she travels her way around the world with Teddy.
Where have you been lately Bex?
We flew from our home in Sydney to London to visit my family in the UK. I was with my very active toddler, Ted who’s 2.5, and my husband, Alex. It’s almost a 24-hour journey with a short stop in Singapore.
How do you feel about flying with a toddler?
I’ve lost count of the flights we’ve done with Ted, but this must have been number 20, I think, and many of those have been long-haul journeys. Even so, I feel nothing but panic and fear before a flight. It’s an endurance test and you never know quite what’s going to happen.
What is your carry-on bag of choice?
I definitely recommend using a backpack – we have a PacaPod rucksack. It’s a good size, leaves your hands free, and it’s easy to get into. I also like the little mini bags, called ‘pods’, for nappies and food that come with these bags, but you could set up something similar with little wash bags or even zip-lock bags.
What is in your hand luggage?
We try to keep things simple but we do take comfort items and of course plenty of nappies and wipes.
Change of clothes (for all of us: I ended up with orange juice all over me on our last flight)
Sippy cup and soy milk
Ted’s favourite blanket
A few small toys (you can wrap them for added interest)
Dry snacks – cereal, bread sticks and rice crackers.
Empty zip-lock bags – great for rubbish or dirty and wet clothes.
An iPad and toddler-sized headphone – load the tablet with all their favourite shows. Don’t rely on the in-flight entertainment system just in case it’s not working or just isn’t their cup of tea.
Who did you last fly with and were they accomodating with kids?
British Airways in economy. The service was fine onboard and they were helpful during check-in too, tagging our pushchair so we could collect it at the gate in Heathrow. When Ted was younger we took quite a few flights with them in premium economy and the service was really excellent. I remember the stewards being so helpful, especially when I was by myself. Now Ted is bigger we prefer going economy as the armrests don’t move in the premium economy cabin, so it’s harder for him to get comfy.
When travelling with an older baby, I loved that BA have bassinets in all cabins but they will also provide a little chair for older babies, which fits in front of your seat in the bulkhead.
Any thoughts on seating with a toddler?
Last time we sat in a row of three and we didn’t request the bulkhead. We’ve been caught out sitting in the bulkhead as although you have more room, the arm rests don’t move, which is no good for a sleepy toddler who wants to lie on mummy. Of course, you then have people sitting in front of you who may not appreciate all the noise and movement from your little one. It’s a toss-up.
What is the hardest part of flying with a toddler?
Keeping Ted on his seat when he’s tired and can’t focus on much at all. Occasionally we have had people in front who are not very patient with all his wriggling.
What are your best pieces of travel advice for other parents travelling with little ones?
Travel light. When you’re hustling your exhausted crew through the airport you will be thankful.
Also label EVERYTHING. Put tags on every hand luggage bag and use those sticky school name labels on iPads and favourite drink bottles. Despite trying to travel light, you may end up with lots of bags and bits and it’s so easy to misplace something at the airport or even when you disembark the plane.
I definitely recommend eating in the airport before you get on the plane. It’s very hard to feed yourself and a little one onboard.
If there’s time before you board, and you can find the facilities, you could even have a shower before you get on, and I’d recommend doing the same if you have a longer stop-over. A lot of the shower rooms and toilets in the Asian airports have little seats to put a baby or toddler in, while you use the facilities. Or you can both get in the shower together. It sounds like a faff, but honestly, it’s so worth it.
Ask if you can collect your pushchair from the gate when you arrive as it makes such a difference getting through the airport at the other end.
I also tell everyone who’s flying with a small baby to use a carrier like ergo baby, especially if you are travelling by yourself. It’s just so useful in the airport and when you are walking up and down the aisles on the plane.
What 3 essentials items couldn’t you live without on the flight?
I always take my own neck pillow, eye mask and lip balm. I know I won’t be getting much sleep, but at least these things make me a little more comfortable. My neck pillow and eye mask are from Muji. I love their travel range. My favourite lip balm is EOS egg – gorgeous colours and scent and easy to find in the hand luggage.
“Of course, keep in mind the real highlight which is seeing family at the other end. It makes the travel all worthwhile.”
Thank you for being our featured Mumma Bex. I love getting inspiration from you at Cup of Tea and a Bex and following you and Teddy around the world. I’m always learning things from you on your travels and I’m so glad we met the way we did in Beijing.