Teresa, Local Community Manager for Wandsworth
My daughter loves food so on long flights I make sure to pack Bickiepegs, a teething cookie. They are super convenient – you just put the cookie around the thread and attach it to a dummy whip and children can munch on them. This keeps them busy for a while, and spares me from a hungry, crying baby! Definitely bring their favourite toys, especially if they make a small sound or rattle (the rattle was a live saver for me!)
On long car rides we put on her favourite cartoons and baby rhymes.
*Important tip*: make sure your child is not overdressed as it can get quite hot in the car and s/he can get very uncomfortable.
My check-list for travelling:
- Bring a fully collapsible pushchair so you can take it on board with you
- Check the airline terms and conditions for children
- Make sure you have a bassinet on the flight for small babies.
- To bring loads of baby wipes - this is a tip for everything really!
- If travelling to a hot country: bring baby sunblock cream, a hat and keep them cool and hydrated.
- Check at the airport if they have a family assistance service so you don't have to queue at security for too long.
- Sometimes security can open the baby food, so it is advisable to bring a spare formula bottle.
- Carry two transparent bags - one for the liquids and another one for baby food.
- For the aircraft take off and landing, it is important to give some milk or water to the baby as their ears can get uncomfortable from the air pressure.
- If you breastfeed, I would advise you to bring the pregnancy pillow for extra comfort.
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Modupe, Local Community Manager for Queen’s Park
Cameron is very easily entertained with an iPad with music and Paw Patrol on it. However, my biggest concern when travelling on a long flight with him was that he didn’t want to stay seated with his seat belt on. He would always take it off when he wasn’t supposed to, especially a few hours in when he was restless and bored of being on a plane. What really helped was my mum having a chat with him and making it his job to ensure that that his mummy kept her sealtbelt on and was nice and quiet throughout the flight. He takes responsibility very seriously and ever since then never takes his seatbelt off and tells me off when I do.
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Linsday, Local Community Manager for Notting Hill
We travel often to the States to visit family, and the jet lag can be tough. We try to prepare the kids in advance by gradually pushing their bedtime back 30 minutes at a time starting a couple of weeks before the trip. Even if we can get them halfway adjusted to the time change before we leave, it helps! Also, we learned the hard way never to take an afternoon or evening flight when headed west. Taking the first flight of the day makes the time change easier on everyone.
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Zainab, Local Community Manager for Wimbledon
My daughter struggles with sensory issues so we've always found it very convenient when we have our trusty travel cushion, her favourite jacket (she goes from "I feel hot" to "I feel cold" pretty fast), and even a change of clothes!
My check-list for travelling:
- Remember to pack sticker books. Children tire of colouring or reading so simple, fun activity books help keep them distracted
- Noise-cancelling headphone to help with the ears feeling wonky during travel
- Hate to admit it but pre-downloaded videos of Charlie and Lola and other favourites helped relax her down for naps too!
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help in case you have a tired kid on your hands, airports allow parents to jump the queues if we ask, try and have your kid climb aboard the baggage trolley at airports, if too tired to walk
- For yourself, don’t forget to pack an extra dose of patience, a carry on of good humour and bucket loads of energy to repeatedly answer “one more hour, not yet, just one more hour...”
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Julie, Local Community Manager for East London
My son is 14 months old and I have found a great duo for sleeping time or playtime on the go (plane, car or train):
- The CoziGo, a sun/sleep cover that fits bassinets and prams. I also managed to put it over a train seat, just to isolate baby from light and constant movements.
- And the Plane Pal, an inflatable cushion to make the plane/train/car seat bigger so he can sleep or play! Genius!
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Kripa, Local Community Manager for St. John’s Wood
Travelling with little ones is a tremendous joy, but let's face it - insanely stressful and tiring, not to forget the packing! With airlines tightening up the ropes even more with their luggage allowances and weight restrictions, it’s highly essential to pack smart and travel light.
My top travel hacks for keeping the sanity of a parent dealing with the insanity of a little one, two or more… from baby to big kid.
- Travelling with a small baby – the Flyebaby flight hammock. It’s ultra-compact, lightweight, washable, and easy to carry in a travel pouch. Leaves you hands-free and lets baby sleep in a better position. The main advantage of this little flight gadget is the face-to-face positioning making the flight more enjoyable and peaceful for parent and baby.
- Travel cot – Koodi Bubble Cot. I find this travel cot the lightest in weight and most practical to pack, occupying very little space in the suitcase. Easy to assemble and the zip up netted front allows air circulation within the cot and protects baby from mini beasts. The mattress is inflatable but purchased separately.
- Extension lead – An extension lead is essential and super practical. Avoids the tantrum when your child’s gadget is still in the queue for charging and not ready for when they need it.
- Trunki – a toddlers best travel buddy. Cute designs and appealing to toddlers, this little pull along trolley allows young ones to sit on their hand luggage and be pulled around when tired or simply pulled by themselves. It’s a ride on suitcase for little ones. Comes with stickers for personalisation – another something to do on the plane if you wish.
- Z-flyte – Scooters with hand luggage attached for children to carry their own stuff and you carry nothing! A scooter and hand luggage for kids, all in one! This ingenious scooter finally frees parents from having to carry kids hand luggage once they’re tired of carrying it themselves (often they get tired of it a little too quickly).
- Headphone Splitter – a tiny little gadget that can save carrying two tablets or share one tablet if the other one has lost battery.
- Travelling to a hot or tropical country? Having a wildlife adventure or even exploring the outdoors? Watch out for those child blood-sucking mosquitoes. These mosquito repellent stickers are lightweight, eco friendly and easy to use. No nasty chemicals as each patch contains Citronella, Eucalyptus and Peppermint, a natural and refreshing scent for humans but repulsive to insects. The repellent patch gets to work immediately. For best results, simply stick on clothes, hats, nappies, bags, sandals, pushchair, prams etc. Do not stick on skin. Each 3cm diameter patch provides 12 – 24 hours protection. Seal the packet to keep unused patches fresh.
- Neck pillow – another great hand luggage buddy. Provides neck support and added comfort for adults and children.
- Foreign currency – always take some with you and don’t wait to convert at the airport in case you arrive with tired and tantrummy kids. Have enough to buy food at arrival or a coffee and enough to pay taxi if needed.
- Medicine pack: you can’t travel without this! Mine includes the following items: Calpol in sachets, Nurofen in sachets (you don’t want to be carrying bottles), medicine spoons, vapour rub, thermometer, plasters, Arnica cream, Arnica pills (the latter two for bumps and bruises), teething gel or powder (for the ones with babies) and this is just about all you need for emergencies. Everything else can be bought at destination.
I’ve left this tip for last as I find that in this day in age the world has become a scary place. I have taught my children a “secret password” that is assigned and known only by their parents (thereafter given to adults and relatives we trust). They have been taught that if anyone (strangers or known people including relatives) approaches them with a gift, candy or invitation to go somewhere, they should request the password. If that person can provide it then my children know it’s safe to go with them or accept something from them. This password is secret so they know they must never reveal it. A good example of how this may be needed: We go to the beach every summer and beaches are packed. Say someone was to approach my child and say to them that they’ve come to get her to take her to mummy, that mummy is calling her. Chances are my child would go thinking she’s being taken to me. She would request the password and if the person was unable to provide, she would run to one of us or scream if she felt scared. This is so so important as children do get approached all around the world at playgrounds, parks, school exits etc. Our children need to be told that there are strangers out there that may tell lies and may take children away. Communication is key so keep informed and arm your children with tools to protect them.
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