Kids. What’s the secret to traveling with kids? How do you ensure they stay interested in a long haul flight? Adhere to flight safety instructions? Toilet break?
Well I thought I had done research and had a plan until four weeks ago when I had to travel with my 4 year old from Botswana 🇧🇼 to Czech Republic 🇨🇿
She’s very feisty and strong willed and thrives on consistency so days prior to our departure I loaded all her fave music and cartoons on a phone for her to play with on the journey. Even took some fave snacks for her to nibble on Yaay, mommy has a plan!
Our first leg of the trip was a 55 minutes flight to Johannesburg. Her excitement knew no bounds and I thought great, shes gonna fall asleep the moment we fly out! But alas nope!! I had a great travel companion❤️ in her with whom I chatted about everything! When the captain announced our descend into OR lo and behold, lil missy falls into a deep sleep!! The black mark on my leg is evidence of missing a step trying to board the bus taking us to the terminal, lugging two bags and a sleeping heavy tiny person!!!
So then came the 4 hour wait before our next flight. We sit at the restaurant and view planes coming in and out. Lil Miss is having a dramatic moment because she’s bored out of her mind and she doesn’t want any of the food on the menu!! She just wants French toast!!!! I mean, I make it for her at home and she keeps telling me she doesn’t like it, and now she’s asking for it on the flight and in an airport restaurant!!! Incredible!!
Pssss, I pleaded and offered to pay extra for it, but the restaurant flatly refused to make one for her. ☹️
We finally get to the boarding queue for our 9 hour flight to Istanbul and she makes a new friend, thanks to a Peppa Pig book the friend had! 😃 We smile gratefully to one another with the other mom because the wait was beginning to bring out the niggles from the girls, and hands were held while reading the book!! Kudos to the airline for a smooth boarding experience and for the selection of cartoons. She didn’t even want her phone on the flight! We agreed though that at a certain time, we are having a screen off moment and she has to sleep. My negotiation skills grew on this trip!! 😂 She still refused to eat and only had water and some juice!
We get to Istanbul and we have to find the airline desk to get our boarding passes for the next leg. Not the greatest experience. Time not on our side ( the time differences are deceptive), having to deal with a long walk up the stairs as elevators weren’t working, no assistance from airport staff who simply didn’t want to speak English (they did speak it to other people) and a looooooong walk to the security gates! Attempts to get a ride on the countless carts were futile: they just refused to give us a ride! Lil miss was flatly refusing to walk even the shortest distance!! The term super mom has gained a new respect from me! By the time I got to our boarding gate, I honestly could feel my abs hardening and my arms resembling Michelle Obama’s!!💪🏽
After 14 hours of lugging two bags and a kid, we were finally in Prague! Phew!
My take 5 on this:
1. There’s nothing like a plan when traveling with kids! Just be open minded and patient patient patient!!
2. Some airlines and airport staff don’t care that you’re with a child, so don’t expect assistance on that basis. But fellow travelers can be so awesome and helpful. I’m grateful for all the assistance I got.
3. Children are resilient and can be very helpful with luggage and lightening the mood! Of course I had to do a lot of bribing with bubble gum, so pack lots of it!
4. Check in ALL the luggage and just have on you a backpack with just essentials to free your hands for a loooot of “mommy pick me up please” moments. I learnt the hard way!
5. A stroller would have been great especially for moments when she fell asleep. so choose airlines that allow it for that age!
So what are your tips! Let’s engage…..