We did a total of almost 20 long haul flights with our toddler so I am really happy to share our learnings with you!
Travel Buggy or System
We absolutely could not survive without a buggy that we could literally roll onto the plane right up to our seat, and then depart the plane! When you are towing all your hand luggage and have an active toddler this is an absolute lifesaver, especially as you do not have to check it in. Its perfect especially if you are also navigating different time zones, or coming off a very late or early morning flight as your toddler can sleep in the buggy. Perfect especially to avoid any chaos in queues or long walks to the exit or passport control too! When you don't need it, these travel buggies can fold so small to fit into the overhead compartment space as hand luggage and you can carry it on your shoulder as a bag, which is perfect!
The three buggies that fit British Airways airline suitability criteria are the Baby-Zen Yoyo, Silver Cross Jet Cabin, and Bugaboo Butterfly, although we used only the former and the latter two are newly introduced in later years.
Well timed-snacks and meals
With young children snacks are a lifesaver, especially as they eating every few hours. We didn't carry too many but just enough for out outbound flight, and then got some at our destination for the stay and inbound flight. We found that also stopping at the lounge before the flight especially if it was a evening flight or lunchtime flight, for dinner or lunch, really helped keeping our son's mealtimes intact.
Activity Books and Toys
With a toddler, keeping them occupied on the flight is the biggest challenge. Here are activity books to the rescue! Colouring books, toddler friendly puzzles, and Magformers are perfect for this! Also, taking at least one new toy did the trick by adding a novelty factor.
Choose your flight time wisely
Of course this isn’t always possible but we do try to do this because it makes a huge difference. We’ve had many flights through the night where Mila has slept the entire flight and let me tell you there’s no better feeling if you have time to wait in the airports our advice is to tire them out as much as possible. Find an area they can run around, much easier in the airport than on the plane.
Extra change of clothes and underwear/nappies
A food or drink accident with a toddler is evitable, and don't forget the other types of accidents that happen especially if they are potty training. Extra changes of clothes, wet wipes and extra nappies are a must in the hand luggage.
Whilst I am not a fan of toddlers having too much screen time, sometimes have a savior or favourite movie or series downloaded on an ipad can be a saving grace, especially when it's a long day flight.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know what's worked for you!
The Kensington Diary