Thursday, May 31, 2012

Travelling with children - on planes, trains and coaches

Things to do prior to dis-embarking

Toilet time

Where possible go to the 'loo' before the seat belt sign flashes its final light-up.

It is way easier to do this now - without luggage once you have arrived in the terminal.
Insist your child tries to go, even if they say they can’t. 
Both 1’s and 2’s – remember Mum, it will be really annoying when you have all your bags in tow.

Remember when going to the bathroom, to take your valuables with you too.

This applies for any long distance travel, no matter if a coach, train or aeroplane.


Firstly, grab a bottle of water from the flight attendant to take with you.  You cannot use the sink water in your mouth.

Clean your teeth (with the bottled water only), use a cake / stick body anti-per-spirant freshener and wash your face now too. (Remember roll-ons and sprays are not allowed on international flights).

Give yourself plenty of time, before they announce you must return to your seats.

Change clothing

Now is the time to possibly change clothes if the climate will differ.  Or to just pop on a new t-shirt and clean clothes.

Children may require a whole outfit change, so hope you are prepared. 
Travel seems to go hand in hand with spillages.
Alas, my son ripped the top off his juice last flight, and in saving it from going all over the business man next to him, it went all over my sleeve.

Look smart on arrival – the classier you look, the better you will be treated, is a good general rule of thumb.  This applies to customs to.

Check you have jackets, and if it is raining, have a poncho or rain jacket at the top of your back-pack for when you get out.

Remember in some destinations, you will be walking across the tarmac too !

Eat & Drink up, and stash away!

Try to eat and take snacks provided on flights.
Pop left overs that are feasible in your backpack for later. 

This is really handy for long bus and taxi rides once you 'hit the dirt'.
If there is bottled water, ask for an extra 1 or 2 for the next journey.
You may need it for not only drinking but teeth cleaning too.

I take a couple of flat drink bottles, and fill with free wine, juice etc too – great for the first night.
Fill your water bottles up with water, juice, wine etc provided.
If bottled water is not available, take your drink bottles down to the server bay, and flight attendants will willingly fill 1 each for you. 
Be considerate, and don't ask to fill a dozen !

Do not expect there to always be a store you can purchase these items on your arrival, and as a Mum you need to be prepared.

Check your items

Tuck away money belts.

Check seat pockets.

Look under seats.

Pack away jackets and loose clothing.

Double check your valuables, especially electronic games and computers if they have been used on the flights.  Kids will not remember, so you must !

Get out your arrival card and passport - accessible, but kept safe.

Don’t stress if you are last off the plane if it means gathering your gear and keeping together.

A few people in front of you won’t make the difference unless you have a connecting flight/travel plans.

If you are running late for a connecting flight or train etc., do tell the airline staff. 

Sometimes they will move you down the front if you ask, for rapid departure.  

Can be handy if your bags are checked through, but not otherwise.

Stay connected

We use a connector strap. 
It has two clips, and we it was fashioned from a child harness.
It is a short adjustable band and clip for each wrist. 
The interlocking strap then connects us together.

This is put on as soon as we stand from our seats.

Hustling crowds separate children from parents in a flash. 
This can start in the aisles of an aircraft, and the child is washed away with the human tide.
Everyone is pushing – they will ignore you or not understand you. 
Always have your child stand immediately in front of you.

Our connector strap also has two short clasp straps, so we can interlock our backpacks together when we sit around a chair leg to avoid theft too.

The two short clasp straps are also handy on the plane – I have known someone who put their bag under the seat in front of them, only for it to be pulled forward and pilfered when they were asleep. 
Clip your bags together around the leg of the seat in front – they can be pulled toward you but not under the seat.

Lastly, Count your bags

Have a bag count at all times - you have to multi-task through customs etc, and this will help.