We are not a globetrotter but we do love traveling. We don’t travel around the world as many as we want but every year we always have at least 1 trip that involves at least 16 hours trip in the plane. Yes, that trip is going to Indonesia, my hometown. The other trip is just a trip surrounding The Netherlands, which we quite often do it… usually during weekend.
We are not a super cool family traveler who can write a blog about our traveling but maybe I can share some tips about how we do traveling across the continent, more than 16 hours flight with a toddler and a baby.
Here are the tips:
1. A few weeks before going with a plane
We flew with a plane, across the continent, as a family with kids, since our first son was 6 months old. We flew to Australia. The last time we flew with our kids, 3 y.o and 11 months old, was last month, on the way back to Holland from Indonesia.
For us, the most important preparation is explaining to them that we will go in the plane and what they will expect to see, to know, to touch, to eat, to do, to hear, to listen, basically everything…
We started it by looking at the sky when a plane fly above the sky and we started talking to our sons what is inside the plane… and continue having casual conversation when we see a plane on television or someone is going with a plane or a book with a plane picture, etc.
…and we also said to them what we expected from them when we were in the plane.
It helps ! A lot !! They were prepared, mentally.
2. The D-day.
Both of our sons are very extrovert. They gain energy by being in the crowd and they love making contact with everybody… and our eldest son loves having conversation with everyone. The more tired they are, the more active they can be. Unbelievable! 🙂 but it’s true.
We are fully awared of that.
So, our plan was keeping them active and awake and just waiting the moment that they were very sleepy and slept by themselves.
They loved to move, to be active, to run, to crawl, to speak with strangers, to sing a song, etc.
So, the day before we were leaving, I and my husband tried to have a lot of rest and took a vitamin. We knew that we won’t sleep long in the plane which was true!
We brought a lot of toys but that didn’t really work with our sons. They are extrovert, so they needs to see the world around them ! Let it be. If that is the case with your children… Let them walking around and go to the stewardess place in the back of the plane.. usually there are some spaces for the baby and kids to stretch their feet.. Have fun with your baby. Be ready to be tired and not sleeping.
It works that way!
My eldest son slept almost 11 hours in the plane after watching frozen and toy story. So we could focus on taking care of our baby.
So, the tips are… we have to know what is the character of our kids. What is the thing that can keep them entertain… don’t worry if they cry in the plane. Be ready for that and distract them as necessary as possible but let it be if they just want to cry.. other passengers will understand that.. trust me. Especially when we seat in economy class… some people might get irritated but let it be… they won’t see us again.. what matter is your family and your emotion, so manage it well. 🙂
My tips, I always say to people who sit next to us that my baby will cry and I apology if that bother her/him. Smile, heads up, be a parents who take care of their baby, and people will see your effort and understand your battle.
In our experience, children or baby will cry once a while but they will stop anyway when they sleep or get distraction. Let be honest, as an adult, we also feel super tired and get bored with 16-18 hours flight, up in the air… if we can cry, we will.. but we know that we are not allowed, we are adult!. So let the baby cry once a while.. they feel bored as well and crying is the only thing they can do to express their super boredom feeling.
We also used baby carrier in the plane (see the picture at the bottom, my hubby used it), the boba carrier that we borrowed from our good friend. Our baby slept easily in the carrier. Whenever he felt sleepy, he just slept right away there. 🙂
I always see myself that I will be in the battle when I fly with my kids. So, I prepare my energy, my mood and my emotions. That’s my only strategy. The rest is the same like everybody else: bring a lot of toys, bring a lot of spare clothes for the kids and for the adults, bring water in a good bottle (they will allow it), a lot of cookies, wear a very comfortable yet warm clothes and shoes, bring everything that makes you feel ready to be in the battle! 🙂
Don’t worry about the stewardess, they are all very helpful !
I don’t know why but in every trip, every single time we were landed and about to leave the seat, the stewardess always, always hug or just touch my shoulder and they said “you are doing good, mom!”… one or two times I really cried in front of them.. felt so relief that I was doing great as a mother with kids in the plane. I think that is quite an achievement, isn’t it.
3. The Kids’ jetlag
Trust me, there is no other tips then Let it Flow ! 🙂 The first few days when we were in Indonesia, they woke up around 2-3am and stayed awake until 5am Indonesia time (that is around midnight in Holland). We just followed our natural-biology rhythm. But we tried always put them in bed the same time as we put them in bed while we are in Holland, 8pm. After a week, their body could follow the Indonesia time.
The same as when we arrived back in Holland. We just keep on with the routine we usually do when we are here. When they woke up in the middle of the night, just let it be.. but let them know that was still midnight and everybody should sleep. Be consistent with the rhythm and enjoy the lack of sleeping. 🙂
As a parent, we just have to be prepared not having a long rest, that’s all. Drink a lot, eat healthy, take vitamin, are the tips.
4. The hotel
Our eldest son never has difficulty sleeping on the same bed with us, while our youngest has difficulty doing that. He wanted to sleep on his own crib, and preferably in his own room (but that can’t during traveling). So, he had some times struggling to sleep with another people in the same room although he slept in his own crib. If that’s the case, always order the baby box in advance. It is also very handy to keep them safe, playing in the box while we take shower.
5. The program
We love meeting people so our agenda always full with meeting up people. My suggestion is… try to meet 1 people/group of people per day. The rest, try to spend time with family/kids.
My eldest son had some moments that felt so confused because everyone spoke different than him and he couldn’t understand everyone, although his grandparents speak dutch. But he loves talking to everyone, that made him sad for 1-2 weeks and didn’t feel so secure with the environment. I will feel the same if I’m in a new country that I don’t understand the language… like the first time I was in Holland, it was stressful.
But.. sooner he understood that people can speak many languages and he tried to catch up.. and willing to learn some words and sentences.
We should put our kids needs in priority.. we should make them feel secure that the new world they enter isn’t scary. We are there for them.
At the end, we had a fabulous holiday! 🙂 The children met their grandparents and I met my family and my hubby met his in-laws. 🙂
We will not do trip to Indonesia this year because we want to have a trip to France and do camping in this summer holiday 🙂 So, wait for our adventure.. a camping trip! A true dutch summer holiday trip.
For parents who want to have a long haul trip with their kids: Good luck and Have fun !! 🙂
Here was when we were about to leave Holland 🙂
Here was when we arrived in Schiphol ! 🙂