How do we actually make those early morning flights, trains and buses and not cry? Travel with kids is 80% preparation and 20% mind-set. I say this with a healthy 18 month experience. A quick how to below.
Its hard enough to get your self ready for an early morning anything. If you’re like me anything before 7am actually makes me nauseous, unless, well this was back in the day, unless I actually just never made it to bed! If the prospect of early morning travel with kids makes you shudder don’t worry I’m here to help and I was a reluctant recruit.
Here’s the thing. Once your kids are passed around a year old evenings are just hard work. Everyone is exhausted (in my kids case, hyped) and no one wants to deal with anything anymore, kids included. By traveling on early flights, busses and trains you often get deals or less busy routes but also most importantly you are at your sanest and ready to deal with all the shit your child throws at you. Lets face it, your kid being awake 2 hours past bedtime on a fully booked flight say around 11PM is just an indescribable nightmare. You pray for Valium. Here is my hit list to success.
GET DRESSED BEFORE BED
Not you silly. Although you could if you wanted to. This will save you from waking your kids up early or at the very least take out the awkward “getting dressed” morning struggle. I dress Oscar Chang in comfortable, all in one jump suits the night before our early risers. They are both comfortable to sleep in and the poppers make an early morning change a breeze. Oscar has often slept through the whole process. We have been lucky enough that a friend introduced us to super cool London brand Oh baby London. There jumpsuits are just adorable and make me smile. The cotton knitted rocket all in one has been with us to 3 continents now. They also raise a smile with fellow passengers and we all know how ingratiating ourselves with the huffers and puffers is priceless. So choose your travel outfit wisely 🙂 Soft, natural, loose-fitting fabrics are the best. Cotton, bamboo etc.
PACK A FAVORITE DRINK OR SNACK
Can you imagine waking up on a train with two passengers peering down at you from the opposite seat (train scenario). Yes, this is not a pleasant place to be. My little traveler is more than used to this but if you travel only a few times a year this can be a real mood killer. Being woken and handed your favorite sippy cup or zip lock with your favorite raisins in it is often more palatable. Oscar loves his milk in the am and I always bring it on early morning trips in his current favorite cup.
I’m sure you have heard this one before 🙂 Really though, do yourself a massive favor and give yourself the time to get in and out of the cab, down stairs and finding elevators. It’s a fucking drag to be sweaty and stressed when you’re traveling and if you travel with kids it has an even bigger impact on everyone’s mood.
If you don’t every carry your baby in a pack, wrap or sling ignore this and move on. Stick to the pram, stroller or arm carry. We regularly use our baby carrier, the exact same one which I actually brought Oscar home from the hospital in. Cant believe it. Best investment ever. Anyway we hike in it, cycle in it and use it for flights, busses and trains. I try to anticipate sleeps and strap him in there so that if we are getting on and off a mode of transport he stay asleep and I stay hands free. Remember, there is no one to carry my bags, I’m a solo mum traveler so if I can do this, you can too! I smoothly transfer Oscar bed to carrier, to cab, to check in to flight. 3 hours of sleep and quiet. AMAZING.
STICK TO THE ROUTINE
I know this sounds absurd. Your going on holiday, what could possible be routine about that. Whatever, mind over matter. Give it a go, you will be amazed. Kids love routine and its important not to stop now. What do your mornings consist of that you can take with you. Washing faces, teeth or simply getting dressed. All this can be done on a plane, train or even a bus. If your child watched cartoons then of course bring those along too. Mine loves to eat. A big part of our early morning travel routine is having our favorite foods, bananas, pastry, milk and yoghurt. Oscar also loves to read in the morning so I always pack a few old and a few new books to entertain him. We get dressed into fresh clothes if we can once he is awake and we find a place to wash hands and teeth.
POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE
My final and most important lesson. Stay positive and up beat! The minute I lose my cool or feel overwhelmed by a scenario is the minute Oscar becomes a nightmare traveler. We had a very stressful bus journey across some mountain ranges in Mexico that I was NOT looking forward to. I did my research, I prepared and I tried to see the funny side before I started my day. I bought travel sickness tablets and drops for Oscar. I packed sick bags, fresh clothes and wet wipes. I even packed an eye mask so I just didn’t have to look at the precipice below because this was what was going to make ME stressed. Be honest with yourself. If it takes you a glass of wine to get on a flight at 7AM what the heck, your on holiday. If you worry about what other people think of your kids, find the nicest person to sit next to or speak to the staff on board and ask for help. Have fun, relax and most importantly enjoy the journey. A lot of fun can be had in a bus seat, you just have imagine its possible!
Wandering what to pack for a long haul flight with a baby? Check out our 9 – 12 month old travel guide.
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