I just want to be as transparent as possible so I’m not misleading anyone. I travel alone, with my son, he is not yet a year old. Traveling with kids 9-12 months old is purely personal experience. I have no previous experience of traveling with children and what may suit me and Oscar Chang might not be everyone’s bag. We are again, NOT affiliated with any of the brands and should that change I will be both jumping for joy and letting you know all about it.So I experienced a mega shock to my travel plans in July, my son decided it was time to take his first steps, they were by no means tentative. He took 3 then 5 and then just decided that’s it, I’m walking. I was under the impression kids walked age 2?! Anyway moving on. We had a few trips planned one short haul 2:45 flight time (Fabulous Montpellier click for post) and one long haul 7 hours and 30 minutes (NYC shame on me still not posted!) to be precise. I had to rethink my mindset my attitude and my whole approach to the up coming journeys.
Here is what I have learnt.
Traveling with kids 9 – 12 month old
As Oscar is an active child I decided to manage his energy levels in order to make my travel experience more painless. I time naps and active play around flight times at least a day or so in advance. Adding a few playmates and trips to the park before a long trip and just shifting naps by 30 – 45 minutes can drastically alter a travel experience. We tend to stay up late and move into a new time zone at least two days in advance too. If you are on a quick trip to a new time zone this can almost make the transition painless and leave more time for having fun rather than fighting jet lag.
Oscar now has his own little bag. It has lots of compartments and secret pockets for him to explore. In fact as I was setting up the photo for the post he could not help coming over and opening up the bag to see what was inside. Foolproof! I tend to pack the smallest toys we own as inevitably the bag gets added to on our travels. Eek. We just love Best Years like our dinosaur, Vilac wooden toys like our car and again Lilliputiens bags, bright and busy books and snacks. Snack and food are my particular savior. When I’m at home meal times feel like they take forever and I am always trying to jolly things along. When I travel I’m so grateful meal times are so entertaining ha ha.
Carrots, Grapes, Puffs, Cheerios, Cheese, Crackers, Banana, all in my trusty Nuk. It used to be jars and ziplock bags but since my Nuk a brand new NYC find I haven’t looked back. See travel can be so helpful.
I have a very clear schedule of flight / long train ride activities. It helps me feel sane and patient because I know that there is less room for meltdowns. The first hour is spent exploring. We walk over all available spaces and smile and bother anyone who will pay attention to us. These potential “friends” can always come in handy later down the line. Making a good impression with the flight attendants is just as important for you as it is with your child. These guys ARE the inflight entertainment. They have so many tricks up their sleeves you will want to hug them and gift them at Christmas if you break this tough crowd. Dont be the one with 1000 bags and blankets and bumf, its not a hotel room its a flight. Relax. Once the meet and greet is done settle down for the food fight and then with any luck a nice long sleep. I do like to change him into pyjamas if it is an overnight flight and he is currently really into brushing his teeth so we do that too.
Oscar loves to wear the headphones and listen to music long haul and I find this far more fun then cartoons, who doesn’t like a singsong and some clapping at 4am right? Anyway its up to you, its that or screaming. Your choose, fellow passengers. Post nap we stay local with headphones and fun packs, reading books and playing with familiar toys. An hour before landing we take another lap of honor wash hands and get changed. I also breastfeed Oscar to aid with decompression but a bottle or dummy (pacifier) should do the job too.
I know this picture isn’t glamorous but this bad boy has traveled continents and its been a blessing. I carried Oscar exclusively until he was around 6 months old in my amazing Aprica which I still use. He is just too heavy now and a bit too wriggly to boot. The buggy works best for me in giant airports, possible delays and quick departures. Its also a familiar place for Oscar to be when we arrive in a new place, hotel or house. I did my research and budget and size were the most important for me so the Quinny Zapp Extra 2 was a clear winner. Its under £300 and every time I collapse it a member of cabin crew breaths a sigh of relief. Its teeny tiny. I then have a very lightweight sling for emergency mummy moments. Nothing beats close contact in times of stress and no expensive buggy beats mummy hugs. You are also have two free hands for all that ticket, passport, bag, coffee juggling.
Making your mobile and inquisitive child feel like they do have the freedom to explore on a long journey is key. This is why I tend to do the walking and exploring right at the start rather than as a last resort. Your child feels you, every anxiety, every hesitation every angry spark. If you approach travel as a happy, exciting and up beat activity your child will too. Relax, have fun, explore and be creative. Inflight sock puppets are funny for more than one audience member. Don’t be scared to make some noise, I defy you to find someone who doesnt like to hear baby giggles. Screaming not so much.
I would love to hear more from you about any tricks and advice you have discovered on your journeys. so please comment away. We have a great Facebook site to check out too and post on too. https://www.facebook.com/mywelltraveledfriend
Of course what works for my child may not work for yours. Tweak, add, adjust and customize for your own kids, you know them best after all. Whatever you do don’t stop traveling your children will thank you for it trust me. Your making memories, shaping minds and instilling confidence and a sense of discovery. Who will remember another night watching Frozen on the sofa in pajama’s? Seeing your first seal or running through your first sprinkler in Brooklyn, now that they will remember forever. I know Oscar Chang will!!!
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