I was asked recently when we started travelling with Cheese. I didn’t think we’d travelled much with her, since she was such a tough baby and crazy active toddler, but when I added up the trips we’d done, it turns out our little lady is a pretty experienced world traveller already. In her three short years she’s flown from Sydney to New York three times, and has also been on trips to Hawaii, San Francisco, Canada and Mexico. Huh. Guess we travel more than I’d thought.
We’ve been on so many big long flights now that I feel like I’ve got travel with a little one down to a fine art – as much as that’s possible. While there will always be times when they won’t nap on the plane, or they’re bored and have a meltdown (and don’t get me started on the jetlag), travel with a little kid has gotten less stressful with the right tools. I’m sharing them below in case you’d like to try them too.
We acquired an insanely cute Sunny Trunki kids’ suitcase for Cheese before our recent Queensland trip. The Trunki is a hand-luggage sized ride-on suitcase that is the perfect size to pack with everything you might need to entertain a kid on a flight.
Made from lightweight, durable plastic, the Trunki has a removable shoulder strap and can be used in three ways: The kid pulls it along themselves, then when said kid gets tired they can ride on it while you pull them along, and, finally, when it’s time to board the plane, the shoulder strap clips onto both sides so it can be thrown over your shoulder. While Trunkis are easy to find in the US, in Australia, you can get them from David Jones. Seriously, this ride-on suitcase made our last trip so much easier.
I take a backpack that does double duty as a day bag when we’re out and about on our trips. I’m currently using a really cute backpack from Smiggle that has a laptop sleeve in the back, two pouches on either side for mine and Cheese’s water bottles and a front pocket where I shove anything needed urgently, like nappies, wipes, change mat.
We still take the stroller with us as we walk a lot and if we don’t take it, someone always ends up carrying the Cheese. We love our stroller, the UppaBaby G-Luxe. We bought it in the US, but they’re also available in Australia. The G-Luxe is the lightest reclining stroller in its class (Cheese will still occasionally nap in it!). It’s so light that I can easily collapse it and carry it over one shoulder when I’m navigating public transport and chasing Cheese at the same time. I always check the stroller at check-in, and try to get one of the big plastic protectors for it from the flight desk so it doesn’t come out the other end totally destroyed.
I can still carry Cheese on my back in the Ergo (avail in the US and Australia), so I throw it in if we’re traveling somewhere that’s going to involve a lot of walking and isn’t stroller friendly.
For long flights in particular, several changes of clothing (something about flying makes babies especially poop A LOT), and as many nappies as you can squeeze in if you’re child still needs them. I used to pack lots of fruit pouches and I still pack lots of snacks and a sandwich. Staff on the flight will give you plenty more snacks and also refill milk bottles as requested. I always take one of Cheese’s old muslin swaddles (it still doubles as a shade from the sun and a light blanket) and her favourite blanket and lovie that she still sleeps with to help her nap on planes. The blanket Cheese is attached to is an old aden + anais Dream Blanket (available in the US and Australia) that is made from the same breathable muslin as their swaddles – it washes up really well and adds just the right level of warmth needed.
To amuse the kid
I always bring the iPad stocked with new games, movies and TV episodes and kids’ headphones (if we forget them, we use Alec’s wireless headphones in a pinch). I also throw in a few new toys like stickers, a magnetic travel kit, small colouring book, crayons, and figurines (Cheese’s favourites). I whip out anything new in moments of meltdowns. Her absolute favourite toy right now is her set of princess magic clips. They occupy her for literally an hour at a time, so we always bring them on flights and to cafes too.
What do you find makes travel with kids easier?