There’s a stigma about taking a child with you on a long flight. And when I say long, I mean a twelve hour flight. Nobody relishes incessant kicking on the back of their seat or kids’ screams that are louder than the sound of the plane engines.
World traveller, Toastmaster, and father extraordinaire Jon Krellwitz has some advice for those contemplating buying that extra ticket for the youngster. First, weigh the pros and cons:
- You can check more luggage for free.
- You move faster through security.
- You’re allowed to take liquid.
- You get to board the plane first.
- Flight attendants are typically really sweet.
- There is an imminent possibility that every living person within a ten-foot radius may hate you and your screaming child.
- Changing a diaper in a tiny, turbulent airplane bathroom can turn into a big mess.
- You may not sleep–at all.
Next, if you’ve made that decision to bring your toddler along, consider these survival tips from Mr. Krellwitz and his one year-old Rhys, who returned from a 12-hour trip from New Zealand:
- Is your kid having a melt down? Smile and offer earplugs to the grumpy passengers around you.
- Pack extra snacks for the youngsters.
- Have some surprise games for the kids.
- Have somebody pick you up at the airport, so you don’t have a meltdown.
Another friend of mine had the advice of offering chocolate chip cookies and making friends around you pre-emptively before take off. Also, if you’re feeding an infant, try to coordinate feeding times with the ear-ritating noise of take off and landing.
Travelling with toddlers takes a lot of work and may rob you of full relaxation however once you get to your destination, the mood changes. Krellwitz rejoices, “No adventure worth living is ever easy, and the opportunity to expose your children to new cultures, new experiences, and the beauty of the world around us is unforgettable.”