5 Tips for smooth traveling and why it’s worth the flight!
On a recent flight from Marrakech to Rome there was a two-year-old in the row in front of us, a two-year-old behind. Our three-year-old was at home and so I felt grateful that our row was adults-only. But the amazing thing about both families is that they had brought nothing and I mean NOTHING to entertain the toddlers. I would be bored on a three hour flight without entertainment so you can imagine what happened to these two: squirming, kicking the seat in front, and crying every 15-minutes (not that I was counting). We have been flying with our son since he was eight weeks (we have done China, Brazil, Cambodia, Thailand, Argentina, Japan, and the Philippines among the long hauls) and the lack of a flight plan by these two families reminded of what has become five travel musts when flying with our son.
Activity book or stickers for take-off and landing: This is one of the most crucial and often tantrum-inducing moments of the trip because you must stay seated with your seatbelt on without using your electronics (try explaining that to the under five set!). For this section of the journey, stickers and sticker books (ones that have not been seen before) work like a dream.
Snacks: Who wants to depend on the airlines to provide a kid-friendly meal? On a recent flight to New York the child’s meal had cookies, a candy bar and potato chips. You want to give my kid the equivalent of crack midway over the Atlantic? No thanks. I usually pack a couple of sandwiches like peanut butter and jelly, and simple pecorino (yes we are from Pienza), fruit like bananas and green apples, crackers, and some kind of sweet treat like a lollipop or cookie. I also found this awesome bento box so we can do a whole meal on board.
iPad: For those of you who don’t let your kids watch TV or shows, kudos to you, but the entertainment of the iPad is unmatched for us flight-wise. Peppa Pig, Nathaniel Tiger, Bubble Guppies and Dora are among the shows we download before take-off. Again novelty is best so pick episodes that haven’t been watched a million times before.
Gather allies: When I get onboard I always look for a kind looking attendant and some mellow looking neighbors and make sure to be particularly polite and apologetic if Jacopo gets rowdy. Usually if you make a good impression right off the bat you can get through the flight without anyone hating you. I have had attendants put Jacopo to sleep, give him special presents, all because we turned on the charm early.
Admit defeat: My mother-in-law tells this hilarious story about taking one of the babies from her adoption agency to his new family and he cried the ENTIRE way from Hong Kong to Amsterdam. She spent most of the time in the bathroom—the fan blocks out the sound of wailing and the mirror distracts. I too have spent some time in the toilet with Jacopo, and yes I know it isn’t the most sanitary spot but I find 15 minutes in there can change the mood entirely.