As I plan my annual vacation, my anxieties are getting the best of me. I have been doing this – traveling alone with my two young kids (now 6 and 4), for the last couple of years.
But why does this anxiety not get better with every experience?
Well, the answer is kids are growing, kids are changing! Every phase can pose a new challenge. Currently, my 4-year-old is in his most explorative phase of life. This brings running around naturally to him as does not watch out if I am around or not!
My six year one is better and more composed (most of the time) but together they are the devil team.
I am sure there are many mothers out there who might share the same anxieties as me and would be looking for tips on flying with two kids (or more).
So, let’s jump in to buckle ourselves with the right things to do and sail through the journey with the least hassle.
- Book morning flights/ departures and avoid late evening or night flights. We all know how kids are when they are close to a nap or bedtime. Those little munchkins turn into monsters in less than a second. Remember that while traveling with two kids, you need to manage not one but more. A hangry kid would create more load for you than the tonnes of baggage you would have packed. Hence, book a flight when your kids are active and charged to avoid all those mishaps. A morning flight suits me the best. Kids are super excited to travel and can be easily maneuvered.
- Seat Selection. Almost all airlines nowadays are offering preferred seat selection for a nominal fee. Though chances are that you can book your preferred seats during check-in, you might miss that chance if you are late. And I have been on flights where we were cramped up on the last seats on the aircraft, and even separate seats for our family. Also, try to get hold of the bulkhead seats, which are a relief, especially while traveling with a baby. Some airlines attach a bassinet (detachable cot) to the bulkhead seats. Hence, it is highly recommended to choose your sits when you are traveling alone with kids.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for any help. A mom alone traveling with two kids is seen as a priority. Ask for separate lines for families in the airport queues or for any support during your flight. Generally, the cabin crew is happy to help families traveling with kids for their and everyone else’s convenience (no pun intended).
- Keeps meds, an extra set of clothes, snacks, etc., in the hand baggage. Your hand-baggage is more valuable than bars or gold while traveling with two kids. Snacks, coloring books crayons, iPad, diapers, wipes, medicines, and more depending on the need and preferences of your kid is so important. Kids of today’s age need constant stimulation. To keep them occupied when the plane is waiting to fly or in the air, these items may come in handy.
- Elements of Surprise. Buy some toys or entertainment activity kits and hide them until your travel. When you exhaust all the available options, take out the hidden surprises and let them be engrossed for quite some time. This tip is highly useful when you are in for a long haul.
- Diapers. Though my kids are completely potty trained, I still carry diapers. Since covid, I have developed this habit of making them go in the diaper so a couple of diapers are always there with me wherever I go. If your kid is comfortable, they can even keep wearing it during the flight. The last thing you want is to keep running to the washroom when there is the last call to board.
- Light snacks and no overfeeding. Carry a bulk of light snacks and avoid any heavy meals if you are traveling with two young kids. It is okay if they are eating less than usual and munching on just snacks and fruits
- Prepare kids. I gave a full prep up on the entire process (check-in, immigration, security, boarding, etc.) starting from leaving home to reaching our destination. For kids who are old enough to understand (not necessarily everything), it might give them a sense of responsibility to contribute to the process.
- Skip shoes with laces. What they wear is so important as it needs to be comfortable. But don’t only focus on the clothing as shoes should be convenient to wear and take off too.
- Wear a backpack. I prefer to carry a big backpack that is spacious enough to carry all the essential documents and the kids’ stuff. When you are traveling with two kids or more, there can be a ton of things to carry. If they are big enough to carry their small backpack themselves, give them their activity kits, books, and snacks in their bags. Keep essential documents in an easily accessible pouch.
Preparation is the key. Be prepared and stay cool and it could actually turn into a fun trip. Don’t let the kids get bored and read about things to do when you are on vacation.