We live in Hawaii and often get island fever (Hence, my blog is islandfeversisters.com), so we are constantly traveling and teaching our little toddler what jet-setting is all about (learning different cultures, eating new foods and being grateful). Just recently, we traveled to Japan, which was our longest flight with our daughter. We've had plenty of practice from traveling within our continental US flights, that I was sure to make our first international trip a success. Don't get me wrong, I was still worried of how she would handle such a long flight, but with many trials and errors of our prior trips, I knew I had learned the ropes of making my daughter a happy traveler.
Tip #1- I always schedule our flight around her nap time. Traveling is extremely stressful, so making sure the first few hours of the flight is somewhat calm while she takes a nap really helps my husband and I wind down. The craziness of just getting to the airport with all the luggage and going through security with a toddler can be hectic.
Tip #2- Make sure everyone eats before getting on the airplane. When hunger is involved during the beginning of trip, this can cause everyone to go HANGRY and that just adds more stress and tension. Avoid this at all costs. Everyone is happier on a full tummy.
Tip #3- Bring lots of healthy snacks and water! If you are traveling with kids, you are allowed to bring water through TSA which is helpful, because it's always at the worst time when your toddler is crying for water.
Tip #4- Make sure to pack gummy bears or chewy fruits for your kids' ears. Take-off and landing can be really stressful for both parents and your little one's ears, so make sure to give them these to help relieve the pressure, and they love the little treat too.
Tip #5- Bring their favorite animal that turns into a travel pillow. I love Kikkerland's Zip and Flip Elephant Travel Pillow zip and flip travel pillow. It's like a 2-in-1! (They make other animals, so pick their favorite one and surprise them with it on the flight)
Tip #6- Pack a ton of activities for them. Melissa and Doug has the best travel activities like the reusable sticker book which keeps them busy forever. Also, the travel aquadoodle has been a hit and also takes up little space.
Tip #7- Last but not least, the iPad! I know some parents don't like screen time, but this has been extremely helpful when it comes to traveling. Screen time isn't necessarily a bad thing. My daughter has learned so much from her iPad as there are educational videos, songs and games. It's all about balance and moderation!
Hope these tips can make you and your kids happy while traveling as it has helped us. I honestly believe traveling is the best education you can give to your child.