Daunting isn’t it? The thought of flying with a small human in an enclosed space for hours on end, knowing at any given moment they can go OFF and totally ruin everyone’s experience. It’s a long process of keeping your little ones fed, happy, entertained, safe and also calm without annoying other passengers at the same time. Travelling alone is hard, I will say that. It’s exhausting and by the end of it, you’re ready to sleep for a week. But never fear. It doesn’t have to be so dreadful. With my tips, I’m going to help you ace the flight and get on your way to a stress-free trip.
1. DON’T go overboard with the carry-on luggage
I get it. You’ve got a million things to think about and a million things to pack to last you for however long you’re going to be away but let’s face it; All of us end up going to the shop to buy supplies once we are at our destination regardless of how much we pack, don’t we? We always forget SOMETHING. It’s fine if you want to throw it all into your luggage. Go for it. But as for carry-on items, stick to the basics and don’t go crazy. This will reduce your stress levels A LOT. There’s nothing worse than having to dig through a baby bag in the airport, scrambling to find your passports or money because of the other 500 items floating around it. Guarantee half the stuff you’ve packed won’t even get looked at during your flight. Save yourself the hassle. If you’re an anxious mess like I am, just take enough money to buy supplies at the airport just in case.
2. Minimize on the pram/stroller
One way to reduce stress when flying with infants or children is by switching to a smaller pram and if you’re flying with a car seat, investing in a lighter one will help tremendously. Walking through the airport with big, clunky items is hard especially when you’re alone with a child. A lot of people in airports (and just out in public in general) are rude and don’t care if you’re struggling on your own. I’ve had many people (Mainly business men) pushing past me in security while I’m trying to take my shoes off, place everything in the trays, fold the pram/stroller down and carry a baby at the same time. It’s hard fitting through small spaces with a huge pram anyway. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way. Minimize!
3. Keep your snacks and drink in a separate bag
I say this because when you’re going through security, you have to separate any food or liquid items to go for testing. Also, this will add an extra 5-10 minutes so manage your time properly. When you’ve got random baby bottles and snacks floating around your bag it adds pressure to hurry up as you’re sifting through each crevis in there and scooping up random snack packets. To make your security experience easier and to avoid upsetting anyone else, just throw everything into one bag before you go. It could be a plastic bag or you could invest in a fancy snack bag. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
4. Make sure your kids have plenty of rest before your journey
I’ve tried to make my child tired for the flight by letting them skip naptime. You’d think that if your infant or child was tired, they’d sleep on the plane but let me tell you, this NOT the case and if your child is overtired and grumpy, it won’t just be the turbulence that creates a bumpy ride. My advice to you would be to let them be well rested for the trip. It will save you a whole load of screaming. Nobody is going to be there to hold the baby while you take a five-minute break so make things easier on yourself by letting baby get their rest before you set off.
5. Take lots of snacks
Happy child = happy flight. And how do you make babies or children happy? By feeding them. Constantly. Just keep shoving snacks in their little mouths. Healthy snacks though. Healthy and filling. Don’t give them sugar or anything that’s going to send them wild. You don’t want them bouncing around the plane for eight hours. Oh, and another tip; make them dry snacks (If you can). You don’t want gooey food leaking all over the inside of your bag. Gross!
6. Try to stay calm
The anxiety it causes when your kid is acting up in public is unreal. Put that kid inside a tiny space and the tension will increase. As you feel people’s stare of disapproval, it makes you feel worse and worse until, at one point, you’re going to want to snap at your child for being a major embarrassment. You just want them to shut up and sit still. But try to remember that they are just kids. Travelling isn’t fun for them either. It’s boring and tiring for them and they have every right to throw a bit of a fit. I’m sure as adults, we wish we could throw tantrums (some of us still do). Your best bet is to stay as calm as possible. Radiate some positive energy instead of anxiety and anger. The calmer you are, the calmer they will be. Promise 🙂 Staying calm will also minimize the chance of you losing something which ultimately will cause a lot more stress. Keep your head on.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Flying alone is hard. Trust me, I’ve done it many times. The hardest part for me is when I’m about to board the plane and have to take down the pram (stroller) at the end of the tunnel before boarding so they can put it down in the cargo holding area. It’s okay if your kid can walk but if you’re flying with a baby, you’re going to need some help. Politely ask someone who is boarding at the same time as you or a member of staff. I find that women are most helpful in that situation. They are usually more comfortable with holding a baby. That way you can fold the pram down, pick up your carry-on bags and then take baby back. When you’re on board and struggling to put your bag in the overhead locker, just ask someone to do it for you. There are plenty of people who will be happy to make things a bit easier for you 🙂
8. Don’t let people get to you!!!
You don’t want to cause other passengers any stress or discomfort while they are flying but at the same time, you should not stress yourself out over opinions of people you will (hopefully) never see again. I totally get it though. This is THE biggest worry I have when flying alone with my baby. I don’t want people to judge or give me a stare of disapproval if a baby is crying while I’m trying to juggle everything all at once. At the end of the day, kids will be kids and you cannot control their emotions for the sake of other people. If they don’t like children, you shouldn’t allow it to become your problem. It’s their problem for being so miserable. Focus on the friendly ones.
I dealt with a rude passenger last week on my flight to Alabama. He gave my daughter (Who was being good) such a nasty stare when he caught me eyeballing our seat as we were boarding the plane. It was at this point I thought “Fuckit! Abbey, cry all you want now.”
Like I said, hopefully, you’ll never see these people again so it’s totally not worth stressing out over. Ignore their existence and hopefully, you’ll have an easier time.
So there we have it. I’ll probably continue these tips the more I fly with my kids. I hope you find these helpful and remember, try to keep your composure during your time away. Flying with children can be draining but before you know it you’ll be at your destination and all will be good 🙂