Leaving On A Jet Plane: Tips for Mommies Flying Alone with Kids and Infants
I did it.. I did it!! I did it with the help of Air Asia. Can you imagine, never had I thought I would be able to do it, but yes I MADE it to the destination. It was like a dream when we first set our foot on Busan’s Airport. We were finally in Korea; all ffive of us – in ONE piece!
I could vividly remember the day, 30 July 2014. How could I forget such a date? It was the day me and my munchkins; all FOUR of them (age 9, 7, 5 and 2) flying to Korea to visit my dear hubby (who was there and still is) working for a project for our beloved country.
When he decided to accept the offer to work in Korea for 2 years, part of the agreement was me bringing the kids to visit him. Occasionally, he would come back to visit us here. I reckon yeah, why not. It sounded like a great idea. I kept on telling myself it would be a great experience for us. After all, we need to break free from our mundane routines once in a while. Plus, it must be exciting to be able see his work place, his house there, to experience Korea and of course the chance for us all to spend our family time together. The kind of memories that we would cherish and treasure. Everyone was excited to see daddy. It had been almost 6 months since we last saw him. My husband’s work before this didn’t really require him to travel a lot, hence him being in Korea is a BIG thing for us all. By then, it was the longest ever time we didn’t see him and of course everyone was missing him loads.
So, when the time finally came for us to pay him the first visit, necessary plans were made by yours truly Tickets purchased, clothes bought/borrowed (it was during a winter and it was our first family trip abroad during the cold winter), itineraries laid out and packed food were purchased. I had it all planned as far as I could do it. It was all ready. Bags were packed and yes, we were ready to fly to Korea, yeahaaa!!!
But, we all know that travelling with kids are not those kind of pack-and-grab-your-bag kind of trips. It requires a bit of planning on our part, especially if you are doing it all by yourself. So, I reckon some of you may benefit from my first (hopefully not the last ;P) trip with my kids. I’m more than happy to share the things I gathered from the experience. So, here goes:
1) It is very crucial for us mommies to be mentally prepared with the journey. So please be prepared and psyche yourself for any unforeseen situation/circumstances. When travelling with kids, we can never tell what might happen so my best advice is to lower our expectations we have on our child(ren) and be prepared for the worst,
2) If it is your child(ren) first time flying experience do prepare with the common incidents like:
a) constant crying for no apparent reasons by the younger ones,
c) air pressure that resulted in ear discomfort, and
d) accidental cases of No 1 and No 2 by the bigger ones. Yucks! When it happens we wish it
doesn’t have to be us tending to the situation right, but believe me, you have no one other than yourself. So, keep calm, we can do it!
3) Plan the seating well. Find those seats that are nearest to the aisle and toilet because we wouldn’t know when we need to sprint to get them there. I also find seating at the most front seat exceptionally helpful as it gives me more comfort in dealing with the children antiques. I wouldn’t have to worry about my kids hanging on to the front seats and get those weird look from those annoyed passengers. Not to mention, the wide legroom for the kids to stretch out during the flying time. My youngest even spent a good deal of time sitting at my feet playing his toys. I would say let them do whatever it takes to make them comfortable, just for that moment.
4) Have a compact baby bag ready in hand. Dedicate a special bag for yourself and baby or any of your child who needs constant change and attention. The baby bag should include:
a) A minimum of 2 extra clothes for a 6-hour journey;
b) Small towels;
c) A changing mat;
d) Travel-size toiletries;
e) Milk and sufficient bottles;
f) Warm water bottles with enough drinking water;
g) Finger food (trust me you wouldn’t want to be queuing to buy food with the children in
h) Sufficient diapers. Please bear in mind that the total journey includes waiting time,
i) Medications (prescribed);
j) Tissues and wet tissues;
k) Plastic bags; and
l) Toys/small pillow/small blanket for the younger ones.
I think it’s wise to make the bag as compact as possible so we can just put it under the seat for easy grab. You need to picture this in your head. In any situation when those ‘little’ incidents happen among any of your kids (yup, they somehow happen at the least expected time), the bag need to be within our reach. Ensure towels is at the top most part of your bag, followed by wet tissues.
5) Prepare a second compact bag as well and it should include:
a) Our extra clothes including innerwear (light clothing ONLY). This bag most likely to be tow. If possible, try to avoid unnecessary stress on us); check in time and boarding time. In my case it was 9 hours with 6 hours flying time; carried by the eldest child with you hence, the lighter the bag the easier it is for them to carry it;
b) Small towel(s);
c) 1 set of extra clothes for the older ones – light clothing ONLY;
d) Finger food to be eaten while waiting for boarding time;
e) A tablet/Ipad (I travelled with Air Asia and there was no in-flight entertainment); and
f) Card games – something that is easy to assemble and clean up.
6) Look into the option of sending some of your items to the destination upfront if the option is doable. Plan the items accordingly and have them shipped over to your destination. The key is to travel light when we travel with children.
7) Luggage – Do not carry more than you can handle.
8) Last but not least, ASK and ACCEPT favours from the cabin crews/others. Yes, I know we moms are superwomen. We tend to do everything all by ourselves. We like the fact that things are within our control and we take pride in doing them. Though no doubt some of us can do it but, this is one situation where we need to put that aside. Please, please accept and ask favours IF you need them. You will thank yourself later. I wouldn’t say it was an easy journey for me. There were moments either at the airport or in the plane I thought I wouldn’t survive but thank god I did. After all, handling kids (in my case; FOUR) on our own no matter where and in any circumstances is never an easy task. What more when you are travelling to a foreign land. But, the experience that came with it was worth it. I conquered one of my biggest fear – travelling alone with my kids. The most important thing was, we survived the journey in ONE piece and all the madness and chaotic moments were gone and forgotten the moment I saw my dear hubby’s face upon arrival.
The key is to PLAN WELL. The rest, we take it as it goes.
Till next time, take care peeps