Liam and I travelled to South-Africa on Sunday evening to visit my parents, family and friends. I’ve decided to write a little post about what I normally do to make Liam excited about a trip and what I pack into our hand luggage to make the flight more comfortable.
The first time I was supposed to fly alone with Liam he was 8 months old. I was so worried and stressed about the situation that Sidney decided to buy a ticket and fly 8 hours, just so I didn’t have to fly alone with Liam. (I know…he’s the best!) Being a first time mom situations like this can seem really daunting, but just 2 months later I had to do another long haul flight alone with Liam and this time I didn’t chicken out! It’s definitely not easy, but it’s totally doable and definitely worth it. I just love making memories while visiting different countries and each time it gets easier.
I’ll start by telling Liam that we will be flying soon and I make him a little calendar to count down the days. For this trip my sister Minette made this awesome calendar for Liam, you can read about it in my post about Liam’s family photo wall. He loves to fly, and just by saying the word airplane I get all his attention instantly! I show him photos of where we will go and we will talk about all the fun things we will do when we get there.
Packing can be a big headache to some people (including myself!), but if you start a few days before you fly it helps to avoid last minute panic. I start by putting stuff that I know I need to pack in the guest bedroom (or any open space in the house) a week or so before we fly. I also love making lists, for me this is the best way to ensure that I pack everything I’ll need.
At the moment Liam enjoys doing little tasks, he does it with so much excitement and he feels so proud when he’s done. For this trip I let him help me pack his suitcase with all his clothes etc. He loved it and made him extra excited for the trip. I got an excited “Look Mommy I did it!” at the end.
For this journey we had to travel just over 2 hours by car to Frankfurt Airport. From there we had to take a 10 and a half hour flight to Johannesburg. Once we arrived in Johannesburg we had to wait almost 4 hours for our next flight to Port-Elizabeth. I knew it was going to be a LONG almost 24 hours of travelling and therefore we were both dressed comfortably and I made sure Liam took an afternoon nap before we drove to Frankfurt (he doesn’t sleep in the car!).
This was the first flight we took since Liam is fully potty trained. He didn’t want to go to the toilet before we boarded and so I decided to take him to the toilet on the plane just before we departed. Once we walked into the small bathroom he was not happy about the look of the toilet and told me “No mommy it’s not shiny, it’s a rusty toilet I don’t want to use it.” Haha! After a few minutes I somehow convinced him to use this rusty airplane toilet. I unlocked the door and flushed the toilet while he was still inside the small bathroom….big mistake! He got such a fright from the loud flushing noise that he gave one big scream and ran down the aisle shouting “I’m scared, I’m scared”. It was so funny, but at the same time I felt so sorry for him. Needless to say that was the first and last time he used the rusty plain toilet!
What I usually take with us on the plane:
- Liam’s got his own little suitcase that he pulls around himself. I let him choose a few cars and some of his favourite toys that he wants to take on the plane with him.
- I also pack the following into his little suitcase:
- Sticker book with a few new stickers
- His favourite book at the time
- Small colouring book and crayons
- A few blank pages inside the colouring book for us to draw pictures on
- His stuffed elephant toy named Ollie. It helps to have some extra comfort especially in unfamiliar places.
- Liam, like most other toddlers just love surprises. I always buy him a few small gifts that I know he would love. I also wrap the gifts and it works great for moments that he wants to walk around in the plane, but the seatbelt signs are on. For this specific trip it worked well when he was extremely tired while we were waiting to board our second flight and very upset because the airplane did not land on his grandparents’ farm but at the airport Haha. It kept him entertained for a while and made him forget what he was complaining about.
- During our last long haul flight to Germany in April Liam wanted to watch one of the animated movies on the inflight entertainment, but we did struggle with the headphones. It kept falling off, so we decided to buy him his own pair and it worked great this time around.
- I also pack an Ipad for him. I know not everyone will agree with me on this one, but it works great for us and I really don’t mind him watching a few episodes while we are travelling. He also enjoys playing games, there are so many educational games that you can download.
- I prefer travelling with a backpack and I’m currently using the leather Trendy baby bag from Mischi Baby Bags and it works brilliantly. I have both hands free when travelling alone with Liam. It’s spacious with compartments and extra multi-purpose zipper bags for packing. I also pack everything inside ziplock bags. This way my bag doesn’t get chaotic and it’s really easy to find what I’m looking for.
- I always pack some extra clothes for Liam, saline nose spray, family friendly hand sanitizer and wipes to make sure his hands are protected against nasty germs at the airport and on the plane.
- I pack a mini cooler bag with food, snacks, milk and drinks that I know he enjoys. Toddlers can be fussy eaters and you never know what food they will be serving on the plane.
- One thing I don’t fly without is Liam’s pillow. I know it takes up extra space, but for me this is a lifesaver. It’s something familiar for him when he needs to sleep and it makes his naps so much more comfortable. On flights that he struggles to sleep and wants to be in my arms, I normally put the pillow behind my back with my legs over both our seats and this way I actually also get some sleep.
- I also pack my Moments with God for Moms that I’m reading this year. So inspirational and I recommend it for every mommy out there.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the air hostesses or airport staff if you need it. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen that often that other passengers offers to help, but when it does accept the help it makes your journey so much better and I’ve met some incredible people this way and actually made some new friends.
I hope my post will help to make your next flight with your little one smoother or that it will inspire those of you who have not yet travelled with kids to go ahead and book those flights!
If you have any other tips, I would love to hear from you!
Thank you so much for reading.
Lots of Love