Travelling with kids can be a daunting task. After months of debate we decided we could handle an 18 hour flight with our newborn and our toddler. It wasn’t an easy decision. In fact, the thought of the flight was terrifying. But we went in with the mentality that we’d survive. Whatever happened, we’d survive.
And we did.
Our daughter was 2 1/2 years old and our son was 6 weeks when we boarded our flight. We were two exhausted parents getting used to our newly expanded family and sleep deprivation. Why not throw in a couple of international flights, a 6 hour time change, and give any semblance of routine a kick out the door?
When we told others of our travel adventure (either before the trip or after) we got a variety of reactions. Other parents told us we were CRAZY to even attempt it. Some said we were brave (or stupid). Friends without children didn’t seem to think it was a massive undertaking. No big deal. They see children on flights all the time.
All reactions were valid and true. We were crazy for considering it. Most people wouldn’t. It was a lot of work and effort. And a lot of things to bring.
We had two flights on the way there and two on the way back. Many different scenarios played in our head as our travel date approached. Would the kids scream on the flight? Would their ears be ok? Would we get to sleep? What would we do during the 8 hour layover? Would my husband and I be in tears by the end of it?
Our conclusion, our mantra was that we would survive. Whatever happened, even if both kids screamed the entire flight we would survive. We all might be in tears by the end of it but we would survive. It wasn’t going to kill us.
We couldn’t go into the trip worried and stressed about everything that could possibly go wrong. That list was endless. Yet, we also couldn’t get our heads around the idea that everything would go smoothly. That seemed like too much wishful thinking.
Our toddler happily stayed up past midnight on the day we left. She was excited to go on a BIG AIRPLANE! She fell asleep immediately after take-off. Our carry on was filled with toys and snacks. We needed none of it for three of the four flights. Travelling was exhausting for her so she slept for most of the flights.
The escalators kept her entertained at the airport during our layover. Up and down we went. Over and over and over and over again. We ate at a restaurant, did a puzzle, colored and snoozed. We survived our 8 hour layover.
Our newborn slept and nursed. He refused to go in the airplane bassinet. Every time he started to stir on the flight I’d flip him to the other side and nurse him again. I used pillows and blankets to prop up my arms so I could rest. I held him the entire time. I survived.
We didn’t adhere to any nap schedule or routine while away. Our toddler was never one to sleep on the road but learned to sleep when she needed to, regardless of where we were.
Our newborn slept and nursed for most of the time. He hated the car seat which was the most stressful part considering we had days where we drove up to 7 hours. But we survived.
Had it not been for a wedding we never would have considered travelling with kids across the world at this age. This was our toddler’s third trip via airplane but prior to this we hadn’t done anything more than 5 hours. It was the flights that usually exhausted us that made us wonder how we would ever do it with children. Now we know.
Regardless of where we travel on our next adventure, we now know without a doubt that we would survive. And that makes it seem a little less daunting.