Binky and India recently visited Bali so we asked her to share her top tips for travelling long haul with toddlers.
MT: This was your first long haul flight with India. The question we all want to know is….did you manage to get any sleep?
BF: Ha! Yes. Not as much as I would have liked but enough! A friend told me to switch to local time as quickly as we could so on the way out, even though it wasn’t quite bedtime for India, I stuck to her routine and gave her a wash down, put on her PJ’s, gave her some milk and sung a silly song to her. Everything we do at home and it tricked her into thinking it was bedtime. She slept really well both ways and I really think following her routine helped with that.
MT: We’ve all heard of those parents that get onto the plane and hand out earphones to all the passengers. What did you do to keep India entertained (and quiet) for 17 hours?
BF: The build up of anxiety around the flight was awful. I couldn’t stop worrying that we were really going to annoy the other passengers but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had imagined. I had a suitcase of activities with me and I found some great games that she could play on the ipad. I also took a few of her toys out of her toy box a few weeks before the flight and wrapped them up in layers with different coloured wrapping paper. Like pass the parcel! She spent 45 minutes just unwrapping one ‘present’ and couldn’t have been happier.I also packed some of her favourite snacks and made sure I gave her something to suck on when we were landing to help equalize her ears. I think we were really lucky that the staff were so amazing and I would personally like to thank the wonderful couple sitting next to us who went above and beyond when I needed a break.
MT: We all know you don’t like traveling light. How did you manage to pack for two and carry it all?
BF: Mary Poppins would be proud of my handbag. It’s packed full of toys, nappies, snacks, first aid, formula, hair bands etc etc. etc. I took a different approach with my suitcase though and only packed what I really needed. India eats well and luckily she was very happy with the food in the restaurants but I took some of her favourite foods just in case. I also took ready-made formula for bedtime as she can be fussy about different brands. I used bottled water for her to drink and boiled water to wash her sippy cups.I took more clothes than she needed so I’ll remember that for next time. She really just spent the day in her swimming costume so I hardly needed anything else. I took a couple of her favourite toys (mainly for the flights) and bought a few bits out there like buckets and spades but India honestly spent most of the time just watching what was going on. Apart from that, I relied on the local shops for everything else. Nappies, wipes, suncream etc etc etc.
MT: How have you settled back into normal life?
BF: The jet lag caught up with us and India was going to bed before 6pm and waking at 4am every day for a few days. Somebody told me that for every hour of time difference you need one day to recover so I knew I had to be patient and move her routine back slowly. She’s still so happy though so we’re just going with it. I’m actually enjoying waking early, going for a walk by the river before most people are even out of bed and still enjoying our holiday bubble together!
MT: You still have the holiday glow! It looks like the jet lag was worth it…
BF: Being away reminded me how important it is to slow down and just enjoy. I remembered that I’m a good mummy and that India is incredibly resilient. Sometimes I can spend so much time overthinking everything and it’s great to just reset. You obviously don’t need to get a plane to do that, but just changing up your day can really help. Now, if I could just find a way of applying suncream without all the terrible tantrums I might look forward to going on holiday again….