Traveling with children: Things to do prior to disembarking
1. Toilet time
Where possible go to the ‘loo’ before the seat belt sign flashes its final light-up. It is way easier to do this now – without luggage once you have arrived in the terminal. Insist your child tries to go, even if they say they can’t.
Remember when going to the bathroom, to take your valuables with you too. This applies for any long distance travel, no matter if a coach, train or aeroplane.
Firstly, grab a bottle of water from the flight attendant to take with you. You cannot use the sink water in your mouth.
Clean your teeth (with the bottled water only), use a cake/stick body anti-per-spirant freshener and wash your face now too. (Remember roll-ons and sprays are not allowed on international flights.)
3. Change clothing
Now is the time to possibly change clothes if the climate will differ. Or to just pop on a new t-shirt and clean clothes.
Children may require a whole outfit change, so hope you are prepared. Travel seems to go hand in hand with spillages. Alas, my son ripped the top off his juice last flight, and in saving it from going all over the businessman next to him, it went all over my sleeve.
Look smart on arrival – the classier you look, the better you will be treated, is a good general rule of thumb. This applies to customs too.
Check you have jackets, and if it is raining, have a poncho or rain jacket at the top of your backpack for when you get out.
4. Eat & Drink up, and stash away!
Try to eat and take snacks provided on flights. Pop leftovers that are feasible in your backpack for later.
This is really handy for long bus and taxi rides once you ‘hit the dirt’. If there is bottled water, ask for an extra 1 or 2 for the next journey. You may need it for not only drinking but teeth cleaning too.
I take a couple of flat drink bottles and fill with free wine, juice etc too – great for the first night. Fill your water bottles up with water, juice, wine etc provided. If bottled water is not available, take your drink bottles down to the server bay, and flight attendants will willingly fill 1 each for you. Be considerate, and don’t ask to fill a dozen!
Do not expect there to always be a store you can purchase these items on your arrival, and as a Mum, you need to be prepared.
5. Check your items
Double check your valuables, especially electronic games and computers if they have been used on the flights. Kids will not remember, so you must!
Don’t stress if you are last off the plane if it means gathering your gear and keeping together.
If you are running late for a connecting flight or train etc., do tell the airline staff. Sometimes they will move you down the front if you ask, for rapid departure.This can be handy if your bags are checked through, but not otherwise.
6. Stay connected
Hustling crowds separate children from parents in a flash. This can start in the aisles of an aircraft, and the child is washed away with the human tide. Everyone is pushing – they will ignore you or not understand you. Always have your child stand immediately in front of you.
Our connector strap also has two short clasp straps, so we can interlock our backpacks together when we sit around a chair leg to avoid theft too.
The two short clasp straps are also handy on the plane – I have known someone who put their bag under the seat in front of them, only for it to be pulled forward and pilfered when they were asleep.
7. Lastly, Count your bags