In less than 24 hours we’d already ridden in a car, plane, bus, train, subway, taxi, and walked a mile with a hiking backpack, a duffle bag, a rolling suitcase, and two backpacks. We’ve learned a few things I thought I’d share. Let’s start with overnight flights with a 5, 3, and 6 month old:
+ Comfortable Clothing For an overnight flight, put your kids (& yourself!) in comfortable clothes that can work for sleeping and traveling for the flight. Sweatpants, a t-shirt and sweater withsneakers and cozy socks is ideal for older kids and leggings, tee and a cardigan for baby. Then I only needed an extra set of clothing for the baby.
+ Electronics We went all summer without any screen time besides a Friday night movie, but I have zero regrets about having an iPad, easy cases, and headphones for each of my older children on the plane loaded with educational games, movies they hadn’t seen and one classic, and a few TV shows. I recommend not having much (or any) screen time for a week or longer before you leave so that it will be especially exciting.
+ Solly Baby Wrap Obviously, this is was on my necessity list for Frances. I had our black wrap (better for blocking out light when sleeping and keeping clean) on from the time we arrived at the airport until we made it to our flat the next day in London. She slept and played in it the whole time and, basically, I would’ve died without it. (more details on traveling with your wrap soon)
+ Preflight Stretches While we waited on the plane for takeoff, I had my 5 and 3 year old do little stretches in front of their seats. It was a really fun distraction waiting for the plane to take off and helped prep them to be in their seats for 13 hours.
+ Bassinet This was paramount for our flight. We called the airline ahead and requested a bassinet for Frances. They put us in a larger row with a wall in front of us where the bassinet table comes down from the wall. It was incredible. So much leg room that the kids were able to sit on the floor and play when the seat belt sign was off. She was a little big for it, but in the middle of the night, I was able to make an easy transfer from the wrap to the bassinet so I could sleep as well.
+ Forget Bedtimes Although we wanted to get the kids to sleep before they were overly tired, we knew 8PM was not happening 2 hours after taking off on the most exciting trip of their lives. So we let them play and watch shows until the plane started to settle down for the night and the plane lights were dimmed. We didn’t tell them it was bedtime, we just said it was time to relax. Jared and I both took a child and whispered stories and rubbed their feet or backs after getting them comfortable with airline blankets, pillows, and those neck pillow things. They both drifted to sleep easily and stayed asleep until morning.
+ Divvy Up the Kids Before we left we decided we’d each be responsible for certain children while we are out and about for safety and sanity. He primarily watches Solomon while we are out since he’s the most adventurous and needs the most help managing expectations as a 3 year old figuring out what’s going on. I have been in charge of Lucy and Frances since Lucy is 5 and actually quite a help with Frances.
+ Attitude Jared and I made a pact before we left that no matter what, we would be positive, especially on traveling days. So when security at LAX stopped us for literally everything you could possibly be stopped for (bag search, palm swipe, liquid test, etc.) we smiled all the way through it and found a reason to be grateful (even if it was in a funny way) about every single annoying thing that happened. We had literally NO tears on the plane and I am totally confident this is why.
(arriving in London the next day)