Lets face it, having twins is challenging enough at the best of times but planning a 16-hour trip (including an eleven hour plane journey) with twin toddlers can be rather daunting. The thought gave me shivers and sleepless nights but here are some tips that worked for me.
I’m not claiming to be an expert in this area, but I’ve done two 11-hour plane trips so I have a thing or two to say about it – firstly, when my girls were six months old and secondly, when they turned two.
First and foremost, nothing about travelling with toddlers is predictable.
You just have to accept that. The only way to handle the unpredictability is to be prepared for anything and everything. We were VERY prepared, perhaps OVER prepared. Aim for at least a 1:1 adult to toddler ratio. Hopefully you aren’t the only adult flying with twin toddlers, and if you are, good luck. You are a braver person than I am. You will not be catching me flying solo with my twin monkeys. 🙂
Little Bo Babies’ Tip on Toddlers and Travelling
Talk to your toddlers about what is happening.
I got my girls super excited about the trip. I told them they were going up in the sky on a plane. Then the plane comes down and we will see their grandparents. Keep this excitement going before your trip begins and then continue at the airport, during the flight, and after you land. Once seated on the plane, remind your kids not to kick the seat in front and to be gentle with the tray. (yeah right, like they will listen to that) We had a very patient and kind person sitting in front of my one twin who thought it was HILARIOUS to play the kicking game. EPIC fail.
Plan your flight to coincide with nap time or night time sleep. This is especially good advice if you will be travelling for a long period of time. We did a night flight on our way over and on the way back. This made our lives soooo much easier. Also, I may or may have not administered a small amount of a paediatric sleep aid to my twins, hoping it would make them a bit drowsy. Note to Self: ALWAYS do a test run at home as some children have the opposite reaction and they become hyper, crazy nutter childrenJ
Packing the Carry-On:
This carry on is not for any of your favourite goodies by the way. Gone are the days of catching up with your good book or celeb news. Firstly you wont have any space for your things, secondly you wont have the time to read. Your job is to entertain your kids and make sure they are well contained in your seating area. Packing wise, firstly you will need diapers and wipes. LOTS OF IT! Pack enough to cover you in case the flight is late or gets diverted (for whatever reason) and you get stuck somewhere overnight. Next, a change of clothes (everything – comfortable outfit, vests, socks, shoes) for each child. Also don’t forget to take a change of clothes for your self and your hubby. In case of any projectiles. (one does not want to sit on a 11 hour flight stinking of vomit)
You’ll definitely need some snacks and cups for the kiddies, so don’t forget to cram those into the carry-on bag. We also ordered a kiddies meal on the plane. At least they got some yoghurt and fruit etc. My husband and I also downloaded a lot of puzzles and stories on our iPads. The girls were quietly occupied with their puzzles and stories. I also took their colouring books and play dough. So my husband was occupied;) Slowly, as the flight goes on, introduce new toys to them, but only when they tire of the one they currently have.
The Airport and The Flight:
Making it through Heathrow security checks will be the most difficult part of your day, that is, if they behave on the flight. Not only do your shoes and accessories have to come off, but so do your children’s. Haven’t you heard of the Little Feet Bomber? No? Well, apparently, Heathrow think its a possibility. It was quite a lot of manourvering on our part to take necessary clothing off without our children making a dash for it. I wish you luck on this part.
Let your kids walk/run as much as possible before the flight. You want to wear them out. Board when they let families board, and try to get a seat in the bulkhead (first row for smaller children). We booked a whole row for us.. my hubby and I sat on either end with girls in the middle. At this point you might be receiving some nervous glances from people around you. Smile, be polite and let the game beginJ
Minimize ear discomfort. Have your toddlers suck on a bottle, breast, or a dummy when ascending and descending on the plane. This will help alleviate the pressure they may feel in their ears. My two were very happy with their milk.
Finally, and most importantly: Bring the ‘Calm’ You.
So perhaps you can have a drink, but not enough for you to pass out.
Stay Calm. It’s inevitable that your toddlers will win at least one staring contest with the strangers seated behind you. Just remember that you will never see these people again!