Sunday, August 23, 2009

Buy a plane seat for your toddler, really, you want one.

Traveling. Ah the joys with a toddler. Owen was 16.5 months on this trip. Since we live in Arizona and Matt's whole family lives in the Southeast, we took a trip back there this summer for 10 days because lord knows we won't be traveling with two babies for awhile.

Believe me one is enough. So we got the GO GO KIDZ travel mate because I knew we'd be traveling by car from Charlotte, NC to Greenville, SC, and Greenville to Athens, GA and Athens to Atlanta, GA. Plus silly me thought that if we toted that car seat with us, maybe, just maybe, there would be an extra seat on the plane and we could use the car seat to corral him.

Nope. No extra seats these days on planes-- EVEN on Tuesdays or Saturday. Sorry, if the plane isn't full, they get a smaller one and pack you into that one, oversold.

I have to say the GoGo Kidz hookup for the car seat was GREAT for transporting Owen through the airport easily and we were able to take our car seat and gate check it with no problem. I give it two thumbs up. I did find it in SkyMiles magazine for $10.00 cheaper than in One Step Ahead.

Q: So, what is it like traveling with a 16-month-old on a four hour plane ride?

A: A three ring circus in a two foot space. You become the personal entertainment and it's exhausting.

Here are some things I would recommend:
  • plan trip strategically around the nap schedule. Even if they don't sleep their full nap, at least PART of the flight they will be sleeping. Ex: Owen sleeps at noon, so we got on planes around 10:30-11AM so that he'd get settled and sleep. Also don't forget "blanket" or whatever lovey your child uses to signal it's time for sleep. (remember Owen is not an "on the go" sleeper. He doesn't sleep on us at all at this point and is pretty dependent on his routine and his crib to sleep.
  • bring new toys they've never seen before. We got some "invisible markers" and Crayola Color Wonder paper. Owen thought the markers were fun to open and close and toss on the floor. Hey, who cares if he didn't draw? It bought us 30 minutes.
  • bring books that take a long time to read. I brought Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever. It takes FOREVER to go through every page and name all the stuff. Owen loves it. We also brought some new books and those captivated him.
  • videos? We brought videos like construction trucks videos and Thomas the train videos, but Owen isn't into TV or videos yet so that was a bust.
  • come up with some fun games - like peek-a-boo or hiding the truck, or dumping "trash" from the truck.
  • buy the kid a real plane seat - in retrospect, I would've gotten him a plane seat and set up his car seat in there and I bet he would've slept 2-3 hours on the plane with all that white noise. I'm serious. It's worth it. Get your parents to chip in if they want to see their grandkids.
  • bring the child and yourself a backup outfit on board and a plastic bag. Last leg of the flight and Owen threw-up warm milk and pizza all over Matt about 5 minutes before we landed. Matt had to walk off the plane without a shirt on and Owen in his diaper. We got some looks. Better him than me. Also when Owen was 5 months he pooped something fierce and blew out his diaper, outfit and it was just nasty. I was glad I had a change of clothes and zip lock bag.
  • split the difference between the time zone change the first night and get a full nights rest the night prior to the trip. We got to Charlotte, NC at 5PM EST and 2PM our time. We kept him up until 8:45-9PM EST 6PM our time and he slept 12 hours. His usual bedtime is 7:30PM. The next day we switched to regular nap schedule and regular bedtime. We did his normal routine when we could or he would nap in his car seat if we were not at home for his nap. He did REALLY well and slept through the night almost every night in his pack n' play and took naps very well --EVEN at three different locations over 10 days. BIG difference between 5 months, 9 months (VW trip from hell) and now at 17 months. As a general rule I've read that if the child sleeps well at home, they will sleep well on vacation once they've adjusted. Owen did. :) THANK GOD.
  • bring the drugs, if you must (we did not) but Dr. Ron told me to try out Benadryl on Owen prior to the trip because it can make some kids HYPER.
As a side note, holding him to sleep and then laying him on our laps during the flight was challenging (not to mention uncomfortable, hard to eat lunch, and hotter than hell) especially considering the absolutely bitchy (sorry) flight attendant we had who got on the speaker while standing about 3 feet from me and made the announcement **with no one else up except me walking in the aisle**
"women with children should not be up in the aisle walking with their children. The captain has the seatbelt sign on"

I promptly told her, "I don't really care about the seatbelt sign right now, and if we want a happy non-screaming toddler, I'll walk him to sleep, thanks."

It wasn't even turbulent. She was just power-tripping. "And your pregnant," she added. I could've ripped the microphone from her. Obviously that woman had never had children on a plane.

Photos from this trip to follow in another photo post soon.

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daralyn said...

awesome tips cameron, thanks! McKenna and I will be traveling (yep, just the two of us) to NY in about 4 weeks when she is 13 month old. I didn't get the extra seat for her...I may regret it but we're giving it a go. I can't believe that flight attendant...I totally had one do that to me too in regards to (god forbid) using the toilet at the front of the plane instead of the back. good for you for standing up to her!

Anonymous said...

the flight attendant story is hilarious! on finn's first flight - he had a little freakout and the oh-so-helpful attendant was rolling her eyes and asking if we brought Tum's or Gas-X for him... what? He was THREE MONTHS OLD! Then, she had the nerve to show up when he was happy and extend her arms to pick him up... I don't think so!

Priscila said...

ok this is so good to know. We are planning a long trip to Brasil in december and I have a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old. Im so dreading it already!

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