Surviving Long-Haul Tot Travel

Well, we’ve been back from our travel adventures for a few weeks but with the holidays and three kids with the flu, I’m only now starting to screw my head on straight (and sit down at my desk – oh hello friend!) I’m backlogged with the blogs I need to write of all the things I’ve learned while we were adventuring so this is the first of many post-travel downloads.

I haven’t calculated how many miles we flew (because I’m not sure I want to boast about our carbon footprint but also because I hate math) but suffice to say, it was a lot. We did it all – long haul, short haul, front of the plane (JOY), back of the plane (meh), and I picked up some tips and tricks along the way.

Obviously the first part of any long haul flight is the airport adventure – I won’t repeat myself so check about all my airport tips here on the post I did about Airport Life, where the essentials also for a long haul flight are necessary iPads and earphones, travel treats, and a travel first aid kit. But for really long haul flights, you need more in your arsenal. You need to be able to whip out magical new activities, you need the best of the best for getting your kids to sleep (there are no black out shades on the plane!) in the craziest of places (no starfishing here kids!). Here are my top tips below to getting you to where you are going with your marriage in tact and your kids alive:

Pengunio Travel – This isn’t just for travel folks, I am now bookmarking this website for all my gift-buying for my family and all the other munchkins in our lives. It is the perfect educational edit of books, games, and activities – so needless to say, was incredibly useful for all our flights, but also for quiet time in the hotel room after a day at the beach or those 15 minutes when we’ve ordered our dinner and the kids are hungry and need an activity or there will be world war meltdown.  The boxes come in different themes, so you can buy depending on if your little one is more into jungle, under the sea, castle, fashion, outdoors, holiday… OR you can filter by city (New York, San Francisco, London — so the box is curated to WHERE you are going (SWEET!) – OR you can order a la carte too – (I’m writing myself a to-do right now to order more of the coloring activity books as the boys loved those!) *OH* AND they tuck in an adorable cuddly penguin to cuddle with on the flight – which my kids LOVED and of course was their snuggly for the entire trip.

+ Plox Box – I learned about these handy little boxes whilst we were in London, so we took them on our flight from LDN to LAX and thank goodness for the delights within! Max and Jake (Sadie snoozed through in her Cozigo – see below) colored in little backpacks (or because it is a British company, ‘rucksacks’) and wrote about their holiday in their holiday journal and we chatted through all our adventures using the travel activities book. If you have any godchildren or friends who are taking their children on a vacation soon, this is a great gift.

 

+ Plane Pal This is another genius invention – obviously created by someone who had children who were sleeping ON them on one too many flights. The Plane Pal inflates in that empty space below a child’s seat so that their legs don’t dangle (and kick the seat of the passenger in front of them – er… SORRY!) and so they can curl up comfortably for a proper snooze (rather than getting a terrible crink in their neck from laying on the armrest.

 

 

No this isn’t a picture of Sadie – I just nabbed it from the Plane Pal website – the pictures I took weren’t as good as this but here you can really see how useful this little contraption is!

 

Cozigo – Sometimes I come across a new trick that I just WISH I knew about years ago so I could have put it into good use with the boys when they were toddlers – this Cozigo is one of those items that every mom needs from day GO. For years I always brought along a dark pashmina to hang from the ceiling and attempt to block out the airplane glaring lights so I could get my kids to sleep. Gone are the days of trying to MacGyver  an inflight blackout cover. Enter Cozigo. Not only does it work to block out the light on the airplane bassinets but also on most every stroller – so while the boys were splashing in the pool, Sadie could have her midday nap in darkness. It made us SO much more flexible with our activities – as we weren’t tied to be in the hotel room so our little princess could get her beauty sleep. Even now as we are back on the ground in LA, I’m managing three busy kid schedules and realizing that on Friday afternoons, I’m going to be tucking the Cozigo in our stroller so that Sadie can have her nap while Jake has his soccer game – so this is a trick not just for travel but for life.

See? Not JUST for travel! Obviously when used as a bassinet cover it is brilliant for long haul travel but equally for a day at the park!

 

Lo & Sons Hanover Deluxe Backpack –  This backpacked saved us on countless occasions – it saved our laptops and iPads from getting wet (waterproof even when a bottle of water spills RIGHT on our electronics), when we were running through an airport (I obviously didn’t listen to my own advice about getting to an airport with plenty of time to spare), we didn’t have to rummage through any pockets for our passports because we knew exactly where they were (in the passport pocket!), we didn’t lose our keys to our LA or LDN homes (they were on the built in keychain), and probably saved our marriage as my husband didn’t feel silly carrying a backpack that looked like he was heading to Yosemite. In fact Matt just had to pop to LDN for a few days and he grabbed this backpack with him – it is super chic and the essential travel backpack *write yourself a note right now to buy it for your guy for father’s day – you’re welcome* And actually, it is great for someone who commutes to work with their laptop too – so I might get one for my brother… (Ben if you are reading this, erase this from your mind).

Okay, that is MOSTLY it. I haven’t included the obvious –  packing an extra set of clothes for you AND your kids in case an accident happens… Sadie managed to get through one of her extra t-shirts, one of Jakes, and ended up landing in Singapore in my extra t-shirt – BRAVO! And of course, my top tip if your children are screaming then hand them to your husband and run to the front of the plane and pretend you don’t know that crazy family.

But really, long flights are hard but they are finite – I always start counting down the hours as soon as we get on the plane, and eventually, well, (with the help of my friends listed above), you will get to your destination and the party can start.

Love xx Marissa

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