Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tips for traveling overseas

A week from today Beli and I will be traveling overseas to the Midwest to visit family and friends. Now I know what you might be thinking, "you are flying alone with a toddler?" And while at first I was nervous about the idea, now I can say with confidence, "yes I'm ready." And it's thanks to the many forums I visited online offering advice about flying with a two year old. Here is my list I put together as I want to make this a positive experience for the both of us. Can you suggest other ideas I might have omitted?

1. Have a positive and flexible attitude about the flying experience

2. Be prepared, for anything

3. Bring many of her favorite snacks

4. Wrap a little present for her to open when the situation in midair gets desperate

5. Don't forget her favorite medo (bear)

6. To be considerate of the other passengers I thought of bringing along ear plugs. Do you think this is a good idea?

7. Reduce intake of sugar, candies, etc..

8. I'm debating stroller or toddler leash? I know I might get strange looks with the latter one but safety comes first.

9. Dress for the journey, I found this tip interesting, via Good Little Traveler: Honor the journey, weight it with preparation, excitement and then dress for the occasion. Wear clean clothes that aren't ugly t-shirts, from personal experience dressing yourself and your children in matching, comfortable, nice clothes ( no stains or holes) results in at least two positive results:

A. Your fellow passengers' first impression of you, as with a job interview, is that you respect them, and the journey, and that you are not taking the experience lightly.
B.Your children will have tangible evidence that traveling by air is something special.

Agree or Disagree? I'm more of a comfort kinda girl.
Our itinerary: Croatia to Germany 1 hour flight with a 3 hour layover then 9 hour flight to Chicago, go through customs, then hop on connecting flight to Des Moines, 1 hour flight, then drive for 1 &1/2 hours to parents home. Iowa see you soon!
Now back to packing and planning that birthday party for Beli.


  1. Beli is so darling! I'm sorry I can't offer any advice as I don't have any kids. I'm sure it will be fine though!
    So you're headed to Iowa! {I'm in the Kansas City area, so not too far from there! well, maybe a little far, but much closer to Iowa than Croatia!}
    So glad someone can relate to my hair woes. Yes, my hair is very long and very curly just like the "bride". My mom has a hairdresser who cuts her hair {also very curly} so I'm thinking about trying her.
    Hope you have a great trip! Can't wait to hear all about it! ;)

  2. We have traveled to the UK, South Africa and the Caribbean with our toddlers. Here are a few things we did.

    We took several new books they've never read before, coloring books and crayons and soft toys to play with. It takes a lot to keep them amused in a confined space for hours on end!

    We also ended up walking the aisles quite a few times when nothing else will make them happy!

    Another one that definitely will work is a small portable DVD with ear phones if she likes watching DVD's. We did not do that previously, but we will definitely consider it with the next long trip. Usually with international trips they in anyway have cartoons or movies for kids!

    We took a stroller and are glad we did because in quite a few airports we had to run to catch a connecting flight and it would've been an absolute nightmare if we had to carry two toddlers all the way. Our kids also ended up sleeping in their stroller when tuckered out in several airports.

    I agree you need lots of snacks, diapers, wipes, change of clothing (at least 2 - 3 sets of clothing) that you have with you in hand luggage. Now that my kids are potty trained I don't travel anywhere without a travel potty. Those toilets on board can be really nasty.

    Hope you have a wonderful time!

  3. What a trip girl!! but you seem well prepared. as long as you are not stressed about it there is no reason Beli should be... i would try to call the airline ahead and hear if the flights are busy - you might be able to negociate places in the middle just for you 2 if they arent... that way you have more space. And for the stroller and the leash can't you take both? if Beli gets tired walking (you know how the gates can be sooo far away!) and you can use it to put your things in it if she isn't in it. well well you must be getting excited - wish you all the best for the preparations!

  4. Good luck! You can do it together!!! I have flow twice with our daughter alone back and forth from USA. Of course she was much younger then yours but you are doing a great job by putting so much thought into it and being well prepared! I had also found this sight Jet with kids-

    Safe travels!

  5. Jen, thanks for the good wishes, Beli is a bright kid and I hope she takes a liking to flying as this will be the first of many.

  6. HT thanks for the tips, the small present I wrapped up is a new coloring book but I didn't think about books to read. I will add that to my bag and several changes of clothes.

    I'm also going to read about the airport in Munich to see what 'things'they have for kids. Since we have 3 hours of waiting I thought I would plan on activities for Beli.

  7. Have a safe flight, and have a wonderful time with your family.

  8. Thanks Babs, Yes I'm super excited! I was debating about the stroller because having to go through customs and pushing our suitcases and the stroller I thought, 'i need an extra pair of hands' but I think that is easier than carrying her and carry on bag and pushing the suitcases, right? But I think you are right, I will take both items. And I was just thinking about the middle seat, the more space the better!

  9. I think the most useful thing we did in preparing to fly with our 2.5-year-old from Canada to Argentina was to talk LOTS about all the little details of flying.

    They'll give us food on trays. There are lots of seats, and they can recline. Flight attendants will offer you juice. Lots of other people will be in the plane with us. We can't walk around during take-off or landing. Take-off and landing are really noisy. We'll have to stand in line to get our passports stamped. And so on.

    My little guy was fascinated, and he knew what to expect at every stage, which I think was really helpful.

    Aside from everything else, I would take lots of deep breaths and decide not to worry about the other passengers. Kids are kids, everyone else can just deal with it. Plus, noise doesn't carry very well in an airplane, if that makes you feel any better.

    Happy travels!

  10. @biking in heels, thank you for your sweet wishes. I'm counting the days..hours. haha

  11. @Mama in Macondo,
    That makes alot of sense,especially now that Beli is in a stage about repeating everything back and I do notice when we are at home, if I explain that she can't have that pudding until she is finished eating she understands and she waits, versus if I say No, you can't have that right nowthen she gets frustrated.

    And yes I was worried about the noise, if Beli got too loud, but it's good to know about the noise and to be honest I would rather travel in my comfortable pants and the same for her.

    thank you and I will keep you posted.

  12. Good advice! She is so darling!!!

    Yes I've heard of Platos, but never shopped there. I think they have them in Dallas, which is 3 hours from us, and I've told my husband next time we go, I want to stop by one. Thanks for the kind words.:) Its always fun to hear other people enjoy finding good deals too!!

  13. We took this very same trip when our daughter was 18 months though our final destination was Chicago. It went better than expected. Since then, we've flown quite a bit with our kids and this thing is a lifesaver if you can get your hands on one. It turns your carseat into a stroller, you check the rolling part at the gate and use the carseat in the airplane seat and your toddler is sure to sleep in the comfort of something cozy and familiar! Beats having to pack a huge stroller. We just used a small umbrella stroller that we picked up in Znjan upon arriving at my parents. You will love this thing - people stop us in airports all the time and ask about it!!

    GoGo Kidz Travelmate.

    As for the noise - don't worry about it. Planes are so loud hardly anyone will hear anything or pay any attention. It's always much more unsettling for the parents when their children are crying! Marija

  14. Anna I think you and my sister should go shopping together. She is also a bargain hunter.

  15. Marija, thank you for that link. I went to visit the website and right now they are temporarly out, but maybe when I'm in the states I can look around. I does look like a handy think to have.

  16. It's always challenging to have little ones in airplanes - but totally doable! Last time I went to brazil I had a little stroller that folded into a seat and it was so worth it! not having to carry her around the airports long walks was a relief. she is a heavy baby - and with all the bags we had the seat in wheels helped a lot. good luck and great trip! post some pics ;)

  17. Me encanta esas ideas, especialmente el regalito para el avion. Por cuánto tiempo estaran en el medio oeste? Llego en el medio oeste el 25 de Abril.

  18. hi Elisa,

    if possible, take some water, af if necessairy, buy it on board.

    drink, drink, drink, as cabin-air is dry as the sahara, and the best while flying is to drink enough to keep you free of headaches or jetlags.

    another tip is to take some mild aspirine in advance, to keep your blood liquid (long sits are bad).

    and if possible, ignore other sitting passengers and go for a little walk whenever you feel like it (its good !!!).

    earplugs are great, masks for the eyes great when you want to block out noise and light).

    and if available, check for other medical advice from doctors (which I am not).

    for finals, take a little block of paper and some colouring stuff (being busy is better to forget time).
    not you !!, you have films, a book and such.

    have a great trip, pim.

  19. great list of tips!!! Travel back to the USA safely :)

    I don't have babies, so I can't offer that advice, but I do travel quite a lot, so you sound very prepared for the journey!

  20. You will do just fine! As for the leash/stroller debate--who cares about looks by strangers! Do what is safe and most comfortable!

    Traveling Mercies to you both! C

  21. Thais, a stroller that folds into a seat!, also sounds convenient to have. My only worry is in Chicago,and I called the travel agency and she said if I miss my connecting flight, I will get put on a later one, so I think I will be taking my stroller. I will keep you posted with pics. We will have one busy month. (even one week in TX)

  22. thanks Pim, this sounds like very good advice, you know I was thinking and planning for my daughter but somehow as a Mom Ialways forget that we also need to take care of ourselves so we can be healthy and strong for our children.


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