Travelling Alone With Kids

6 min read
Travelling Alone With Kids

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Today’s problem solved: You are not an Octomum how to travel alone with kids

Dear Aunty Sahm,

I am travelling to South Africa for Christmas. I will be doing this flight with son 5, daughter 3 and daughter 1,5. I am having little panic attacks because at the last minute my husband had to change his flights to join us later and fly on a different airline so I will be doing it both ways on my own. I am flying first to Perth, arriving there at 7pm (so after bedtime for my kids) and then departing Perth midnight to South Africa.

I was hoping you could help me with my questions I have about travelling with three kids under five, Aunty Sahm. Do I get them their own suitcases, do I take a stroller and how will I push stroller when I collect luggage? Perhaps my 5 year old is old enough to push the stroller? Should I take a back pack carrier instead?

Should I board first and have to entertain kids for 30 min or board last and risk no overhead space? Do I request the bassinet which will be too small for 18 month old or should I take normal row that arms fold away for kids to lie down?

I’ve done the trip with 2 kids before (aged 9 months and 2 years) and it was a terrible experience as my double pram was checked in even though the airline assured me I’d be able to keep it. I also booked assisted check in but had NO assistance or even a stroller at the change over.

Please help! Sanette

Firstly Sanette, you sound amazing. Any normal person would have laid down and cried in the face of your dilemma, but here you are reaching out to the best possible source of information dare I say the expert in such matters here at Aunty Sahm’s first world problem solution emporium.

Now let’s just briefly talk about your handsome husband. He better have a darned good excuse for changing those flights. Like he has last minute heart surgery to complete or what-not? He owes you big time baby.

Getting through a flight with kids is all about damage control. Heaps of it. Damage. And control, of self that is. Normal rules don’t apply. Kids aren’t allowed juice? They are in the air. Too much screen time will turn their eyes square? Pfft. You know they turn into zombies as soon as a screen appears. Not into making pals with strangers? Get into it now!

You’ll need strangers. Well, at least one of them, if you are traveling without any help. You will want to scope out the nearest nice old lady or babysitter/student type and befriend them. Pay them compliments. Feign interest in everything about them. Then have them save your bacon when you or one of your kids need to rush to the toilet.

You can ask a flight attendant to take kids older than three on a walk around the plane to stretch their legs. Many are happy to do it if they aren’t busy with other duties.

Although you’re going to need nappy bags and something to cart bribes, distractions and snacks (which you sound all over but here some travel snack ideas just in case). Try not to bring luggage that you have to put in the overhead locker, this way you can board first and get lots of help getting organised.

Alternatively, you could have one of the attendants help you get everything packed away, and you can board with the kids at the last minute. Make sure the staff know what you’re doing so they can help where possible. In my experience, being very persistent is the key to getting the ‘services offered’ for assisted travel. Nag till you are blue in the face about keeping prams as long as possible, ring a few times before the flight to confirm you are travelling alone, with three kids and will need the pram and assistance.

Have someone to help you at all possible places. Get help being dropped off, have someone meet you at the final destination to help with luggage or consider hiring a car with a driver instead of a taxi on arrival. You’ll look cool and have an extra set of hands.

Other fabulous tips for you:

  • If possible, fly on a midweek flight that will be less packed.
  • Request a bassinet as soon as you book your flight. Then show up as early as possible so you can be assigned those seats.
  • Set up a bed at your feet. Set up a cozy bed at your feet and then you can stretch out over the extra seat. They can’t sleep there, but it’s a fun cubby. Try to sit at the bulkhead if possible, it’s a great spot for kids to sit on the floor or stand in front of you.
  • Wrap new toys and books individually in crepe paper so it takes time to unwrap each toy in addition to how long their attention lasts playing with each toy.
  • Bring a thermos for warm water or milk. Don’t fill it up before your flight. You can get it filled in flight and have hot water or milk at your side instead of on their schedule.
  • If you fly at night bring the things for your bedtime routine so they know it’s time to sleep. Such as pj’s, toothbrush and a story book.
  • Bring a mini version of your medicine cabinet with you for emergency colds or earaches. Check with your airline for what is acceptable to bring.
  • Take extra clothes. Even for you.

Most of all, try to go into it with a positive attitude and remember this too will end. You can always drop a small fortune on the in flight duty free Lego sets if you’re desperate.

Xx Aunty S Insurance Plus (TI Plus) offer quality insurance for less than you might expect. TI Plus have also teamed up with Opportunity International to give loans to mothers in developing countries to start their own business and take their family out of poverty. By getting your travel insurance with TI Plus you can help make a difference for mothers living in poverty. Get a quote and have a stress-free break!

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