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  #21  
Old 30.10.2011, 21:39
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

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Hi All,
This year we are celebrating Thanksgiving back in the US. We are really looking forward the celebration and my husband, my son and I will be flying in 3 weeks time. Zurich-JFK and JFK-Ohio. 13hours in total. I am starting to get worried because this is the first flight we do with a ‘walking son’. He will be 2 years at the end of Jan. I have already bought three games/toys for the trip, knowing that are the ones that he really likes in the kindergarten.
Considering that the flight is 13 hours, these are my calculations: he will be hopefully sleeping for 1h, eating for 30mins (x2), snacks 15m (x2), change of diapers 40 mins (10x4), transfer 1.5h, boarding 30m (15x2) and ‘first time’ usage of toys 30m (x3). All this leaves me with over 6hours to fill.
You seem like quite the planner !

For us, traveling with a child at 18 months is one of the hardest times, as I find they won't sit still very long with a DVD just yet and do want to explore a lot. Although, for some reason, I can't remember our flight last year when our son was 18 months old, so it couldn't have been too bad . Or I blocked it out...

The idea of switching off and on with your husband is a great idea - I think that will really help pass the time. Lots of exploring the aisles - and hope for a smooth flight. Nothing worse than the fasten seat belt sign on the whole time (I think actually we did have that on for a few hours at a time on that flight last year, although it was a pretty smooth flight - sometimes I wonder if the flight staff do it to limit work!).

The important thing to remember is that it is only for a short time and due to all the plane noise, your child's noise isn't nearly as loud to your neighbors as it is to you as they scream directly in your ear .

Have fun and don't worry, it will be fine. Maybe a marathon nap will occur thanks to that rumbling and noise of the plane...
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Old 30.10.2011, 21:40
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

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Hi All,
This year we are celebrating Thanksgiving back in the US. We are really looking forward the celebration and my husband, my son and I will be flying in 3 weeks time.
How lucky that you are able to celebrate with family. One of the downsides of expat life can be the distance to travel for family events. It is even more complicated if you have family in two places. Try not to focus on the journey itself. It's a plane full of strangers who you may never see again. Don't worry about what they think. For anyone who has never flown with a child, they have no idea what it is like. I recall being grateful if I could sleep....even with one eye open.

Also, kids sense when the parents are stressed. Pretend you are calm. It will rub off on your son. Don't deprive him of sleep the night before thinking that he will sleep on the plane. That won't work. He will be overtired and impossible to handle.

Hope you have a lovely family celebration.
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Old 30.10.2011, 21:44
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

I'm blessed with a child who is sort of knocked out by the different pressurization in planes, and usually sleeps the entire way.

For us, the worse is the waiting before boarding the plane, and even worse if the plane is delayed. A little backpack with stickers usually do the trick, as my son is a great fan of stickers.
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Old 30.10.2011, 22:05
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

My husband and I went to St. Louis from Zurich over the summer, through Atlanta. We've made this trip every year, so once with a 5 month old, once with an 17 month old, and once with a nine month old plus a 29 month old.

Here are my tips

1. Don't expect your child to carry anything. My older daughter was, um, useless in that regard. One parent should be able to carry everything except the...

2. Stroller. Foldable, bring it. You will likely have badly times naps, or at least someone who doesn't like the idea if having to hurry up. Screaming toddler in stroller is better than wriggling toddler in arms. Plus, the stroller is handy for your carry-ons.

3. Familiar food. My kids are normally little vacuum cleaners (daycare?) but on the plane they refused to touch anything but what we had. The English language bookstore (Orell Fuessli) On bahnhofstrasse sells some decent baby/child food in pouches, from ella's (it's British) which is safer and lighter than glass. Plus no spoon, which is a big help in coach! Oh, and pack snacks for the adults as well, in case your only nap comes at mealtime. I disagree with the vacation from healthy food idea, mostly because my kids tend to respond to rich junky food with, er, stomach upset. That's just me, though.

4. New toys. Yeah, get the DVD player, stickers, whatever. iPad was worth every penny...for takeoff, I wouldn't give my toddler raisins but juice boxes are the bomb. Or the pacifier, if he takes it. Oh, with toys, small and many is better. Also, twice the diapers and wipes as you think you'll need, disposable bibs (coop sells them under their my baby label), and disposable plastic bags, to put your many wipes in and keep your flight attendant happy. We always bring pajamas and a change of clothes and change ours for the time zone we are going to.

5. Maybe a baby wrap, even if he's too old, if he's a difficult sleeper, this may be your best chance at some sleep, especially if you don't have an extra set. Otherwise, at the very least, a blanket from home. Airplanes are cold.

6. Take turns, be honest when you need a break, and don't feel like you have to be supermom, this is not the time. On the other hand, expect that you will not sleep. Your job is to keep your child entertained. If that means your relatives meet you at the airport, so be it. Low expectations are almost certain to be exceeded. Oh, and be nice and apologetic to your neighbors in flight- a little good will when you are settling in gies a long way.

7. Preorder your baby/toddler goods and have them delivered. We used diapers.com for the obvious, plus bath toys, night lights, some standby easy food, disposable bibs, basic baby proofing. amazon.com delivered a baby seat to my parents. Seriously, having a stash of food and diapers there when you arrive is very reassuring. And don't hesitate to let your relatives help once you are there.

Good news, you'll be fine. Even if you don't follow anyone's advice, are hung over and starving, you'll survive the flight. Thanksgiving is worth it. And, if you are prepared, it is easier to get into the zen state you need to deal with the craziness that is traveling for thanksgiving. So, go ahead and get the organizing done with the attitude that once you are on the plane there is nothing else you can do. Honestly, we've always been told by flight attendants or neighboring passengers that our kids have been really well behaved, and they are not angelic, but we've always gone in prepared and well rested.
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Old 30.10.2011, 23:08
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

We've been traveling by plane with our three kids since the oldest was 3 months old, and it is a lot of work but SOOO worth it. All of the other posters have excellent ideas. I would also suggest:

- snacks or sippy cup for takeoffs and landings, so pressure doesn't build up
- walk around the plane. Those big international planes often have a little space--say, by the bathrooms--where you can hang out and "practice jumping" or just have a change of scenery. It's not much, but on such a long flight, any change is worth it! Have your child go with you to the bathroom; go watch the flight attendants prepare snacks (if they are friendly); go visit the baby who's sitting three rows back.
- Making friends with other toddlers and parents can also help the plane ride go smoother--and if the parents are friendly, you can even share toys.

Best wishes, and have a great trip!
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  #26  
Old 30.10.2011, 23:15
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

Robitussin juice boxes.
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Old 30.10.2011, 23:42
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

G'day Raquel, basically, it will be fine. You'll get there, and have a wonderful time!

I have three children, and have had many flights with all three (one, Sydney to Zurich, where it was just me and all three kids ...). Many of the points other people have made have also worked for me, I'll just revise the most important ones in my toolkit:

- talk to them about the flight. Let them know it will be a long time, that you've packed some of their favourite things (pack with them, so they can see!), and that sometimes they'll have to stay in the seat with you for safety. Also explain that other people will be on the plane, and some of them will want quiet to read, sleep, or do other things ...

- for a younger walker, definitely have a stroller. Good to bundle the child in if they're tired, good to haul carry-on bags if they want to run with more freedom.

- something to suck or chew for take-off & landing, to equalise pressure in the ears. Depending on their age and favourite foods, pick something suitable. Not sure what quarantine rules are like for the US, so you may have to toss it before 'entering' the US at the other end. Just have a back-up of something you're sure to be able to buy from the airport when making your transfer.

- For a long flight, pack pyjamas or a track-suit and change them into it when it's "sleep time". Slippers are also good, more comfortable than most types of shoe and will generally keep their feet warm. Dressing gowns / robes can also be fun.

- Get on last, giving your child(ren) time to move! They'll be sitting down for a long time, let them run and jump and shout for a while!

- Have all of your child's stuff readily available - which means in a bag that fits under the seat, rather than so big it has to go in the overhead.

- Play with your child, if they ask you. What you lose from your 'personal' time is more than gained in your child's comfort (and the comfort of others not being disturbed ...).

- Pack a change of clothes for yourself, as well as two or three for your child, in your carry-on. Save that change of clothes until you're getting near the end of the last flight, rather than using it in the first slight spill ... there will be more!

- Ask the airline staff what they have for children, if they don't come around early in the flight with a kid's pack. New things sometimes are far more interesting than the old! Generally the airline will have playing cards, or colouring books & pencils, or a few other things ... and if you're lucky you'll find a staff member (or two!) who loves children, and will help out even more. We've flown Singapore Airlines a lot, and the cabin crew all love to spend time looking after our blond-haired children! They may take your child for walks up and down the aisles, and explain how the food's prepared ... all free of any extra charge!

- Above all, as I'm sure you already do, follow your child. Look & listen for their signals that they need something, and provide it before the need becomes a problem. A child whose needs are being met is a happy child!

Oh, another point I just recalled - think of whether or not you and your husband want a "quiet seat", rather than two together. Depending on your parenting "teamwork", tag-teaming may be the way to go, so if one of you has had enough, you can swap over ... and get a break!
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Old 31.10.2011, 09:16
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

Take advantage of having your husband with you. I've had to travel alone with my kids and it's not fun . Buy crap toys , pencils , stickers than can be forgotten and lost under the seats.. no need then to hurt your neck trying to pick up his favorite toys!!! I used to buy mini plastic kitchen accessories. the cheapest thing.

What worked well also was sticker books. but your child may be too young to have interest in those.

To fly out to Hong Kong with my second who was nearly 3 ,I gave her a medication against transport sickness for children.. it worked the trick she slept most of the 12 hour flight. I know there are also some calming sirup you can give.

confortable shoes , a pair of sock not to have to wear shoes on board. On a few airlines I have been allowed to lie my toddler down on the floor, much more confortable.

Have to say, traveling is the main reason why i will not go back to Europe at Xmas. However, it's not so much the flight I'm dreading, but the jet lag!!
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Old 31.10.2011, 09:40
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

thermos with hot toddies?
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  #30  
Old 31.10.2011, 11:41
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

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Take advantage of having your husband with you.
I'd like to think that hubby would be 'helping' without being asked but maybe I'm just too advanced compared to some of the inhabitants of this world.
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Old 31.10.2011, 16:25
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

Tons of great suggestions already. I travel alone with my now close to 4 year old a lot.

1. Don't even think about "me time" on the plane unless you can alternate with the other half. Concentrate on keeping your child happily entertain to save him, yourselves and surrounding passendgers the hassle of stressing with a kid.

2. Talk to him about the flight before, explaining ground rules such as no jumping, kicking, pulling on the seat in front or whatever else is important to you

3. Don't forget to arrange for lots of extra drinks and food is definitely a good boredom killer. Though I'd definitely make sure there's not too much sugar involved (sugar and altitude seem to do some pretty crazy things to little 'uns...)


4. Consider taking along a carseat; there's definite advantages to giving your child a seat he's familiar with, and he'll be more comfortable in a seat made more for his size than just the airplane seat. I know lots of people say they would never consider this due to the weight and bulk of the seat etc, but personally, I find it totally worth it. I've always taken a car seat, 1-2 peices of carry on, jackets and all the other junk you end up lugging around airports. Yeah, you become a packhorse, but organize yourself a little (and there's 2 of you!!) and you'll be fine.

5. Gift wrap toys; nevermind the mess you create, think more about the fact that it adds about 5-10 mins per toy attraction

Most crucially, remember that kids pick up your moods; if you're stressed, you will most certainly have a stressed kid
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  #32  
Old 31.10.2011, 16:57
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

I thought this was another "Switzerland is expensive" thread.


I thought prices here had recently jumped from "an arm and a leg" to "YOUR FIRST BORN"

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Old 31.10.2011, 19:25
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

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To fly out to Hong Kong with my second who was nearly 3 ,I gave her a medication against transport sickness for children.. it worked the trick she slept most of the 12 hour flight. I know there are also some calming sirup you can give.
Many years ago before the age of seatback videos and Ipads, my sister flew alone with her 18 month year old and 2.5 year old children to Australia. It was a night flight from Paris and after managing to lose the children in a lift in Charles de Gaulle (they went up in one and she went down in another ) they got on the first leg of the flight to KL, late in the evening. She dosed the kids up with medised and watched with pleasure as they slipped easily off to sleep. She then got herself comfortable, covered herself up with a blanket and prepared for what she hoped would be a good few hours sleep herself.

A couple of hours later she was shaken awake to find two stewardesses in the gloom holding onto her (awake) younger son by the scruff of his neck. "Is this yours?" one loudly hissed. "Because we found him at the door, trying to open it saying "Thunderbirds are gooooo ......" over and over"

Ever since then, I've thought the benefits of drugging your children can be overrated.
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Old 31.10.2011, 23:09
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

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Many years ago before the age of seatback videos and Ipads, my sister flew alone with her 18 month year old and 2.5 year old children to Australia. It was a night flight from Paris and after managing to lose the children in a lift in Charles de Gaulle (they went up in one and she went down in another ) they got on the first leg of the flight to KL, late in the evening. She dosed the kids up with medised and watched with pleasure as they slipped easily off to sleep. She then got herself comfortable, covered herself up with a blanket and prepared for what she hoped would be a good few hours sleep herself.

A couple of hours later she was shaken awake to find two stewardesses in the gloom holding onto her (awake) younger son by the scruff of his neck. "Is this yours?" one loudly hissed. "Because we found him at the door, trying to open it saying "Thunderbirds are gooooo ......" over and over"

Ever since then, I've thought the benefits of drugging your children can be overrated.
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Old 31.10.2011, 23:55
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

[QUOTE=drmom;1392451]You seem like quite the planner !

I am more a finance person and trying to get these 'maths'

I work all day and my son has a really special connection with my husband. I am very lucky of having him but my son is also VERY lucky of having his Daddy anytime, any day, anywhere. They have breakfast together, he drives him to the kindergarten, he brings him to doctor, he gets up during the night when it is needed, he collects him in the evening from the daycare and plans on doing something together with him, they have dinner and then Mama comes home, just on time to brush his teeth and a bedtime story. I forget to add he has his own company and works from home many days until LATE at night.

I am hoping to be helpfull during the trip and not have to say: I did not think about it, I don't know, i forgot about it.... Yes I am the planner as the work gets divided. We will get through the trip and then the fun will start with the jet lag will hit us all ....
I cannot thank you all enough for your comments and for sharing the experiences. I keep taking notes..


"The important thing to remember is that it is only for a short time and due to all the plane noise, your child's noise isn't nearly as loud to your neighbors as it is to you as they scream directly in your ear . "
You have not seen my soon at the top of his voice...
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Old 01.11.2011, 08:17
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

Just remembered that when our son was 18 months we got him a little book about planes and airports, to read on the plane, so he could see what we'd just been doing in the book too. This was a massive hit for several years afterwards.

Also I saw someone recommended boarding first; we actually try to board last if at all possible (unless it's a flight where you don't have seats allocated). If you're last on, people won't be pushing so much, and the little ones get to run up and down right up to the last minute. We take turns playing catch with them in an empty seating area if there is one, with one eye on our gate.
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Old 01.11.2011, 12:52
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

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A couple of hours later she was shaken awake to find two stewardesses in the gloom holding onto her (awake) younger son by the scruff of his neck. "Is this yours?" one loudly hissed. "Because we found him at the door, trying to open it saying "Thunderbirds are gooooo ......" over and over"

Ever since then, I've thought the benefits of drugging your children can be overrated.
the first purpose of the medication was for her not to get sick and vomit on the plane!! same way you'd give your kid some paracetamol against fever. it just happens that it is a child suppository that makes the kid sleepy and at 23.00 hour at night, it does not take much work. your sister gave her kid something for the only purpose to have him sleep or exceeded the doses. you can also give natural things like omeopathy or rescue.
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Old 01.11.2011, 14:17
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

Zurich airport has a great children area but no one seems to know about it because it is called "family services" for some reason.

Arrive early and check in, go into the main area and look for the family services signs (there is one near the A gates and another one at the E gates. Plenty of toys in there for them (and playstation for you) and also microwave/hot water to prepare meals and diaper change stations.

This will get them all tired before the flight...
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Old 01.11.2011, 14:29
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

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the first purpose of the medication was for her not to get sick and vomit on the plane!! same way you'd give your kid some paracetamol against fever. it just happens that it is a child suppository that makes the kid sleepy and at 23.00 hour at night, it does not take much work. your sister gave her kid something for the only purpose to have him sleep or exceeded the doses. you can also give natural things like omeopathy or rescue.
Medised is a childrens parcetemol suspension with added antihistamine to help unblock noses. It is available over the counter in the UK. I can assure you that she did not overdose them. My reference to drugging children was meant to be humorous.
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Old 02.11.2011, 23:37
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Re: Travelling with 1 kid - rather worried....

Wow, firstly I have to say I admire you all! I have only taken short flights with my kids so far, and next year will be the first time we fly with all 3 of them.
There have been some brilliant tips and ideas already. We also bought a book about planes and airports once (from the wieso?weshalb?warum? series - german but really cool) and read it many times before we went. My son found it great to take it with him and watch his book come to life - so to speak. He was a bit older though...
My kids also love the childrens magazines that you can buy at the kiosk, winne the Pooh, Cars etc. I normally get them one and give it to them just before take off. There is always some kind of toy attached to the front, and once they're bored with that they start on the stories, puzzels, pictures to colour etc. Ive managed to get through a flight to London on one of those alone!
I've seen that www.bea-verlag.ch sells the original Trunki for Sfr 48.00, if anyone needs points Pm me, I have literally thousands of them
One thing I am learning though, is not to worry too much about the people around me. A lot of them have gone through it with their own kids and sympathis with you, those that don't - probably won't no matter how it goes with your son. Concentrate on him, keep him happy and entertained and the others will be able to cope too.
Try to stay calm, cool and take everything with a smile. I'm REALLY bad at that, but enjoy every flight I take alone soooooooooooooo much more
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