I started taking my son along with me for vacation since he was 6 months. He is 3 now and has travelled with me on most of my holidays.i think the earlier you start the more adjusted they get. By 3 he has become quite the avid traveller knowing which suitcase will go in the plane "dicky" to which handbag will go in the overhead compartment and the plane "aunty" will serve me food and give me the gift bag.
Listed below are a few tips that have helped in travelling with my son
1. Stroller-Put them in a stroller habit from early months. The stroller I use for my son the Stokke xplory( not the lightest)but the smoothest stroller ever.It is my number one go to item for travelling. My son loves the high level seating on his stroller as well as the option to change the setting from front view to rear view. There are lot more travel friendly stroller available but having one and getting your child used to it is what's important. The baby carrier in contrast I have not had good experiences with.
2.Feed the child during take off and landing- Always feed your child milk or juice during landing or takeoff to prevent their ears from getting blocked. A golden tip my pediatrician gave me for when my son turned two was to pop a lollipop in his mouth as he wouldn't agree to anything else. I always get organic lollipops by yummy earth available online in America and UK so that I don't feel guilty of feeding my sons sweets.
3. First aid including sedation medicine-For urgent situations in airplanes my doctors travel first aid kit recommends pedicloryl for sedating the child on the flight. Yes I have given my child this medicine and he is doing just fine on his developmental growth. If the doc recommends it why make your life miserable and have 350 disturbed passengers staring at you. Although I do prefer taking a flight coinciding with his sleep timing or night flight. Also carry basic medicines for fever, cough, cold and nausea as recommended by your pediatrician on the flight.
4. Favourite Toys-Be prepared with entertainment. Carry your child's favourite toys with you and have them at arms length. The toys that work best for me are the blocks, puzzles, figurines, colouring books and crayons and his favourite books.
5.iPad-The most important life saver the IPAD. Pre download your child's favourite stories, cartoons , and child friendly videos so you can put it on immediately when required. Let's admit we all resort to technology at the end of the day to make our lives easier
6. Carry homemade non perishable food-I always find it difficult to feed my child when travelling specially at the terrible twos age. It's best to carry home made easy to eat food such as cheese sandwiches, dry rotis and Paronthi , namkeens and cookies. Because no mother is satisfied till their child stomach is full and no child really eats the "child meal" except the bread and the juice.
7.Online check in to get the seats that suit you. Preferably a window , middle and aisle if father mother and child is travelling. A trick that sometimes works when only two of us travelling is to block the window and aisle seat and hope that no one sits in the middle. Has a 60 percent success rate.
8. Stop over flight for long distance travel-For travelling long distances over 10 hours better to take a stop over flight. We all need a break to get off and stretch our legs and freshen up ourselves and the child. My son loves to buy a small toy at the airport which keeps him busy for the next leg of travelling. I always refill my food goody bag from the airport as well. Useful things to grab include bread, sandwich, juice and cookies.
9.Put the child in stick on diaper not pant style-always make my son wear the normal active diaper not the pant style one when travelling. It is very difficult to take off the pant style diaper and the clothes. The other stick on diaper makes changing on changing tables on flights much easier. Do carry potty seat covers and wipes as a must during potty training.
10. use the family and special needs line-Look for line for family and disabled at all airports it will provide you faster access with the child. For example - delhi airport has a disabled and diplomat line which mothers with young kids can use and Hong Kong airport has a special family line to make travelling with young children easier.
These are some of the tips that I use when I travel with my son and has definitely made my life easier. But as I said I thought I'm the mother who knew it all but with a child there's no such thing.