After planning for and surviving 2 days of travel and about 24 hours of total plane time each direction on our most recent trip to South Africa, we have a few updates and additions to our original post about traveling with kids.
This was far and away the best upgrade that we could make to our travel plan. The pillow sits on the floor, between your seat and the seat in front of you. After finding this site weeks before we left, I was sure that this was the answer to a lot of the problems that go along with kids sleeping on the plane for any length of time. Noah is too small to get comfortable sleeping upright on the plane and we had been bringing Natalie’s car seat on the plane but now she was too old. I went to order two and they were out of stock throughout the US. The website said to email if you were traveling soon in case any became available. Out of desperation I did, without expecting anything. Within days one that had been opened, but not used was returned to the company. Days later it arrived at our door in time for our trip. Talk about customer service!! In place of a second we used one of these inflatable pillows, but it wasn’t quite as long or wide as the kids pillow.
We blew the pillows up after reaching cruising altitude (to avoid changes in the pressure in the pillows as you rise). The pillow was inflated some before putting it in front the seat, then inflated the rest of the desired way while in place. What happened from there was little more than magic. The kids were able to lay down and stretch out. Naps and bed time were extended and didn’t involve sleeping on an adult. While awake, they were more comfortable and less items were lost to the abyss below their seats. I even used it some while seated next to them. It was easy to carry in our bags, inflate and deflate. We had checked both car seats, which let us move through the airport a lot easier.
For $30, we will buy another one of these when they are back in stock. They are a must for any traveling where the kids will be sleeping.
- Try to adjust to the time zone you are traveling to on the way. This really applies when traveling for longer distances across multiple timezones. We set our watches and minds to the final destination time as soon as we get on the plane. Kids naps and sleep schedules were planned with that in mind. I always try to sleep when the kids do at this point, because that doesn’t just apply to newborns right haha. We use Benedryl for what would be the kids overnight time. The end goal was getting just enough sleep and arrive in the time zone ready to jump into the appropriate time of day. We have had great luck with this method on this trip and our Turkey trip.
- I mentioned this in our first post on traveling with kids and it is all the most true after this trip. DO NOT TRAVEL WITH YOUR NICE CARSEATS, regardless the distance traveling. Thankfully we traveled with a second hand full booster for Noah and a very base model toddler seat for Natalie, because her’s did not make it back. We strapped the two together and on the way home only the booster was located. After literally two month of pestering the airline every 1-2 weeks and submitting a receipt for the carseat, I was reimbursed. Long story short, not worth the hours of my life lost on hold awaiting this decision. Tips for transporting your carseat.
- Double Umbrella Stroller. We bought this for a trip to Florida 2 years ago and Noah technically weighs too much to be in this stroller. But it was a last minute decision to bring this over the single stroller we took to Turkey. It turned out to be a life saver. We had short layovers at all of the airports and getting them in and loading up their carry on bags on the back kept us moving. We were able to gate check the stroller and while typically in the past they would be there when you get off the plane, Emirates checked it all the way through to our final destination each time. Dubai actually had a lot of strollers for general use throughout the airport, which was surprising and helpful since we didn’t see ours there either time. the double stroller was small enough to fold and fit into any car.
Contact me if you have any questions or input on traveling with kids. I’m always looking for ways to make it easier as well.