I have single mum friends who travel with their kids all the time. They jet across continents and oceans with nary a blink. I have married mum friends who kiss their husbands goodbye and fly internationally with their small ones in tow, their travel routine down pat.
Then there’s me.
I’m not a road warrior. To me, flying is still a fascinating adventure I didn’t discover until I was in my 20s. This means I’ve picked my friends’ brains to come up with the top five tips for flying alone with kids:
1. Snacks. Every mum I spoke to reminded me to bring snacks. As if this Italian-Irish mama would ever forget to feed all the people. Still, it was great advice. Especially when I was told to avoid salty snacks and to help fellow passengers out by keeping peanuts off the menu. As an epi-pen carrying person, I’m happy to oblige.
2. Remember batteries run out. More than one mum warned me not to rely on battery operated electronics during a six hour flight – especially since my electronics of choice are of a brand that drains power like a vampire. They suggested I bring cards and colouring books, old standbys I hadn’t even considered.
3. Toys get lost. Over and over I was told not to bring my son’s prized Lego collections or my daughter’s beloved magnetic paper dolls. Instead, it was suggested I take a little trip to the discount shop and stock up on cheap, losable toys.
4. Ask for help. This is a tough one for us independent mothers, but one woman who travelled internationally, alone with her year old, said she would never have made it without asking for help from the flight attendants, the baggage handlers, and even her fellow passengers.
5. Remember it’s part of the holiday. One of my best friends, a frequent flier, told me to relax and remember, the journey is part of the trip. She told me to spring for a glass of wine and enjoy this time away from time with my children.
Do any of you veteran travelers have any other tips?