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Flying 12 hours with a 23 month old - what should I bring?

(19 Posts)
Bouncey Mon 21-Oct-13 20:41:16

Dear lovely mumsnet tees,

I am flying to South Africa next month with my almost 2 year old. I fly short haul quite frequently (parents live in Ireland) which has proved torturous, so I am really dreading the flights. My little girl is generally well behaved and chilled, but doesn't cope well with disruptions to her routine and tends not to sleep in unfamiliar environments. She is also a little tantrum prone at present! We are flying overnight, so hopefully, at some point she will sleep.

Are there any good toys I could bring to help distract her on the flight? We are visiting my elderly in-laws, who are a 5 hour drive from the airport. She isn't obsessed with TV, so cartoons are unlikely to hold her attention for too long.

Advice very gratefully received!

ubik Mon 21-Oct-13 20:42:34

take gin

VinegarDrinker Mon 21-Oct-13 20:47:33

Travel aquadoodle
Mini playdough tubs
Crayons & paper
Small cars
Toy animals
Finger puppets
Loads and loads of snacks
IPad/phone with interactive apps
Magazines with cheapy toys on the front

(We don't fly but do a lot of long train journeys)

StrawberryMojito Mon 21-Oct-13 20:49:20

We did 9 hours with 18 month old DS, it was hard work.

Things that helped, booking premium economy seat for extra leg room and be sure to request the bulk head. This allows you to put dc on floor and stretch their legs. Also, we took our iPad and loaded it with apps and videos. We took a few books and small games, and a travel size magna doodle. Finally, snacks, lots of them. Good luck.

Oh and take calpol just in case of ear pain.

VinegarDrinker Mon 21-Oct-13 20:51:55

Oh also magnetic books

IBelieveInEngels Mon 21-Oct-13 20:55:52

We flew to NZ with our then 20/21 month old.
We took a hand puppet and one book to occupy him.
Airlines also gave use little packs which varied. The air nz one was roo old for him to appreciate but the klm one had some coolmlittle animal magazines and a finger puppet.
Take plenty of snacks. If you haven't booked a seat for dc then they may not get a meal.
Bring a changing wrap as the toilets are so tiny, no room for a larger changing bag....and don't forget spare t-shirts for yourself - poo smeared boob is not a good look.
Ds was occasionally distracted by cartoons but mostly all he wanted to do was climb on and off the seat and look at the safety card!

Good luck!

Bouncey Mon 21-Oct-13 21:07:47

Thanks so much - great suggestions. Like the vodka one! Sorry about the "tees" in original post - predictive text!!

vvviola Mon 21-Oct-13 21:14:47

Ubik - I came on to post the exact same thing! grin

My piece of advice for anyone flying long haul (although I did it for short haul too - we flew a lot with DD1 between 18 months and 4&1/2)....
Bring spare clothes in your carry on - for everyone in the group. You never know who will be sick, spill something, etc etc. I always used to pack two of DH's t-shirts as they would then fit either of us, plus extra for DD (and on one occasion I ended up taking off my top for DD to wear as a dress & I wore DH's tshirt!)

Also a pashmina/scarf/shawl is always useful - blanket/something to sit on/play peekaboo with. I once used one as an impromptu sling to help me carry a tired but heavy DD1 through the airport.

magicstars Mon 21-Oct-13 21:17:14

I just did two long trips with 19m/o.
We got through it with stickers, stickers and more stickers. Dd liked sticking eyes, noses and mouths on faces best.
Finger puppets, books, crayons and colouring books.
Take food that he'll eat so you don't have to rely on the airline providing something he likes.
Can you ask to be seated near other families so the dc can entertain each other?
Hopefully he'll be distracted by the films for at least some of the journey.
Good luck!

Somersaults Mon 21-Oct-13 21:23:54

Stickers is a good shout and I took as many cheap crappy pound shop toys as I could realistically fit in my bag. It didn't matter too much what they were as long as she'd never seen them before. Then every time she got a bit antsy I just pulled out a new toy and ta-da! Happy occupied baby again! And loads of snacks, I didn't worry if they were healthy or not, I just wanted to keep her quiet. She didn't sleep much. And if you have an iPad or a phone put some new apps that she's not seen before on there too. My daughter's favourite thing was a little bag full of cheap metallic bangles. She just put them in and out of the bag and on and off her wrist over and over again.

justabigdisco Mon 21-Oct-13 21:25:02

iPad with iplayer app and favourite programmes downloaded
Small, crappy presents wrapped up in bright paper
More stickers

Bunbaker Mon 21-Oct-13 21:55:22

Ear plugs! for you and the other passengers.

thethighshaveit Mon 21-Oct-13 22:06:18

I have a small business selling travel toys for just this kind of thing. Does anyone know if I am allowed to mention it or if it's not OK. I obviously haven't mentioned it so please don't shout at me!
We also have travel advice and tips and I will just copy some of the content across if I can't link to the site.

Bouncey Wed 23-Oct-13 20:52:53

I'm not sure you are allowed to post the info thethighshaveit, but I'd love to know - perhaps pm me?

cariad73 Wed 23-Oct-13 22:01:54

baby Benadryl from the US grin

In lieu of that, I think above posters have covered all the basic needs. Stickers and iPad were lifesavers for us, but it's never easy. DD is 3 and we have done about 12 long haul trips with her - maybe more, I lost count - since she was born. We are experts in torturing ourselves. Honestly without the iPad I might have broken down a few times. In fact I actually did break down a few times in that horrid period where they are crawling/walking till they get more attached to watching TV and movies.

Toddlers are fickle, so I suggest you get lots of little fun things and wrap them up like presents and then break a new one out every hour or so.

Just under 2 is a hard one as they are big but cant have their own seat. Depending on the airline, get the bulkhead seat and hopefully they have a kid seat that will fit your child. BA has a Britax angled seat for the bulkhead cot fittings - although my daughter would never sleep in it.

Ask about on the day upgrades when you get to the airport if you can spring for some extra cash. Nothing makes a long flight with a toddler easier than a fancy seat and some good champagne. smile

cariad73 Wed 23-Oct-13 22:03:25

Also whatever you do, do not go on the FlyerTalk forums and ask this question. smile

Bouncey Wed 23-Oct-13 22:58:17

Love the champagne idea! We are flying BA and have a bulkhead seat, and we're premium economy so it shouldn't be too bad... But my little girl isn't great at sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings so I worry. We did the same flight a year ago, before she was even crawling and she cried for about 5 hours despite us doing all the right things - so not looking forward to this one! Thanks to everyone for the fab advice.

Kateandrew Mon 25-Nov-13 03:17:35

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

LayMizzRarb Sun 01-Dec-13 06:34:25

Get her used to some over the ear headphones at home.
White chocolate buttons are your friend (make less mess!)
Don't take toys that 'roll' - you don't want to be searching for things 10 rows back.
Practice drinking with a straw. The action will help to clear LO ears.

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