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How to keep 20 month old twins entertained from Newcastle to Perth, Australia?? PLEASE help!

(16 Posts)
twinmam Tue 13-Oct-09 10:13:02

I must have lost my mind because I booked to fly to Australia with our 20 month old twin DDs!!!!

It SEEMED like a good idea when we booked the tickets earlier this year but now it's only 3.5 weeks until we go and I'm beginning to panic!

I know our holiday will be wonderful and it is our dream trip, visiting my BF who emigrated 2 years ago.

We're so excited about 3 weeks together as a family and this will prob be our last chance to go to Oz for a good few years as once the DDs turn 2 we'll have to pay for seats!

But, but, but - a flight with 2 toddlers is starting to seem like a terrible nightmare!

I've been through the threads and picked up lots of good advice but more tips would be most welcome.

We fly at lunchtime from Newcastle and then change at Dubai 7 or so hours in but only with around 2 hours turnaround before the 11-ish hours to Perth.

I'm thinking make the first bit of the flight the 'fun' part and then when we get back on the plane in Dubai we make it bedtime, PJs on, milk downed etc as this seems to fit in roughly with timings.

Also, any advice re cows milk and taking it on the plane - everything has to be in sealed containers, right?

Anyway, please tell me
a) I'm not crazy
b) What to do to make it as bearable as possible for the other passengers, us, and, most importantly, our little girls!

I know it is only a set amount of time and told myself when I booked but it is starting to seem like a very LONG set amount of time!

TIA

twinmam Tue 13-Oct-09 13:58:18

Bumping and adding another question!

Would I be crazy to consider taking our car seats and travel cots with us to Oz?

It's looking quite expensive for hire X2 and we will be arriving at various places late at night etc which will make collecting them awkward.

Anyone done this?

Thanks!

purpleturtle Tue 13-Oct-09 14:07:28

I wouldn't take car seats and travel cots - surely you'll have your hands full enough with 2 children and luggage already.

Don't panic about the journey either. It'll be fine. Although if you haven't got seats for the girls it might be a bit cramped. We flew to Perth with a 4yr old and a 2yr old, and they really were fine. Helped a lot by little TV screens on which they could watch inane kids programmes for hours on end. smile

Your suggested plan of settling them to sleep on the second flight looks pretty good.

purpleturtle Tue 13-Oct-09 14:08:37

Hiring car seats might seem expensive, but by the time your own seats have flown round the world and back they'll probably want replacing.

MissLiss Tue 13-Oct-09 14:16:25

We flew to Perth with our two boys who were 22 months and 3 months at the time. It was SO much easier than I had built it up to be - promise!

There's a lot to be said for carefully planning and packing hand luggage - we gave DS1 a couple of new books and some colour wonder pens (which don't stain anything) intermittently through the journey. He also needed lots of snacks. But he did sleep when it was bed time - it's a very good idea to have a definite idea for when sleep time should be and your plan sounds great.

We did take a portable DVD player which we got a lot of use out of, because he could watch programmes he was familiar with.

And we did take both car seats (as we couldn't hire an infant one for DS2) and they survived - intact - and are still in use today. I wasn't keen on hiring at the other end and DH wasn't keen on paying to hire if we already had two perfectly acceptable ones.

Good luck, have a fabulous holiday!

angel1976 Tue 13-Oct-09 14:44:41

Can you check if the airline with provide you with fresh milk (I doubt it as they only come in those mini bits for tea/coffee)? When I travelled with 18-month-old DS, I just bought those toddler 1+ years milk from Boots as they came in handy sealed bottles (I think about 250ml each so just nice for a feed), which were easy to warm up. And my DS was happy to drink those even though he has been on fresh milk for a while. On the return flight though, I managed to get take some fresh milk in a mineral water bottle so gave DS that.

In terms of sleep, on the way there (night flight), we 'created' a cosy corner near the fire exit door and DS slept really well tucked away in the dark corner and one of us sat with him at all times (but I understand we were lucky that the stewards/stewardesses allowed that as I don't think we were supposed to block the fire door!). On the way back (day flight), we had to rock DS to sleep (for his naps) even though he hasn't been rocked to sleep since he was like 7 months old! And just laid him out on both our seats once he has fallen asleep. We were lucky there were empty seats just across the aisle so we could sit there and watch him.

I would advise you to check in early and ask (as nicely as possible!) if you could have seats in the middle row (preferably in the front row so your DDs could lay on the floor to sleep if it comes to that!) and that you understand the flight could be full but if it is not, it will be really helpful if they could keep the other two seats empty. You never know, they do want to make the flight pleasant for you and the other passengers so will try their best to cater for you!

Enjoy your holiday. I was really worried about the flights too (the day flight was more unbearable as DS spent a lot of time walking up and down the aisle and it was tiring walking behind him and I was 30 weeks pregnant then!) but it was so worth it as we had the most fabulous time on holiday. It won't be as bad as you expect!

angel1976 Tue 13-Oct-09 14:47:06

And don't stress if your DDs don't eat, my DS hardly ate on any flights he has been on so we just gave him lots of snacks that they can eat as finger foods like cereal, yoghurt, fruit tubes etc. He never starved! grin

Catper33 Wed 14-Oct-09 04:50:02

Are you flying on your own with them? and with which airline. Having bulkhead seats with bassinets can be easier than other setas - although your toddlers will probably be too big for the bassinets! BA flights have a great seat you can put on the table at basinet positions which are suited for older under 2's.

Take lots of little things to keep them amused stickers, ink stamps, - selotape was great for our 2 year old as he spent hours sticking it to things!!!

Don't worry about other passengers- concentrate on keeping your girls comfortable, happy and amused for yours and their sakes not for fellow passengers, otherwise you can be so caught up in not 'annoying' them that you and your children are not as settled as they could have been.
Enjoy your trip.

Snotmonster Wed 14-Oct-09 05:33:25

If you do decide to take car seats then just double check they are acceptable in Oz as they are even stricter than the UK.

Definitely take a couple of new toys for interest factor. Sticker books seem to be the way to go - DS (13mo) managed to collect and try to eat the ones the toddler sitting next to us had on our recent flight back from Perth!

Ask for the bassinets - even if your 2 are too big they are incredibly useful for storing stuff in. One of the downsides of bassinets is that even if they do manage to squeeze in if you go through turbulence you have to get them out anyway.

For nappy changes I found it best to have one of those zip lock bags with everything you need for the change in.

Hope that you have some nice passengers in the seats behind -DS was perfectly happy playing peekaboo with them for a good while! We were in some ways lucky in that we had a family of 4 sitting next to us (an 18mo and a 4yo) the 18mo screamed for a good 5 hours and the 4yo had a complete meltdown as we were landing - DS looked like a complete angel in comparison and so many people came up to compliment me on his behaviour! Thing is it could so easily have been us in the same situation as our neighbours - remember the noise of the plane drowns out a lot of the noise and people are used to it and on the whole don't mind (especially if they have kids themselves)whatever you might think at the time.

Have a great holiday!

savoycabbage Wed 14-Oct-09 06:42:04

Hi, I took cows milk. I flew on Singapore airlines. I filled the baby bottles and I had to taste every one at Heathrow and again at the changeover. On the flights I asked the cabin crew to put them in the fridge and then I asked for one when I needed it.

You can't use any car seats here that aren't Australian standards which means they have to have an anchor strap. here

When I did the flight I had too much hand luggage and it made it really hard. When I booked they told me that I would get help from the airport staff and cabin crew but I really didn' (I did the flight with my Mam as my dh was already here) and I brought too many toys and things. The dvd player was the best thing. The children's channel was showing "Cars" which my two wouldn't have watched.

stuffitllllama Wed 14-Oct-09 07:11:49

It might be cheaper to buy car seats and discard them at the end of the holiday. The only problem is, what do you do at the airport. Can your bf meet you with the car seats if you find they are cheaper than hiring for two weeks.

For the flight, the most important thing I reckon is: do not expect to sleep yourself, or eat a meal when it arrives, or see a film all the way through. That way you won't be disappointed.

This might seem depressing but you will get some sleep, you will eat at some point and you will watch a move -- but keep your expectations low and anything extra will be a bonus.

Your plan of fun then sleep on the second leg is good.

Another plan is to separate activities/treats into four or five plastic bags. After two hours, open one: after five hours, time for another, and so on.

Top tip: when checking in and choosing seats, ask how full the planes are. If not that full, then check into seats that are for example: the two out of three from the window, leaving the middle one free: and two out of three from the middle section, leaving another gap in between.

If the plane is not full, other passengers will not check into the seats in between you and you will get a couple of spare seats to lie the small ones down, and dump your stuff, and do activities and so on.

differentnameforthis Wed 14-Oct-09 07:14:02

OK, having done this with one 20month old, here is what I advise.

Ring the airline & find out what luggage allowance your twins are allowed. We were told none by the travel agent but the airline said different (was years ago now, so I can't recall exactly what dd got) & to check if they get meals. Again, travel agent told us no, airline said yes. Apparently TA's tell you that children aren't entitled to anything as a way to get you to pay for it, or but a seat!

Put away some toys now, so they are 'new' on the plane.

DO NOT take anything with lots of parts, the last thing you need is to be crawling on the floor looking for bits. Dd had a bead frame, a colouring pad & some playdough. But she LOVED in the entertainment & rarely took off the earphones!

They do supply some things on board, but what dd was given was unsuitable!

Pack changes of clothes for all of you in hand luggage. Dh pooh poohed this & didn't pack anything in his HL, he was soon glad that I had a spare pair of everything when dd spilt milk all over him within in a hour of take off!

Keep nappies/wipes etc in one small toilet bag. learn to put nappies on in confined spaces grin

Do not bank on them sleeping much! I know that it seems they will, because they should...but it doesn't work that way! Dd was so excited that she barely slept. We managed to get her a bassinet, because she was still tiny for her age, but as soon as we hit turbulence, we had to life her out, which seemed to happen each time we got her settled! Again, you could try the airline & see if you can get a bassinet, but they may be too heavy.

Is it just the three of you travelling? Or will you have help? If you have help, one of you eat while the other is feeding/helping the twins. Then the other eats after. You cannot eat & help the twins at the same time! If they don't get meals, ask the flight attendant to tell you an hour in advance of meals so you can get the children fed. Saying that dd didn't eat much, mainly snacked, so be prepared for that!

You will be called first to board as you have children.

Stay on the plan until last, then you don't have to worry about all the pushing & shoving while trying to get the twins off.

Make sure you have buggies for them. We had a stay over of 3 hours & dd slept most of that (boring airport surrounds)

Get them to drink while you take off/land to help with ear pressure.

I think you would be daft to take seats/porta cots. Ask your family to hire them here, before you arrive. Our were hired at a dollar a day & yes, it is expensive in the long run, but cheaper than bringing them on flight! The car seat situation, they aren't stricter here, they just have a different tethering system. They use an anchor strap from the back of the seat that clips onto an anchor in the car. These cannot be fitted to UK seats.

Try to get to the airport early to get bulkhead seats (as long as there aren't too many families needing bassinets). The extra room means that the twins can sit on the floor.

With it being term time, there maybe some unoccupied seats available on the flight, the flight attendants usually as people to shift about a bit & try to free up the seats near you, which would be great! They did this for us on the way home, so dd got a seat!

Don't count on getting much sleep for a couple of day when you get here. It was very hard to stop dd falling asleep at daft times for hours on end for the first couple of days!

Do not worry about other passengers! It is a small amount of time in their lives & you are just as entitled to fly as they are, as are your children!

Have fun!

stuffitllllama Wed 14-Oct-09 07:20:30

Sorry just one more tip.

On these long flights people wander about early on checking out where the gaps are so they can lie down.

If you spot a gap yourself of two or three seats it might be worth dh going off and "bagging" it for later.

twinmam Mon 19-Oct-09 11:49:47

Thanks so much for all the brilliant tips - it is starting to seem much more manageable and I am repeating the mantra 'It is only one day out of our lives' to myself all the time now grin

We are flying with Emirates and have booked skycots which I think will be bulkhead seats? Not sure if the girls will fit in them but it's worth a try!

We're not going to take our carseats or travel cots as they count as part of our baggage allowance and would mean we couldn't take anything else! I'm hiring them there instead and picking them up at the aiport.

I've tried the girls on follow on milk and they liked it so will use that for the journey in the little cartons as much easier than worrying about keeping cows milk fresh.

I've checked with the airline and the girls do get their own meals which is good but am going to stock up on lots of snacks.

Have also got lots of small new toys and books and am going to wrap them up like presents and open something new every hour (that was a fab piece of advice!)

So, I THINK we are all set! It's just a means to an end and it will be worth it when we're there in the sunshine.

Thanks again for all of the great tips smile

VictoriousSponge Mon 19-Oct-09 11:50:14

theres a whole thing on this in the top tips thing
we get thsit hread a lot

sunnydelight Fri 23-Oct-09 05:32:00

I would ask at check in if the flight is full, and if not would they be prepared to "block" a seat next to you (on either leg of the journey). Much easier than hoping any spare seat will be beside you and most nice check in staff are happy to do this.

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