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Longhaul travel with 6 month twins - anyone done this?

(21 Posts)
ck2409 Tue 05-May-09 22:50:44

Hi all
I live a long, long way from home and am desperate to go and see all my rellies to introduce the twins to their grandparents, aunties, etc etc. However, the thought of doing this with two 6 month old twins gives me the serious wobbles as I just cannot see that it will be a success. The travel alone, never mind that we'll have no equipment whatsoever at the other end so how would we manage. Also, my OH is really not interested in going so he is not exactly helping figure out how we could do it.

Sorry to ramble, anyone done this and can tell me it will all be fine (do twin clubs in UK hire out equipment?) and secondly, anyone flown with Emirates longhaul as they seem the cheapest at the moment.

Thanks for any hints, tips, info.

MissPiggyHasTheFlu Tue 05-May-09 23:01:02

How far away are they - Australia far away or Italy far away?

Would OH go with you despite him not being interested?

Shitemum Tue 05-May-09 23:08:20

Some friends of mine flew from Spain to Argentina with 9 mo twins at xnas. They said it wasn't as bad as they thought it was going to be...
I flew with 21 mo DD and DP to Peru from Spain. It was actually easier on the outward flight which was mostly daytime than the return which was 'night' and difficult to sleep.

ck2409 Wed 06-May-09 19:55:56

Hi there
Thanks for replies. I live Australia far away, so over 24 hours journey. Yes OH will come because he will have to but I need to convince him how we will manage other end when it's not feasible to bring all our stuff.

Really appreciate hearing how other people have managed this in terms of equipment and necessities eg car seats, cots, sterilisers etc etc.

Thanks so much

WhatSheSaid Wed 06-May-09 20:23:33

Hi

Quickly posting while dd has breakfast (I'm in NZ).

I flew alone with dd when she was 7 mo, NZ-UK, only one baby but only one parent too has dh didn't come. The actual flights are much easier the younger the baby - harder when they are toddlers and want to run around etc. Some people fly straight through and get it over with, others have a stopover - I stayed in transit hotel in Singapore airport for about 18 hours each way so at least I got a bit of sleep on a bed. I barely slept on the flights, just dozed a bit while dd slept, so I was very tired at the end of the journey but caught up after a few days.

Sorry I can't help much on equipment - I only took the buggy, which you can keep right up to getting on the plane. My family have loads of kids so everyone I stayed with had portacots for dd to sleep in. I was still bfing so didn't need bottles etc. I borrowed car seat from my sister while there but you can take them - the babies get a luggage allowance. All I took for dd was a few clothes, not even that many as I was planning to go out and buy loads from the shops in the UK for her.

I haven't flown with Emirates but have heard they are good. I flew with Singapore who are very good - especially on the return flight where they took dd off to first class for a while so I could enjoy a meal and glass of wine without her on my knee (she kept trying to climb out of the bassinet when I put her in there - she was 9 mo on the return flight). I don't know if you can hire stuff - do you have family who would be able to lend you equipment while there?

Any other q's just fire away - honestly, the younger the baby (babies in your case) the better - I hope your OH would help enough on the flight as otherwise twins could be tricky.

duckyfuzz Wed 06-May-09 20:32:38

harrogatemum has done it I think, will point her this way if she's around

duckyfuzz Wed 06-May-09 20:36:20

yes she has done it see this thread

Sullwah Thu 07-May-09 15:34:37

Message withdrawn

Sullwah Thu 07-May-09 17:52:04

We went on a 6 week road trip across the US followed by 2 weeks in New York and 3 weeks in France - so total of 3 months - with our DTs when they were 6.5 to 9.5 months.

I have posted the notes I made on travelling with twins below. Basically you need to analyse every activity you do and try and minimise the stuff you need for it - also remember that you can buy stuff out there!

grin

*Best time to travel* - Looking back, I think the best time to travel with babies is before they start solids - some time between 3 and 6 months. At this time you have your routine established, babies will stay where you put them and as long as they are clean, fed and rested they are happy. After 6 months you have to deal with solids (both the hassle of feeding and the change in nappy contents..yuk! and then they get more mobile and more opinionated. We travelled when the boys were 6.5 to 9.5 months - and it has definitely got harder as they have grown.

Aeroplane - The UK airports don't allow pre-prepared milk through security. But we found that Boots air-side always has a stock (but take a powder back-up). The US had no problem with our taking pre-prepared milk on board.

*Sterilising Bottles* - When the boys were 3 months we went to Budapest for the weekend and took enough disposable Steri-bottles and pre-prepared formula to last our trip. Obviously that was not an option for a two month trip! We took 1.5 days worth of bottles with us to give us a little breather on washing and sterilising them. Before we left I was already feeling that sterilising was a waste of time but could quite give up. So I decided that I would just do the teats on our trip and that a good wash in very hot soapy water would be sufficient for the bottles. I had already tried the disposable cold water steriliser bags on the Budapest trip and found them a nightmare - they are unwieldy and will bleach anything you spill the liquid on. Knowing that some of the places we were staying would have a microwave, I bought a little box from Boots for about a tenner that doubles as a cold water and microwave steriliser.
But after a DT sucked DH's Elk poo covered shoes, I decided that the whole sterilising thing was stupid and I stopped - the boys do not live in a Howard Hughes environment - they suck toys after the other one has vomited on it! Obviously if you are breast feeding you won't have any of these issues. But travelling will take longer as you can't breastfeed on the go in the car.

Formula - In London it's really easy to buy pre-prepared formula and it's really cheap so I thought that we would just buy it as we went along to save us worrying about making it up and to save time but in the US it was not so so easy to find and is about four times the price - so, in thjose few shops where pre-prepared milk was available, we tended to by ou the whole stock. In the US it comes in a ring-pull tin can and is much heavier than the cartons in the UK - there is also only one make (Enfamil) that comes in individual pre-prepared cans. In France, again there is only one make that seems to do pre-prepared (Quigoz) and it comes in 500ml cartons - good for travelling twins but of little use for singletons.

Solids - I had daydreams of doing baby-led weaning and getting them to eat whatever we ate on the road... silly me. When you are travelling and you are already doing four milk feeds a day you just need to get meal times over as quickly and cleanly as possible (to preserve laundry and also because you are on holiday and who wants to spend hours feeding twins?). Also we were eating rubbish most of the time especially in the Wild West when the only food available was hamburgers and steak - hardly suitable for babies. So I swallowed my pride and fed my kids from jars of manufactured puree etc - plenty of time for proper food when we get back home. We have given them some finger food - cream cheese on a bagel was on many a hotel breakfast menu as were chunks of melon which you can just stick on a fork and give to them. One DT loves his finger food and the other loves the jars - just my luck to get one of each. Banana would have been great and they love it but it gives one of the DTs a face rash. In France they have enjoyed natural yogurt mixed in with fruit puree and wheetabix for breakfast, and they love to play with rice cakes and bread at restaurants when DH and I have our lunch.

*Disposable bibs* - These are essential on the road - saves on the laundry- who has time to wash bibs?

Clothes - We took too many clothes. Take enough for 7 - 10 days and wash as you go. Most places we stayed in the US had a guest washing machine and dryer - so laundry was really easy. Also as you travel with twins your dirt threshold goes up and clothes that at home would have gone straight in the wash are fine for another outing (or two). DT and I got used to spending our days in baby-milk/sick/food stained clothes - embarrassing in some of the posher places we stayed.

Car - If you hire a car, get one with space between the two back seats so that one of you can sit between them and entertain and feed the kids on the road. There is nothing worse than having two screaming babies in the backseat as you are driving along with no way of soothing them.

*Nappy changing* - The boot of a people-carrier/4x4 is an ideal baby-changing table. You can also use the passenger seat of a regular car though the stooping kills your back. Secluded spots in parks are also good. The US was great as most places have baby-changing tables in both the men's and women's toilets so we could save time by doing one each. We have not seen one baby-changing table in France apart from in the airport. Oddly it was not as easy to get nappy sacks in both the US and France as it in London and so we have been hoarding plastic carrier bags and using those to save our stock (in Canada we bought dog poop-a-scoop bags!).

Sleeping - The boys slept in 12 different beds on this trip - it really is amazing how flexible they were and how easy it has generally been to get them to sleep - even in places where we have all shared a room and in the evenings DH and I watched DVDs, had takeaways and chatted while the boys just slept. Most places provided a travel cot with no sheet - so it's worth buying a couple of travel cot sheets and taking them along to give the children some luxury and comfort.

Buggy - We are so glad that we took our good buggy with us and not our cheap "umbrella" one; - we could take it off-road (perfect for the beach and Yellowstone Park) and could lie it flat and put the boys to sleep in it when we went out to dinner (with a travel rug over it to shut out the light and prying eyes - it's amazing how many people want to poke a sleeping baby!). This meant that we could go out to dinner in the evening when there were restaurants nearby. This is another reason to travel with babies before they get too big to cart around asleep. I wish I had taken along a spare inner tube for the buggy tyres - we had a puncture in France and it was really hard to get it fixed. A flat tyre has the potential to ruin a holiday. We also used the buggy as a highchair.

Toys - We took a few and bought a few on the way.

*Baby Bjorns* - These are not comfortable for long term use when babies get big - but they were very useful when we went on small boats (whale watching), and buses (it's easier to fold up the double buggy if you have baby in a sling). Also in Heathrow you have to pick up the buggy at the carousel with the other luggage - so Baby Bjorns are useful for carrying baby as well as hand luggage on the long walk to baggage collection. (In Vancouver we travelled from the aircraft to luggage collection on one of those electric carts reserved for disabled people, which was great.)

Muslins - A great invention - both for clearing up sick and other mess and for comforting the boys. When they are yelling from tiredness, you can get them to shut up just by sticking a muslin in their face - amazing! Definitely a dependency to encourage! We also used dummies to comfort the babies. I hope that this is a habit we can break when we get back home but we would not have survived without them on the trip.

*First Aid* - I made up my own first aid bag with things that I knew would be useful. Metanium is the best nappy rash cream in the world.

*Blankets rather than coats* - Easier to put on and off when you go in and out of buildings and cars - with twins the whole putting on and taking off layers is a real pain. I am sure all multiple parents have noticed that singleton babies are always more warmly dressed!

*Disabled Access* - When we were in Budapest we realised that our big red buggy would go anywhere a wheelchair could go - so over the past three months we have become very aware of the disabled wheelchair sign. In the US and Canada we could get anywhere (though it was very challenging in New York as there were only about three subway stations in Manhattan that we could use). But in France it is much harder and so we have had to carry the buggy up and down steps.

*Routine and Bath time* - We stuck to our 7am to 7pm routine and I think that is what made the boys so flexible with everything else. Sometimes it was like traveling with a couple of alarm clocks ... we would forget the time - but bang on 10.30am they would both start crying for their milk! DT loved doing a bath with them every night - he gets in the bath and does a boy at a time with me changing them in a production line. We took some plastic fishes with us for bath-time - they loved it.

ck2409 Thu 07-May-09 20:00:18

Thanks so much for the info. It's good to get all the tips so that I can be as prepared as possible.

I forgot that they will be starting solids around that age.

Thanks everyone, some good points for me to have a proper think about.

LiegeAndLief Fri 08-May-09 15:36:02

I only have one ds but have flown emirates to Dubai with him when 6mths and 18mths. They were very good, although if you want to book bassinets for them I'm not sure how this would work - the bassinets go in front of two seats so you and your dh may have to sit in the middle of a row of 4 with a twin on either side - then not very easy to get out. The bassinet was great though, ds wasn't very keen but we used it to put all our stuff in to save getting up and down to the lockers!

Emirates have baby food (jars) on board which you can prebook. We also took a couple of Ella's kitchen premade mush, which come in pouches so much lighter and easier to pack than jars. No problem going through security. Ds only just started weaning so he wasn't really that bothered if he didn't get much food and I was bfing so didn't need to worry about milk.

My mum hired a load of stuff for us at the other end, including car seat etc, although this might work out expensive with twins! There is a big expat community in Dubai so plenty of demand for hiring baby stuff for visiting relatives - guess if you don't have the same kind of thing near your home you would have to rely on borrowing. Maybe there is a TAMBA equivalent or something you could contact if you don't have any friends with baby stuff?

Re steriliser - all you really need is a big plastic tub with a lid and some Milton tablets. If you hire a car you should be able to hire car seats with it.

It really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I only flew 7hrs with one baby and 2 adults! Am sure you would be knackered at the other end but equally sure it would be worth it smile

Laquitar Fri 08-May-09 16:02:22

I think the journey will be hard but i have no experience with long flights as my family is in Europe so only 4 1/2 hours flight. Regarding the equipment the first time i was going to see them i was panicking. Then my mum said to me 'oh fgs we didnt have all these stuff when you were baby and you still survived' grin You dont need sterilisers you can use water and milton and microwave or pan. High chairs are useful but you can do without them. Or you can buy the travell ones that you tie on a chair? For sleeping my mum puts a small mattress or thich duvet on the floor then places the suitcases around to 'guard it' hmm grin

twolittlepigs Mon 18-May-09 21:38:31

I did lon-syd return when my twins were 6 months old. I won't lie to you it is hard!

I went straight through rather than do the long stop-over, and not sure if I would do that again - the idea of sleeping in a bed half way there is very appealing. I didn't really sleep on either leg. I was still breastfeeding and that was the only way I could settle them really, so I was needed a lot! I definitely 2nd the PP recommendation to take Ellas kitchen pouches!

I think the biggest difficulty was the complete loss of order to their day. We only got one sky cot (if there had been enough seat we could have sat seperately and had a cot each) so one of us was always holding one of them! Aaargh!!! And it was just impossible to keep to any sort of routine.

You can hire baby equipment there - a google search should point you in the right direction.

If you OH isn't that keen on going in the first place, he may not be too keen on the hard work of the trip. My mum flew out a few weeks before our trip (DH's work commitments meant he and I had different travel times) and did lon-syd with me and DH did syd-lon.
Are any of your relatives in a position to do that?

Anyway, good luck! The trip was definitely worth it!

twinmam Tue 19-May-09 10:16:56

Not long haul but did 6 hours with DTs when they were 5 months. I have to say it was a LOT easier than when we did the same journey last month with 2 15 month olds - THAT was horrific but largely because we had a night flight and they got overexcited then couldn't sleep and screamed for most of the way (hair tearing out emoticon). Yes, it will be hard but the good thing about little babies is that they sleep a lot and also seem happier about sleeping anywhere/ anytime. Ask your family to hire all the stuff you need in advance (not much - travel cots ought to do it) and if you are FF find out if your brand is available out there, otherwise fill your suitcase. We've had different experiences at different airports re. liquids. You can take the 100ml cartons but they may make you open and test half of them which of course makes them no longer sterile. Could you ring Boots at the airport (the one through security) and pre-book a load of cartons for the flight? You can take your own car seats and don't have to pay extra to do this, just check em in. This is what we did but of course stuff like that can be hired. Those little steriliser bags are v handy and don't take up much space or you could hire a steriliser there. Good luck - I know it's not the same as long haul but still I found our flights with 5 month olds a LOT easier than expected. Also, everyone will coo over them and offer to help. We found even airport security were friendly and went out of their way to be helpful!

twinmam Tue 19-May-09 10:16:58

Not long haul but did 6 hours with DTs when they were 5 months. I have to say it was a LOT easier than when we did the same journey last month with 2 15 month olds - THAT was horrific but largely because we had a night flight and they got overexcited then couldn't sleep and screamed for most of the way (hair tearing out emoticon). Yes, it will be hard but the good thing about little babies is that they sleep a lot and also seem happier about sleeping anywhere/ anytime. Ask your family to hire all the stuff you need in advance (not much - travel cots ought to do it) and if you are FF find out if your brand is available out there, otherwise fill your suitcase. We've had different experiences at different airports re. liquids. You can take the 100ml cartons but they may make you open and test half of them which of course makes them no longer sterile. Could you ring Boots at the airport (the one through security) and pre-book a load of cartons for the flight? You can take your own car seats and don't have to pay extra to do this, just check em in. This is what we did but of course stuff like that can be hired. Those little steriliser bags are v handy and don't take up much space or you could hire a steriliser there. Good luck - I know it's not the same as long haul but still I found our flights with 5 month olds a LOT easier than expected. Also, everyone will coo over them and offer to help. We found even airport security were friendly and went out of their way to be helpful!

BKD Tue 02-Jun-09 13:33:49

First time on mumsnet but had to chip in. Am australian living (reluctantly) in London, pregnant with twins and my DS will be 23 months when they are born. Happy to hear that the idea of flying long haul with twins is possible. Mind you i would swim to Sydney to be with my family if i had to. I have flown to Syd from Ldn with DS when 3 months and then again at 12 months, both times by myself. I would only look at Emirates or Singapore as these are the only companies that will book a sky cot. The others are first come first serve. Emirates also has strollers/pushchairs at Dubai airport so makes the transfer a breeze. Singapore were slightly better as they LOVE children and when DS was older would happily take him away when they could hear me getting a bit fraught. But i am with the others- it was eaiser when younger as the routine was set, i was breastfeeding so did not have to worry about whether it was dinner or lunch, and he slept alot. Jet lag was also not so much of a problem when younger as opposed to waking at 3am for a week when older. I plan to enlist help to get the three of us down under this time- mum on way out and DH on the way back. I can sleep when i get there smile

snappyjenn Tue 02-Jun-09 18:21:20

I am a maternity nurse and have done a few flights with babies now. Last one was with 12 week old twins. Although we had to use oxygen with them, it was easy as they were still at eat and sleep stage!

I travelled with slightly older twins across the USA but even then it wasn't too difficult - tiring but not physically hard.

I think it is important to get the 'system' in place asap after landing so your little ones can feel secure in something. IE: if they normally have a bath, feed and then bed in the evening - stick to it when you get to your destination. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is bath babies, but it helps.

I advertise on nannyjob http://www.nannyjob.co.uk/system/cv_view.aspx?cvid=7396

Good luck with planning and implementing - do it sooner rather then later though!

twinmam Wed 03-Jun-09 08:34:14

Ooh BKD - we are flying to Perth in October with Emirates. DDs will be 20 months old. Am finding your praise of them (Emirates) very reassuring!! smile

jennyroper Thu 04-Jun-09 10:55:33

i have travelled London to New Zealand 3 times with my son, twice with my husband then once on my own when i was heavily pregnant with twins. In September i will be travelling on the same trip with 9 month old twins on my own. Can't say I'm looking forward to the experience but what i have learnt from travelling long haul with littlies is that it's only a day of your life and like BKD I would happily endure a tortuous journey in order to see my family.
Bring on the mayhem I say!
I would second the recommendation od Singapore Airlines they are hands down the best with children. Air NZ and Qantas are extremely average

charlieandlola Thu 04-Jun-09 21:01:11

We flew London=Sydney with 12 mo twins. We flew with Emirates, with stop over in Dubai on way home for a week. We were a bit soft and booked 3 business class seats and 2 bassinets.

We put our watches on and as soon as we were on board, went to Australia time, and tried to keep the 7 am to 7pm Gina routine as much as possible.

Take clean clothes for yourself on the flight. Its all very well if the dt's throw up and you change their clothes. You will need at least 2 changes of clothes each. This will also make you feel more "human" if you are not sitting in vomit covered clothes for 24 hours!

My top tip, is buy stuff on ebay in the country you are visiting, and have it delivered to your family' address.

We spent about £100 on toys and equipment, which we just left in Australia, and my family gave it to a local charity shop.

Good luck!

anjlix Fri 05-Jun-09 13:17:39

Can any one elaborate on what is the best way to travel inflight. My DTs will be 8 months old when we plan a trip from London to US. We are hoping to get away travelling economy because business class would be very difficult to afford. Should we purchase 2 additional seats and FAA approved car seats. Just learned that our Maxi Cosi Cambrios are not approved. We will be flying United Airlines since thats the only one which connects to our rural home town. Any tips, please, thanks.

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