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To ask how to survive a long haul trip with a 2 year old?

42 replies

NeedingAGoodNap · 16/10/2022 04:16

We are flying to London from Melbourne Australia at Christmas time this year with a very active 2 year old! We have 3 flights to get through

  1. Melbourne -> Sydney (3 hour layover)
  2. Sydney -> Singapore (1.5 hour layover)
  3. Singapore -> London

Does anyone have tips on what to pack to survive this trip? We are flying premium economy in the hope that some more space might help a little bit!
OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

10 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
hdoodle · 16/10/2022 04:38

At that age, be prepared to walk up and down the aisles many many many times, so wear comfortable shoes for yourself. Try games like having her take giant steps, tiny steps, walk backwards, or count the rows, etc. I found toddlers easier than crawlers because at least they could walk the aisles. We also withheld screens and favorite toys for a week before flying to increase the novelty.

You know your child, so you can gauge whether they will be kept busy by items like sticker books, etc. For my kids, novel snacks really held their interest. I also packed a few resealable plastic bags in case of travel sickness, a couple of changes of clothes for my child, and a spare t-shirt for myself.

Finally, try to at least pretend to be relaxed and happy- your mood will rub off on your child’s! D

Careerbreaker · 16/10/2022 04:51

We did the same trip with a 3 and 2 year old. Best tip is to get a car seat that fits in the plane seat so you can strap them in when you need to and it’s also more comfy for them to sleep. We had a britt ax one back in the day X

BritInAus · 16/10/2022 04:56

Hi! I did this same trip when my DC had just turned 2. It was honestly not terrible at all, I was quite nervous. It was just the 2 of us, I assume from your 'we' there is your partner/spouse travelling too?

My main tip was, don't expect to relax. I really had to change my thinking from 'this will be hell' to 'there's no other option' and lots of 'how lovely to have a chunk of time together' (I was working a lot at the time and had lots of mum guilt, so tried to turn that around into lots of quality time with my child).

If there's 2 of you, I really suggest you take turns. 2 hour blocks. OR a movie each. So one adult can completely zone out and relax. Let them have a movie, nap or read for 2 hours by the window seat. Don't put DC in the middle, or if you do, be firm with 'leave daddy/mummy/whoever, they're relaxing' and really do let the other adult relax. You're likely to then both feel happier when it is your 'turn' to be 'on'.

I worked hard to ensure my DC would sleep when appropriate, and accepted that this may well be on me. I didn't expect to sleep - I would rather be tired with a ratty toddler!

I took lots of tiny presents/activities and wrapped them all in newspaper. Someone suggested that as a) it adds 20 seconds to each item coming out and b) you can use them more as bribes. Buy whatever your child will like. Arty things, small figurines, a book, whatever. We did lots of sticker books. I bought one of those magnet sets - ours had ballerinas. We walked up and down a lot. Went to the little station at the back for drinks/snacks on the longer flights. Read stories. Watched tv. Talked a lot!

I took empty bottles and asked for regular milk to help my little one get to sleep at bedtime and naptime. Took a sleepsuit and did a 'let's get ready for bed' routine for 'night' with a bedtime nappy and went to brush our teeth in the toilets and a sleepsuit.

TakeMe2Insanity · 16/10/2022 07:00

We did a lot of long haul at that age:

ipad loaded with cartoons and kid headphones
lots of snacks then more snacks
if a milk drinker, an empty flask and but milk when you are airside
fill a bag with lots of fun little toys they haven’t seen for a while
sticker books
rub off crayons
if you aren’t travelling alone then swap every couple of hours so its fair

TakeMe2Insanity · 16/10/2022 07:01

And in your stop overs let them run around a lot.

Ydkiml · 16/10/2022 07:08

If you think your child may sleep at some point , then buy a mini blow up pool floater . I did this when we travelled the world with our 18 month old . Blowed it up and lay on it across our legs . Sounds crazy but it worked brilliantly.

ivykaty44 · 16/10/2022 07:08

I flew solo with my dds in reverse to you, aged 3 & 9

i took some piriton for dd2 just in case

she fell asleep mostly on every flight before take off and never got jet lag

dd2 still had a dummy until after that trip as I wanted it for take off and landing, whereas dd1 could have a boiled sweet

i took a change of clothes for all of us incase anyone was sick on someone else

THisbackwithavengeance · 16/10/2022 07:09

It won't be that bad.

Inflight entertainment system will have plenty of cartoons.
Lots of snacks.
The novelty of the plane and airports and meals will keep him occupied as well.

I personally wouldn't take shedloads of actual toys but I do appreciate that some people would rather bring the entire contents of their toybox at home rather then "give in" to screens so it depends where you sit on that spectrum.

ChakaKhanfan · 16/10/2022 07:09

we did this with my daughter when she was 20months. Someone on here recommended not letting her know that getting out of her seat was an option, otherwise it’s non stop walking, so that’s what we did and she was fine. Back to back Peppa pig, constant food from airline staff and naps. She was on cloud 9.

PinkPrettyAndPointed · 16/10/2022 07:11

Done this flight too many times, with a pretty laid back DC and the other one on the go non stop.

Take plenty of snacks, buy cheap new toys (like from the reject shop) and bring out when desperate. Don't worry how much tv they watch. It's not important during a 24 hour flight. Bring their PJs and put them in them when you want them to sleep (signalled to ours is was nigh time),

And finally, always book the least amount of stopovers! Melbourne, Singapore, London is best! The pain of the extra onboarding/offboarding is not worth the pissy amount of $$ you saved.

CleopatrasBeautifulNose · 16/10/2022 07:16

I did this trip too and came here armed with tips but other pp have already said them. 😁 Great advice. I was mentally prepared not to relax at all, so being kid entertainer didn't bother me, that's a biggy. Didn't let mine binge on screens for too long at a time as that makes them really grumpy.
You'll be fine. 😊

Heyahun · 16/10/2022 07:19

I travel a lot with my daughter as live in a different country to my family ! She’s 20?months now and we go to japan in feb just before she turns 2

we find the best thing is to get her to have a good run around ahead of flight - we flew yday and we took turns going around the airport going into shops with her letting her go up and down some steps - she found a ledge she wanted to her up on and jump off - it tired her out!

we got her a reusable sticker book which is bloody brilliant - she spend 30 mins picking the animals off and sticking them on different pieces of the scenes that came with the set - then she started to stick them all over the windows and tray r table

we went to the toilet and she enjoyed having a look in there and washing her hands 🙈

walked up and down a bit

plenty of iPad - she watched a load of her fave shows

heaps Of snacks

she read some books with us

we had a toy monkey and that got some value - we moved him round the plane and hung him out of various things which she found funny for a while

then she eventually went asleep on my lap for almost 2 hours which was actual bliss 🙈🙈 apart from dead arm

it’s not amazing but you will get though it just being a bag of new toys activities they’ve not seen before and introduce throughout the flight :)

PrincessesRUs · 16/10/2022 07:21

Stickers that he could peel off on his own and stick on the but in front and then I peel and restock somewhere else kept him entertained for hours. My husband booked the seats where there's nothing in front of you (the baulkhead?) and this was a lifesaver! Totally agree about keep back favourite toys for a bit before. Keep things in your bag so you can dish out something new every 30 mins. My hand luggage was entirely full of stuff to keep my 2&4 year olds entertained- 4 year old just wanted the screen but the 2 year old was massively frustrated with the on board entertainment as he kept touching in therefore stopping whatever it was

PrincessesRUs · 16/10/2022 07:25

Also if you go into it thinking you're not going to relax and it's going to be awful then I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!!! I also agree with the stay in your seat area - we didn't walk up and down at all

Daisy03 · 16/10/2022 07:29

Lots and lots of screen time, and take headphones you know will fit a toddlers ears.
We didn't walk up and down the flight at all, I've never seen anyone do that and think it would actually be quite annoying for others are the aisles aren't that wide.
Reusable stickers and snacks.

Cormoran · 16/10/2022 07:34

In Premium economy the armrest doesn't lift, and your son won't be able to lean on your lap to sleep. To make it more comfortable for your DS to sleep, consider an Inflatable Travel Foot Rest Pillow, look them up on amazon.
As other have said, watch a lot of tv, maybe have your own headset.
You don' t have a layover in Sydney. You land at a domestic, have to retrieve baggage and then get to Sydney international, do check in and security and every else.
Have your vaccine certificate on paper. Have a change of clothes for the adult as well in case of spilled drinks and a plastic bag to put dirty/wet / soiled clothes. And wipes .

Sleepyteach · 16/10/2022 07:35

Singapore airport has playgrounds, so a good chunk of time in there might buy you some sleep on the final leg!

QueenofLouisiana · 16/10/2022 07:39

If time allows in Singapore, visit the butterfly garden or the swimming pool- if open now? Lots of exercise and change of scene.

We wrapped up little presents and gave DS a choice from a bag every few hours: a car, a sticker book….

Cowhen · 16/10/2022 07:46

Agree with PP about lots of screen time and lots of snacks.

We found that the Water Wow/Water Magic books kept DD's attention (just turned 2) for ages. You "paint" with the refillable water pen to reveal the pictures. The first picture is dry and ready to reuse by the time you finish the last page. IMO, Water Magic (Melissa and Doug) has a better pen but DD preferred the pictures in Water Wow.

Parker231 · 16/10/2022 07:48

We first did the trip to Australia when DT’s were two. They watched screens and we took a bag of individually wrapped little toys, all very cheap but they were each played with for quite a while. We also have done the trip with breaking up the trip and having a full day stopover at somewhere like Singapore.

ohfook · 16/10/2022 08:04

Have incredibly low expectations expect it to be an absolute fucking nightmare and plan accordingly. Like really think of the worst possible scenarios until you're absolutely dreading it and have packed iPads, changes of clothes, things to clean up vomit, books, snacks, a change of clothes for you in case they have an accident on you etc all to mitigate any possible problems.

On the day you fly you'll find it won't be nearly as bad as you'd anticipated so it'll feel like a win.

savoycabbage · 16/10/2022 08:06

You have to treat it like work. It's a job that has to be done so you can get to the lovely end result. I just say yes to pretty everything. More TV, more snacks etc. Lots of conversations.

Take fruit.
Take small headphones.
Take her own sippy cup that doesn't leak when it tips up.
Take a change of clothes and baby wipes. Mine always just went in pyjama the whole way.
Take a book with plenty to look at like 'you choose' that can generate lots of conversations,
Take a whiteboard and a pack of whiteboard pens,
Take a balloon to play with in the airport.

I wouldn't take a car seat. It's too restrictive.

Cowhen · 16/10/2022 08:12

Oops! Water Magic has the good pictures, and Water Wow (Melissa and Doug) has the good pen.

lifehappens12 · 16/10/2022 08:13

Board last - having flown with babies and toddlers I find the worst part boarding first and then the toddler is confined in a small space while you try and take things out.

You board first, get organised and husband chases toddler around the gate for another half and hour.

Airlines kindly let families board first which means you can be on the plane nearly another extra hour before take off

beingsunny · 16/10/2022 09:01

Kids Bluetooth headphones, we do this flight every year since my son was born 10ths ago, the year we took headphones you plug into the iPad was a pain because he sat on it and broke the attachment, nobody wants to listen to cartoons all the way!

The ones they give you aren't any good for small kids I find.

Other than that PP have covered it all

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