Fuel For The Long Haul

Next Wednesday I have the distinct “opportunity” to travel with all three of my children on a 14 and one half hour flight, alone. In fact, I periodically get this so-called opportunity and as a result have a bit of actual advice to get you through your next flight with your family.

1. The flight will end and you will get off the plane.
2. You may think you need to bring 6 changes of clothes for everyone. Murphy’s Law states that if you bring 6 you’ll need 7, so pack lighter it won’t really matter.
3. Dress in layers. This is two-fold; First layers can be removed to keep you warmer or cooler. Second, when one of your kids gets sick or spills their meal on you you can rinse off a bit. Fleece, as in the jacket, is key.
4. Don’t be shy asking for help. In fact, take advantage of the dozen and a half in-flight staff that seem to have a serious case of idle hands when they aren’t passing out Dixie cups of Sprite.
5. When your meal arrives ask for yours to be held for you until the kids are finished. Your seats won’t be as messy when the kids are done and if you are less stressed you are less likely to eat the cake from your tray and the kids in an effort to “make room” on the trays.
6. Take a walk. Take each child one at a time for a walk up and down the aisles. It’s good for them and you to stretch those legs. Take a look out the window in the rear galley bulkhead and s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
7. Bring a “lovey”…for your kids. For us it’s a blanket that each of the kids sleeps with and without that blanket we risk tears from all three kids or just plain nasty airline blankets.
8. Entertainment is the other name of the game but airline headphones can be pesky for small kids and eliminate everyone’s enjoyment of Finding Nemo. There are specialty kids size headphones out there so if your kids are smaller keep your eyes peeled for these!
9. Pack your patience and your toothbrush. From experience, this won’t go off with out a hitch but may not be as bad as you imagine and arriving with a fresh feeling mouth sort of makes a difference.
10. Take a deep breath.

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