Imagine this. You are folding your child’s stroller for x-ray baggage screening before boarding. Your son’s free. He is running fast going to all possible directions. You still need to bring out your laptop, camera and phones, together put those in a tray for screening as well. Afterwards, you need to go inside the screening area and wait for your valuable things, bags and your baby’s stroller. Put them back again and… wait, where’s your kid?
Life is a race. Literally yes when you have a toddler. My son’s quite active. I am so thankful that he is because that is his normal self. I am used having my husband around whenever we are flying. If he is not available, I will have my mother, aunt or sister accompany me going to Singapore. But time has come and I need to be more of an independent traveler slash mother. I have traveled twice with my son, for this year, alone and without any help. It may seem not quite an accomplishment for some, but for me, it surely is.
I will be sharing with you some tested tips on how to travel with an infant or a toddler. Hoping this can reach parents who will be on the same situation in the future.
But before that, let me share some facts about traveling with an infant.
Children under 2 have the option of traveling sitting on your lap but their fare is not FREE. You still have to pay for their fare. Oftentimes, way less than half of the basic and without travel tax.
If your spouse is an OFW, present a Marriage Certificate, Birth Certificate of your child, and his OFW contract (for OFWs in Singapore, you can present his IC) to avail discounted travel tax. For kids below 2 years of age, they are usually FREE. For an adult dependent of an OFW, you need to pay Php 300.00
PURCHASE MORE CHECK-IN BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE
As much as possible, check-in all of your things so your hands will be free and you’ll be focused more on taking care of your baby.
TAKE THE STROLLER WITH YOU UP UNTIL THE DROP-OFF POINT BEFORE BOARDING
At first, I thought of putting the stroller for check-in since Changi airport has nice airport strollers available after immigration. But having my son sit on the stroller while I take out the electronics in my hand carry bag gives him the shortest time to walk or run away (during the last check on the boarding gate).
Put your hand carry bag(s) first on the x-ray baggage scanner, then put the electronics on the tray for screening as well, then unbuckle the stroller’s seat belt and remind your child NOT TO RUN. Luckily, my son was entertained by the airport officer and he walked slowly towards him at the other side of the metal detector. Make sure you’ll get the stroller first afterwards and let your child seat comfortably on it while you put back the electronics back to your bag.
BRING ONE HAND-CARRY BAG ENOUGH TO KEEP ALL YOUR CHILD’S NECESSITIES DURING FLIGHT
You can bring as many bottles you want, with water in it during flight. As long as you have a baby and the liquid is inside the bottle, they will let you pass. I always bring 7-8 bottles per flight even though our travel is less than four hours only. Maybe because I am a paranoid mom, or maybe because I just don’t want my son to be thirsty in case of emergency landing somewhere (hope not!). Nothing wrong with being prepared and ready.
LET YOUR CHILD DRINK OR EAT DURING TAKE-OFFS
This is a universal traveling tip for parents. To avoid getting a lot of pressure in your child’s ears, make them drink their milk or water during take-offs and landings. If you have a toddler, allow them to run at the airport or spend their energy in the playground if there is any. I always let my child be thirsty when it is near our boarding time so he will take the drink I prepared before take-off. When he was a baby, he will easily snooze his way to sleep. But things have changed, he is always awake now.
BOOK A SEAT IN FRONT, IF NOT, ASK FOR A WINDOW SEAT
Seating in front has many advantages if you are traveling alone. If your baby can still fit inside the baby bassinet, ask one from the crew and you can put your sleeping baby on it. The bassinet is usually available for guests sitting in front where it can be hung. If your child can not fit there anymore, front seats give you more space than usual for playing, if you have prepared activities for him or her, which I will discuss later.
If you forgot to book a seat in front, ask for a seat beside the window. By doing so, you can point other airplanes to your baby during boarding and show your baby the clouds when your already flying. If your baby fell asleep, you can lean on the aircraft’s window wall and you can try to sleep too.
I love sitting beside the window. Because when we are already up and flying, I will sing Peppa’s Song softly to my son’s ear “Flying high, in the sky, flying high and high and high” and he will surely smile.
PREPARE ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR CHILD
The main objective here is how you can keep your child busy during the flight. I usually bring some of his colored pens and a paper, so he can doodle if he wants.
You can also bring pocket-sized learning flashcards, and discuss them with your child.
My husband consistently reminds me to bring my son’s toy cars whenever we leave the house, especially during our travels. Cars can keep my son busy for a long time. So yes, bring your kid’s favorite toys, but avoid the heavy and bulky ones.
BRING YOUR CHILD’S FAVORITE CRACKERS
My son’s favorite biscuit is Leibniz Zoo. It is basically a butter biscuit with shapes of different animals. It made my son busy for about 15 minutes while in flight because he likes listening to me as I make each of the animal’s sounds before he takes a bite. Bringing your child’s favorite crackers can also give him or her relief from ear discomfort, by munching some.
SAVE YOUR CHILD’S FAVORITE VIDEOS
I know screen time is not recommendable for kids’ age less than two, but for me, screen time in flight is definitely an exemption. This is the most effective way I can keep him sitting on my lap. However, my child will still get bored and try to stand up.
LET YOUR CHILD PLAY FOR A WHILE
Sitting for hours is a very boring task. Allow yourself and your child to stand up once in a while, walk through the aisle. Allow your child to talk to the person sitting beside you. Allow him to stand on your lap so he can see the people sitting at the back. Allow him to play with your seat belt. Allow him to play his favorite travel toy. Just please be mindful and considerate of your seatmate’s comfort while in flight.
ASK FOR HELP IN GETTING YOUR LUGGAGE FROM THE CONVEYOR BELT
You are already a super human for safely and successfully traveling alone with your child. There is nothing wrong with asking help from others, especially when claiming your bags from the conveyor belt. It will not be an easy task, so look for a good Samaritan.
As you can observe, I did not put any photos on this blog as I can’t find any decent picture we have during the flight. That means I was too busy keeping him occupied.
I hope these tips can help you prepare on your next flight.
Thank you for reading!