Recently, we had our first trip to the West Coast with our 18 month old. It was our first time traveling with him on an airplane and it was eventful to say the least. I was able to put together a few things that I picked up on during our travel across the state, so I thought I. would compile it in this post.
1. BOOK A SEAT FOR YOUR CHILD: I honestly, couldn't stress this enough, the worst decision we made was to not book an extra seat for our son. Luckily, on one of the shorter flights, we had extra seats so we were able to get a row to ourselves but the rest of the journey was terrible. We were stuck in the middle of the strangers with an incredibly cranky toddler. So just save yourself the hassle and save for an extra seat, it is so much easier that way.
2. BRING A CAR SEAT: One thing I learnt was that you can bring an infant or toddler car seat on to the aircraft. I personally think that this would have made my journey so much easier, Isaiah is usually a lot happier in his car seat and if I had brought it with me, he most likely would've been a lot happier. Also, if you decide to bring a car seat, always remember to follow the correct rules and regulations.
3: SNACKS, SNACKS AND MORE SNACKS: This advice is quite self explanatory, everything is always better with snacks. When traveling the perfect distraction is SNACKS! Before you leave, you can add whatever snacks you need, I'd advise to take dry snacks, pack them into ziplock bags so they are easy to take out.
4. ENTERTAINMENT: I guess, you could add this into my advice to take snacks but entertainment is VITAL too. I personally purchased a Amazon FireKids for Isaiah and it helped to keep him calm and distracted. If you're child isn't distracted by cartoons or if it simply wouldn't work, you can take books or toys that are easy to carry. As long as it is safe, you can make anything into a toy.
5. EAR PLUGS: This worked for us but that doesn't mean it will work for everyone. We took ear plugs for Isaiah so it would help with the pressure and it worked really well for him. I noticed that during the flight he was a lot more fussy when we didn't have the ear plugs in and as soon as we would put them in he was a lot more calmer. The ear plugs helped with the background noise, I would suggest noise cancelling headphone, Isaiah hated headphones but didn't mind the ear plugs. You can always use a pacifier or offer a bottle so you can prevent the pain from the pressure whilst taking off.
I hope these tips help any first time parents. The biggest thing is to always remain calm, at the end of the day if it's a baby or a toddler, there is only so much patience they have and if others can't understand that then they can suck it up. As long as you are doing your best to make sure your child's needs are met there is not much else you can do.