Sorry I haven’t been in touch for over 2 weeks.
I was having a great time overseas in Thailand and when we got back we finished up our move into our new home 🙂
Things are settling down now and I’m glad to be back with you!
Today I thought I would write to you about how we recently travelled to Thailand with 2 kids, a pram and lots of luggage LOL
To begin with we had to prepare ourselves for the long haul.
It takes about 9 hours direct from Melbourne to Phuket and flying in economy class it’s not very glamorous or comfortable.
But, like all things we try and make the best of the situation.
In our group booking we knew there would be a lot of the family traveling with us so if we needed some extra hands then it was great to have them to lean on.
But in the end we wanted to complete the trip ‘on our own’ so that in future when we travel we know we can handle it – but it was good to know there’s a Plan B 😉
So here’s my Top 3 travel tips after our recent experience:
- Pre-trip prep work
- Games and iPad
- Sleep hacks
1. Prep work
I would strongly consider night time flights both outbound and returning home.
When we left Melbourne at 2pm to Thailand the kids were full of enthusiasm and were hard to ‘contain’. Then, once we arrived at the other end at almost 11pm Australian time the kids were pretty whiny and understandably irritable.
On the way back we left Phuket at 11pm (Thailand time) and the kids were already asleep before we had wheels off the ground! Emelina slept all the way through and Kyneton woke 2-3 times over the return trip mostly to feed.
If possible, try and leave at night time as it’s far easier for the kids and as a by product… easier for Mum and Dad 🙂
Another thing we did was prepare Eme (our 3yo) for the flight by explaining what we would be going through in the weeks leading up to the trip.
We explained to her in a playful way how big and busy the airport will be and she’ll have to hold hands with Mum and Dad so she doesn’t get lost, smile at the customs officer when they look at her passport, put her watch and travel bag through the xray machine and finally you’ll get to sit on the plane!
We would then mimic how the plane rattles when it starts down the run way and shudders when you take off the ground.
Emelina can be sensitive and can be very cautious in any new environment so when we explain things to her and describe what she may be experiencing we know that she’ll be much better prepared.
We even showed her Youtube videos of families going though the airport and being on the plane with kids of similar age and that seem to do the trick. Eme was very happy and excited when we arrived at the airport seeing her family especially her little cousins about to jump on a plane!
It’s funny now because whenever Eme sees a plane now she says: “We’re going to Thailand” 🙂 I wish Eme!
The last thing I would recommend is getting your passport organised early.
We had a few dramas with our application for Kyneton because the photo quality was not up to standard.
We went to the local Post Office and they were adamant that holding the baby behind a white background would be good enough. What happened? We got declined as his head position wasn’t quite right.
The second time we applied for Ky’s first passport we got declined a second time because there was a slight shadow on the photo – this time it was taken at the local pharmacy.
Finally we managed to get it through on the third photo attempt.
How? We used a white blanket on the ground and then asked the pharmacy attendant to take a photo of him from the top looking down. Wish someone told me that from the beginning. It would have saved us 3 weeks of time!
*TIP – I would recommend organising all your travel documents 3 months before you leave just in case something comes up especially if you are applying for a toddler
2. Games & iPad
On our Jetstar flight (a budget carrier) there are entertainment packages where for $10 you can have access to the TV and cartoons for the kids.
We were in a tough spot here philosophically because we only allow screen time for Eme at night when we ‘wind down’. I wrote about that previously here.
Should we allow it on the plane as a one off? Or should we be consistent?
We both decided on the way there that if Eme could get some sleep on the flight we’ll reward her with screen time.
She was asleep before the plan even took off!
I think the excitement of it all and the big build up exhausted her. Poor Eme 😉
She probably slept for 2 hours which meant we had another 7 hours to try and keep her occupied.
I was focusing on managing Eme because she’s more active and required more attention to make the trip for us and everyone around us more comfortable.
Colouring books lasted about 30 mins before she got tired of that.
Trips to the toilet and walking up and down the aisle with Leki probably totalled 30 mins.
6 hours to account for….
I would probably say she had 3 hours of screen time where she watched 2 movies on the iPad and play some games.
The remaining 3 hours was sleep at the tail end of our trip with the help of our cushion (more on that later).
Kyneton on the other hand was pretty low maintenance.
All he wanted was to be fed every 3 hours and cuddled. He probably slept 4-5 times for around 45 mins each time. The rest of the time Leki and I took turns holding him or one of the family members took him of a little while to hang out.
He was getting a little irritable by the end of the flight and I think it was just the new stuffy environment he was in.
Neither of our kids had trouble with ‘popping’ in the ears at take off or landing although we were prepared with lollies for Eme and breastfeeding for Ky.
Always room for improvement 🙂
3. Sleep Hacks
I would probably say we need to focus more on our sleep efforts next time. The kids were fine it’s more about Leki and I.
I had been doing some research about a product that is an inflatable cushion that creates a ‘bed’ for a toddler.
After speaking to my sister we decided we’d buy one for our toddlers to see if would make the travel a bit easier.
After my experience I would highly recommend Kooshy Kids for your overseas travel if it’s more then 4 hours and your toddler needs a good quality sleep!
*TIP – Just make sure your carrier allows this product as we had a bit of resistance from the flight attendants (we had gained approval pre-flight from Jetstar but the flight crew weren’t informed)
The cushion is easily inflatable with a manual pump in only 10-15 minutes and you can add it as apart of your carry on luggage.
It works by inflating into the ‘negative space’ under your legs when you are sitting on a flight.
We used it in the final 3 hours of sleep that Eme got on the way to Thailand and she was very comfortable in the fetal position.
Unfortunately the hand pump was broken when we used it to inflate some floaties for the pool at the Thailand resort and so we were unable to use the Kooshy Kids cushion on the way back.
Eme was very uncomfortable with her attempted sleep in the fetal position and she was splayed out across Leki’s lap and her seat on the flight home. Poor girl!
One thing we saw but didn’t apply ourselves (wish we did though) was using the tray tables as a bassinet for Ky.
Imagine dropping the tray tables down, laying some blankets down and putting a baby on the makeshift bassinet. That’s what my sister did on the return flight with her baby but I didn’t think to do it myself.
Next time I will be using the cushion for Eme and the tray tables for Ky!
Lastly, we had focused so much on the kids that we forgot all about ourselves.
Next time we travel overseas I will be doing some research on a neck pillow and one of those face masks with earplugs so I can get some quality sleep. More on that next time.
Well that’s a little insight into our trip overseas.
Although it only covers some of the struggles with travelling with a little family I must say we had a great time!
Not only in Phuket but enjoying our first time on a plane together as a family.
One of many firsts I’m sure 🙂
Have a great day.