I was born and raised in Manila but when time came that I am going to be a mother, my partner and I decided that it’s best to give birth in Cotabato where his family resides. My first travel with Inigo at 7 months going back to Manila to see our relatives, I was lucky enough to travel with our Angel-helper. It was no fuss since I had another set of hands helping me and Inigo was still happy in his carrier.
Second time I needed to go back to Manila, I was a yaya-less and Inigo was around 17 months and I was a little nervous with our 2 hour flight to Manila. Surprisingly, I did not have a hard time flying with my little boy, here’s what I did that made our flight as smooth as silk.
1.Book your ticket at least 2 weeks in advance for you not to feel pressured packing things. There’s a lot to consider in booking such as if baby is well, if you are mentally prepared but if you got time, you can maximize everything. If you can choose a Sunday Flight. No traffic.
2. If you are flying local, choose Philippine Airlines and make sure choose a seat in the front row to have bigger leg room and choose the window seat. Though PAL might be, 1,000-2,000 pesos pricier than Cebu Pacific, their services are way better! Plus their infant fee is only Php 450 compared to Cebu Pacific, they charge Php 870.
3. Pack all your things and divide it, ones you need the most in the luggage and ones you don’t need the most put it in a box and choose a courier that can deliver door to door and estimate the time of arrival. I sent my package last Friday so I’m sure it will be delivered Monday. (my flight is Sunday by the way) Why choose courier instead of bringing it with you? Well. It’s a hassle to bring a lot of baggages with a toddler in tow. Imagine, you have an active toddler who wants to run around everywhere and you are busy waiting at the baggage carousell? Not to mention the effort to carry it at your push cart!
4. Wear comfortable clothes! If you’re breastfeeding, make sure you wear nursing wear so you can discreetly breastfeed. For your baby, T-shirt (dont wear onesies so you can change the clothes easily without taking the pants off) jogging pants (not constricting so he can move comfortably) socks (so the coldness of the cabin won’t get to him) and rubbershoes so you won’t need to check regularly if the shoes is still there.
5. Check in early! Avoid the long lines so the baby will not have to wait, they’re not very good in waiting, they often get bored and throw tantrums.
DON”T HESITATE TO ASK FOR HELP
I really asked for someone in the airline who can help me bring my handcarry and backpack inside the airplane so that I can fully enjoy my son’s first reaction to seeing an airplane.
6. Prepare 2 wallets. One is for the bigger bills with all your ATMS and Big denomination of money, put it inside and deep in your bag so even if you are busy attending to your baby’s needs, your belongings are safe.
Second wallet you put around 500 pesos but in a very accessible area, better if it can fit in your pocket so if you need to hand cash to some porter, buy some drinks, buy a lot of junk foods that your toddler keeps on insisting buying and terminal fee.
7. Board first. If you have an active toddler, boarding first means he will not fall in line, can be settled right away. While you can fix your things, get your things ready for him and you don’t feel rushed nor be aggravated by the people who wants to sit too.
8. Prepare an entertainment showcase starts as soon as you sit in your assigned seat. I had a lot of puffy stickers with me, i kept on giving him and he kept on sticking it to the window!! Gave me 20mins of chill time until we started moving. Takeoff time, i carried him and took a video of it and kept on talking to him for him not to fear anything. Airplane fasten belt light is off, took the table, let him watch youtube and timing is, our free food arrived! We had chiffon slice with water. He ate everything by himself while I try to rest. He got bored and I took my entertainment showcase number 3, my Melissa and Doug magic pen! He got entertained for another 20mins, got bored and last showcase is my unlimited set of puffy stickers with sticker book! Got him happy fro around 10mins. When I felt my ears in pain because of the change of altitude, i tried to breastfeed him and he fell asleep.
9. Board last. Since your baggage will take a while to unload and be placed in the carousel. Just sit, relax and wait for the stewardess to endorse you to special assistance! (NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE) I asked for a wheelchair for my baby since he just woke up! He was so happy with the situation.
10. Bring extra food if you are travelling with a toddler! I am very lucky that we packed his favorite meal before we go, was stuck on traffic and he happily ate it. I made sure I brought rice and egg with ketchup! I am always ready with food because I know how unpredictable the traffic is in Manila. Better be safe than sorry is a good motto to live by if you have a toddler with you.
11. Ask a friend beforehand to get you in the airport. I am really shy when it comes to asking favor/help from other people. When I became a mother, I became more assertive when I needed help because I do not want my baby to be in a place where he would feel stressed or inconvenienced.
12. Bring bribery food like lollipop or chocolate! Any new things or environment that we expose our child in, usually makes them uneasy and their initial reaction would be crying or uneasiness. It’s always nice to have something that can alleviate the stress easily or distract the child from a tantrum.
I know that we are all different and different folks, different strokes. I am posting this hopefully to help first time mothers out there that doesn’t really have an idea how to make the flight more comfortable.
What are your other tips in travelling with a toddler?