Our last family trip to Brazil included the huge task of handling two 18-month-old lap children, no easy task with a 5-year-old in tow and a 24-hour trip. Our excursion started in Boston, with layovers in New York and Sao Paulo, then we finally reached our destination of Vitoria, Brazil. I learned a lot about air traveling with two toddlers from this round trip vacay.
Plane Lessons Learned:
- Less is more with carry-ons and layovers. If we had a direct flight it probably wouldn’t have mattered to much about how much carryons we had but with our 3 plane itinerary, the carryons ended up being more of a hassle then they were worth and scaled way back on the trip home. When you are each carrying a baby, watching a kindergartner, and worrying about all the carryons it can get crazy. Then if you add airplane stairs to the mix because the plane doesn’t pull up directly to the gate… forget it.
- Ask for lap child seat belts! I can’t believe we traveled three planes down there and not one stewardess mentioned these to us! The first flight on the trip back they brought them right over and they were awesome, they just wrap around your seat belts and are so helpful with keeping a fidgety baby seated
- Some Stewardesses are better than others. All in all, we were pretty lucky we traveled Delta and Tam airlines, all our Tam flights were great, but I learned years ago with my oldest that Brazilians seem to be a lot more tolerant about children travelers. My first flight on Delta to NY was horrible the stewardess was rude and snippy about the twins and while never offered the lap seat belts she seemed to come by my husbands seat 10 times to complain about how he was holding my son I swear she would have been happier if DH sat on him. The way back the Delta stewardesses were awesome! gave the kids snacks and the pilot came out with wings for them. A good stewardess can really make the whole process a lot less stressful.
- On the way there I packed a bunch of toys and activities with the hope of avoiding any meltdowns but the best thing I packed was Tape, regular scotch tape, I packed a few rolls of it and it kept them busy for hours. Perfect for taking off and landing when you can’t use electronics or have the tray out.
- Prepare before you board. Have bottles ready, diapers changed, and jammies on before you board the plane. The plane bathrooms are so tiny, lines can get long, and by the end of our long flight they were pretty disgusting so trying to change a rolling toddler wouldn’t be to much fun, and making a bottle with a grabbing toddler in your arms, not so easy. Also get yourself ready for a long hall stuck in a chair, once Lilly fell asleep I wasn’t moving an inch.
- Bring everyone a change of clothes on the plane. I thought I was safe packing just a pair for the babies well you can’t predict everything. My oldest who has never gotten motion sick in his life (and has taken this trip 3 times before) got sick on the way home and got sick everywhere, all over himself, DH, and Aidan. This lead to a quick stop at the airport gift shop after the plane landed.
- A rolling carry on is best, I brought a rolling suitcase with the babies clothes and then when traveling through the airport we put everything else in it, Diaper bag, laptop bag, pocketbook, etc. One bag to roll one carriage to push, done.
- Schedule a good chunk of time for layovers. You don’t want to be running from one plane to another with little ones. It is best to give them some time to run off energy, move around, eat, and watch the planes out the windows. This will make for a much more pleasant plane ride.
- Bring your own food and drink on the plane. On international flights, they still usually serve dinner and breakfast, but with a lap child, it is practically impossible to eat. There is little room left to open your seat tray and even when you get it open trying to stop your munchkin from spilling everything is a whole different task. I went to the food court prior to boarding and got a drink with a cover and takeout that I could eat out of the bag, this was a lot easier.
All in all our trip was easier than I expected and well worth it!