Travelling with a toddler

I had a great idea before we went on our first holiday as a family of three to blog my tips and tricks for travelling with a toddler.


As I sat in the airport before even boarding the plane I thought to myself, the only useful piece of information I could share would be DON’T DO IT! My original blog post plan went out the window and I decided I would share our experience travelling with a toddler.

Our day began with a 3am wake up call as we had an early morning flight. My genius idea was to lift Ruby out of her cot at the last minute (taking care not to make a Home Alone faux pas) and transfer her into the car, where she would sleep until we got to the airport. I had a beautiful outfit packed in her trunki which I would change her into when we arrived at the airport. DOUBLE HA. Ruby was wakened the second I set foot in her room and it was crystal clear there was no danger of her going back over to sleep.

Fast forward 45 minutes, we were standing in a massive queue for check in with a child who appeared to be under the influence of some sort of stimulant drug, my money was on ecstasy. What I haven’t mentioned is that I have a terrible phobia of flying, so I was standing in said queue with a screaming child who wanted blood trying my best not to pass out or vom (or both). Duty free shopping is minus craic with a toddler, not a single mac lipstick of cheap bottle of plonk was purchased. I drank cold coffee and ate half of a stale blueberry muffin from Starbucks as their queue was the shortest – we were done with queues by this stage.

Something which I did learn on that day was that there are two types of people at an airport; those with children and those without children. Those without children sit back smugly drinking their coffee or pint of beer (the only two beverages people seem to drink in airports) whilst breathing a sigh of relief they are not running around like a blue arsed fly doing everything and anything to keep a child quiet and relatively still. Those with children are united in their torment, giving that ‘they are little shits’ nod. It was in the departure lounge I met two lovely ladies in the same predicament as myself; one lady sat beside me as we both took our diazepam tablets half an hour before boarding (my flying phobic soul sister), unfortunately we weren’t heading to the same holiday destination so when her flight was called, we hugged each other in that ‘I hope your plane doesn’t crash and your toddler isn’t an asshole for the entire duration of the flight’ manner.

When you own a small human you get the ‘perk’ of boarding the plane first. I can’t speak for people who aren’t afraid of flying but I personally cannot see how this is a perk. How is spending a extra 20 minutes on an aeroplane with a Tasmanian devil a good thing?! We were seated beside a family of four, their two little boys aged 6 and 10. I was well and truly sedated by the time this lovely lady sat down beside me, I must have told her 15 times I was thrilled a mummy was sitting beside me because I knew she wouldn’t judge Ruby’s behaviour. I can’t remember this lady’s name, but she was a little angel sent to that aeroplane to help entertain my mini human. Ruby fell asleep for all of ten minutes in her daddy’s arms during take off (WHY DOES AN 18 MONTH OLD NOT GET THEIR OWN SEAT!?) which was fine, as takeoff was the part I was most anxious about.

One hour into our flight, the lady beside us said oh no (can’t remember his name) is being sick. She went into full mummy mode and was cleaning up copious amounts of puke. Cabin crew aren’t allowed to assist in cleaning up bodily fluids (who knew) all they did was pass this lady blue roll and tiny plastic bags. I hate vomit almost as much as I hate flying, so when a bag of vomit was set on the seat beside me I was pretty much ready to tell the pilot to turn around and go home. Once my new mate was sitting back down beside me with the bag of vom safely deposited in the bin, she told me her six year old had eaten an entire bag of Haribo, half a tube of Pringles and a drank a tin of monster. I have no idea why he was sick……

We landed in Reus airport two hours and fifteen minutes after departing from Belfast International. The longest 135minutes of my life. Thankfully we had a short bus transfer to Salou, around 20 minutes which was rather relaxing in comparison to the flight, it’s amazing how much new sights and sounds can entertain a little human if you say ‘wow look at the…’ forty times over.

Once we arrived at our hotel, the journey seemed a distant memory and the fun began. We had a fantastic two weeks, in fact we both agreed it was the best holiday we have been on in our thirteen years together, watching our daughter absorb her surroundings and experience all of those new ‘firsts’ was worth every single minute of that flight (bag of vom aside). Neill and I both took comfort in the fact that return journey couldn’t possibly be any worse than our flight out, and we were right! Our journey home was mid morning, Ruby had got a full nights sleep and was a little dream in the bus, airport and plane.

A few tips I do have are as follows;

  • Bring ALL of the snacks in your hand luggage,
  • Peppa pig is a must, download as many episodes as Netflix will allow,
  • Break your flight down into fifteen minute slots, we had nine slots to get through which seemed much more achievable than two hours and fifteen minutes – try to do a different activity after each time slot.

Lucy x

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