My husband and I are going to Paris in May with a 18 month old. The tickets are booked! Does anyone have any advice on surving an international flight with a toddler as well as any hotel recommendations in Paris?
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bring a bag of toys, books, and snacks to entertain with for the flight.
be very patient with your child, because they don't deal with jetlag very well. it takes a month sometimes for them to adjust and then if the trip is short, your babe will be pretty messed up when you get home.
take a look at your health insurance policy for information on what to do for medical help while overseas. they usually have some kind of toll-free 24-7 number to have handy for an advice nurse if you are in a bind. know where you are staying and where the nearest clinic or hospital is. your insurance can help you with that information. we've never had to use this info, but we like it all the same.
bring some favorite comfort item to help them sleep on the plane.
ask your pediatrician if there are any safe meds your toddler can take if they really start to freak out and cannot sleep.
Esther - posted on 03/11/2009
Oh, one other thing I though off: My friend's husband traveled from Switzerland to Australia with 2 little ones (both under 4 by himself - what a hero). One of them got sick on the plane and threw up all over him. He had several changes of clothes for the kids, but none for himself. The airline gave him some PJs so he had to wear those for the entire trip, go through security in them etc. You might want to throw a new shirt for yourself in your bag too just in case.
Shana - posted on 03/11/2009
We just got back from a week trip between Israel and the US. The best thing we did was get our 18 month old a seat. Bring a car seat with (check international standards since what the FAA says is fine on a plane may not work coming back even if it is the same plane). It will be a secure place for your child to sleep. Be prepared for the airline to not help at all. We had some really nasty crews on the flights. Our daughter did well with the jet lag, since she just slept when she wanted to. Gate check the stroller so that you can have it as soon as you get to the gate and in between if you have a lay over. Make sure to pack extra pants so that in case there is an accident you have a change. Put Desetin and teething gel in a side pocket of the diaper bag so that you can take it out when passing your carry-ons through security. You can carry them on, but they will set the machine off. Bring straws with so that if your child does not want to use a sippy cup they can drink from an airline cup or the can that the juice comes in. Make sure you all drink often. Be prepared not to get bulkhead (the extra leg room seats) because you are not going to get a bassinet. Get up and take a walk up and down the aisles ever two hours. If your child is sleeping exercise his legs to keep the blood flowing and to prevent blood clots.
Esther - posted on 03/11/2009
Relax! My husband and I are both Dutch but living in the US. That means that both our families are a 7 hour flight away from us so we have taken our now 14 month old on 3 trips over there already. I still get nervous every time, but it's really never necessary. Of course it got a bit more challenging as he started becoming more mobile (the first time we went he was barely 4 months old so we dropped him in the bassinet and that was that!), but it's still not nearly as big a deal as you might fear.
I disagree with Juanita that kids don't deal with jetlags very well. I'm sure it depends on the child, but in my experience (as well as my friend's who have taken their little ones on long trans-atlantic trips), kids handle jetlags much better than their parents! They take it all in stride. Of course you are messing with their routine so they may be a bit unsettled and wake up in the middle of the night, but overall, they generally do not seem that disturbed by it.
I do very much agree with Danielle that getting a seat for him makes a big difference! As he will be stuck on a plane for several hours, any extra room to move you can give him will help. We always get the extra seat and bring our own car seat for him to sit in. Don't get me wrong, he is not going to just sit in it for 7 hours, but if he can climb over it, stand on it, that all helps. Plus it enables at least one of you (at a time) to eat the meals they provide in relative peace.
I don't think you need to bring too many toys/books etc. Snacks are good (my son is a big cheerios fan and we also always bring some snack cheese, plenty of bottles etc. (don't underestimate bribery ;). Some toys are good of course but you are far more entertaining to them than any toy anyway and they tire of them quickly. So just bring what you can easily carry.
I would recommend getting a large diaper bag with plenty of pockets etc. so you can easily grab what you need on the plane without having to dig. I bought the Ju-Ju-Be Be Prepared and I LOVE it. I also got several of the Ju-Ju-Be accessories. My favorite is the Be Quick which is just a little pouch that can hold one or two diapers (of course bring more than that), some wipes, some A&D and some bags to throw the dirty diapers away. It is so useful in a small plane restroom to have this little pouch with all the essentials and not have to drag in the whole diaper bag or carry all the stuff with you lose. You can create something along those lines yourself too of course. A large zip-lock would probably do the trick.
The last bit of advise I would give you is to try to arrive at the airport early. Just give yourself plenty of time so you don't have to stress getting through check-in, security etc. Overall though, it's usually much easier than you would think and you are rarely the only one on board with a little one.
Kathleen - posted on 03/09/2009
Greetings, I traveled with my boy to Peru this past Jan, but he was not walking yet. I was traveling with a friend and that was essential. It sounds like your husband will be with you so that is a bonus. I just packed a small bag of not too loud objects to carry on to the plane (also some good familiar snacks), and then of course he was happy with the plastic water cup they served us! Also if you did not get him his own seat then be sure to know ahead of time that they tax lap children for international flights. I showed up to SFO and they wanted over 500.00 from me in taxes for my 10 month old lap child! I was not prepared for that. If you know about herbs, I would look into a good mild nervine formula to use with him for if he decides to freak out, or you just need him to sleep. Also bachs rescue remedy (flower essence) is amazing, for you all, as travel is stressful! good luck!
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