Travelling can be such a joy for the whole family, but the idea of long plane flights or overseas trips with babies — especially twin babies — can also be absolutely daunting. It’s probably unreasonable to expect getting to and fro be an easy process but there are ways to improve your chances of a seamless and stress free journey for you, your babies and (hopefully) other passengers too.
These are my top three tips for taking a trip with babies:
1. Write a Detailed Schedule for the Journey
The purpose of this schedule is to minimise disruption to your routine. You will have so many things to think about, such as remembering tickets and which bag contains the passports, that you may find that naps and feeds are not kept on schedule. If you have a thorough plan laid out (down to the half hour or so), you reduce the possibility that your baby becomes unusually hungry, tired and cranky. Your schedule might look something like this:
- 5am Feed baby
- 5.30am Pack Car
- 6am Depart from home
- 6.40am Arrive airport, check in
- 7am Feed baby at departure gate
- 8am Board plane
- 8.30am Plane departs, baby naps
Naturally, and unfortunately, you can’t account for blips in the system or unexpected occurrences but you will be as prepared as you can be.
“Yes, dear check-in clerk, I know my babies are adorable and you just want to squeeze their cheeks all day but please can we move along? Because they are also HUNGRY.”
2. Wear the Babies Out
This may be a contentious suggestion but I swear by it: run those little ones ragged so that they travel calmly. If that means taking them to a playground on the way to the airport, or letting them crawl (within reason) around the airport then do it. Happily, most people have met children and babies before and they will understand what you are doing. They may also think your offspring is adorable (see above) and want to get involved with the play. Those who mutter rude comments under their breath should be ignored, and those who offer negative feedback should be reminded that: “if these kids seem troublesome to you, imagine how hard it is for us.”
One caveat to this tip is that the activity used to drain all that pesky energy should not be so fun that it will cause tantrums when it must end. I once found myself surrounded by very nervous/hostile looking fellow passengers (and a small fistful of hair removed from my head) when I had to remove one of my children from a car simulator game in order to board a plane. Luckily he was lulled by the sound of the plane’s engine once we were seated, and I had a bag of tricks on hand, but it was a very uncomfortable beginning to the flight for me and many others.
3. Travel as Lightly as You Can (or: “hire everything at the other end”)
A double-stroller is a key item in my life these days but I’d still prefer not to take one through a busy airport and onto a plane. And what about baby cots, high chairs and the other large pieces of equipment that seem indispensable at home? There are alternatives and light versions of just about everything available if you choose to invest (but please do be cautious of any kind of travel cot, since some have found to be dangerous).
However, the baby itself is an extra piece of luggage and you only have so many hands. I’d recommend simply renting (or borrowing) whatever you can at your destination. This is particularly useful for baby beds; hotels will usually have one cot but we have often had to hire a second. You’ll find specialist baby hire companies at locations frequented by tourists that will rent you anything from a kettle to a bouncinette.
If you do consider hiring a double-stroller, remember that not every location is stroller friendly and all pavements around the world are not created equal. You may find that you’ve gone to the trouble to bring or hire a latest model pusher but you can’t fit it into any local doorway. Oh, never mind, I’m sure you’ll find a sidewalk café and a nearby place to park the babies….