Traveling with Kids Overseas
I am in the sky, traveling overseas with my son Odin. I’m 5 hours into a 14 hour flight to Korea and seeing the airplane diagram reads “2/3 of trip has been completed.” Odin is on his 3rd movie and taking a nap which gives me a little time to write.
This trip will give my son Odin, his 13th country stamp on his passport and mark 4th time he’s gone to Asia. Did I mention he is only 3? I personally did not cross 13 borders until I was well passed 30.
The reason I am writing about traveling with kids overseas is that many people have asked me how do I do it? How am I so carefree about traveling with a toddler on a 10 hour flight? Am I so crazy? What is my secret?
Well, unfortunately there isn’t a magic potion that knocks a child out for the duration of the flight (somebody should really invent that) but I think it’s just the experience that makes it easier each time. I figure, that if you fly to China with a toddler on China Eastern or Air China, you are practically flying next to the chickens. You are ready to take on the world.
A lot of people perceive me as this hippie carefree mom that is fazed by nothing–even in her travels but the real story is that I’ve done it enough times and done it completely wrong enough times to know better. Much like my career, when I am nervous or anxious about something I attack it. I plan everything as if it were a military op and try to foresee and avoid any potential mishaps. What…you want to go to the bathroom ten minutes before boarding time? You want to stop for McDonald’s before you find your gate? You pull any of these with this mama, and you will receive the most lethal Korean mom death stare of your life.
Like I said, I don’t have a secret that will make everything great, but here are some tricks that I gathered:
Toys and books
Unless you have a child who is perfectly happy playing w/ wet naps and aviation emergency manual, bring toys and books for your child. It’s important that you have non-electronic entertainment for take off and landing!
Steve Jobs should win a Nobel prize for inventing this. If I have to pack one thing on a flight, this will be it.
Something about a big pillow from home puts kids at ease and helps them fall asleep easier. Worse comes worse, they can sleep on the floor with a giant pillow so they don’t touch other people’s toes. Gross.
Speaking of drugging your children in flight, you can use Benedryl to calm them. But be aware of the side affects! Some kids get a bout of energy before crashing.
Always bring treats. For some reason, whenever we are going through immigration especially through a communist country, Odin will lose his S%*t. Lollipops have saved me in these situations time and time again.
Change of clothes for your kid and for yourself. I think that’s pretty self-explanatory.
A few things for the moms:
Bring fruit to eat in the plane. It will make you feel refreshed amongst all that processed plane food.
Peanut Butter Jelly
I don’t know why, but I love Pb&J in flight
It’s no surprise that the airplane food will be bad, and being Korean I can always use some hot spicy instant noodles when I am traveling a long flight.
Most of all, you have to relax. Your kids are depending on you so remember that the only thing in life that is certain is change. There is no perfect plan. Like most things, the more you travel, it will get easier.
**Please send me your tricks too, I can always use more!