Most of us aren’t savvy travellers naturally, let alone travelling with more than one child of the same age. This savvy-ness is usually improved from experience by making mistakes (a lot of them) through the frequency of travelling.
As a new-ish mother of twins, I hadn’t had the opportunity or time to make these mistakes as often, especially when travel restrictions were in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I want my kids to see the world so badly, and with that desire comes a ton of anxiety.
Here are some of the things that helped while ‘winged it’, and hopefully, they warmly address some of your concerns when travelling. Of course, these tips will also be handy with those travelling with more than one kid, not just for mothers of twins and multiples.
Choosing the right stroller makes all the difference
A double stroller is a must-have, especially if your kids are younger. If you buy a plastic storm cover for the stroller, this doubles up as a COVID-19 shield. Being strapped-in means they are less likely to touch anything (and everything), and no escape attempts can be made.
After much consideration and research, we settled for the Bugaboo Donkey 5. Mainly because this magic stroller can fit through pretty much any doorframe, and such a scene has caught me out plenty of times before choosing this stroller. The wheels nip through doorframes easily, which puts this neurotic mum’s mind at ease.
This comes particularly handy when you need to wheel it through security gates at the airport. There is no need to collapse and lug it through while hoping your kids are following obediently behind. In fact, the security staff let me wheel it through with kids in tow for them to be manually scanned on the other side.
Be ready with snack boxes!
Snack boxes are something we’ve incorporated into our daily routine. In the afternoons, they are given a snack box to learn how to ration their snacks throughout the second half of the day, which also saves them coming up to me constantly asking for food.
I packed their regular snack box for a recent trip and brought it out every time I needed an easy distraction, like while waiting to board, when the seatbelt sign turned off, and in a long taxi ride. You name the situation and snack boxes will help.
This worked because it was something very familiar to them and, of course, snacks! Which kid (or adult) doesn’t get excited about snacks? You can find the snack boxes I use at Daiso for only RM6!
Keep flight and transition times in mind
This may not always go to plan, and even when we were travelling without kids, we tried our very best to minimise transition times between airports. Nothing is worse than running after children around a busy airport or catching them in a cranky state between naps waiting for hours for the next flight.
Being in a new and exciting place somehow cancels out the appeal of their favourite show on the iPad or their favourite snack. Brain says, “Run!” and trust me, they will run.
So, to better prepare yourself consider calling up travel arrangements in advance to ensure they will be there at the said time, or booking an airport hotel room to help with long transits. When the kids were only a year old, we prepped in advance for our long 17-hour transit in Doha once, and it was so worth it. Shower, naps, and room service saves the day! With Doha being such a big international port, we didn’t want to risk floating around the terminal and potentially pick up nasty bugs.
For long-haul flights, try opting for the red-eye timing; obviously, this also depends on what’s available. Knowing that women with children usually are the first few to board the plane, you can quickly hustle them to their seats and wait around for the little ones to knock out. Before you know it, you’re sippin’ on some gin and juice while the kids get their much-needed shut-eye.
Pack your carry-on light but smart
Travelling with multiples may give you the idea that you need lots of stuff, but you don’t. I limit myself to one hand-carry bag for flights and a small crossbody bag for easy access to passports, tickets, and money. It beats fumbling around in a panic rummaging through a fully-packed suitcase, or trying to get to your gate with five bags, plus children.
Below are some items you should include in your bag when travelling with kids, and what I packed for my 2-and-a-half-year-old twins:
- Water bottles
- Spare clothes
- Snack boxes
- Wet wipes
- Mini medical kit, which may include plasters and alcohol swabs.
But every family needs different things, so consider this as a guide for what kind of items should be included. Other things like the iPad, toys, books, and whatever else your kids may require can be packed in a separate carry-on for your partner to carry if they’re travelling with you.
Ultimately, the more organised you are, the more in control you will be, and stress less. Having said that, you must also leave room for spontaneity. As much as you’d like for it to be, some things will never be in your control.
Be prepared for lots of singing, walking up and down aeroplane aisles, cuddles, and having the time of your lives, once you’ve boarded the plane.
Safe flight, mamas!