In a couple of weeks I will be embarking on my first flight with my just-recently-turned two-year old son. To say I’m a bit nervous is an understatement, especially since it will be just he and I! As I prepare for this flight and take stock of all manner of tips and opinions I’ve received from family and friends, I find myself thinking of Duchess Kate and the flights she has taken with Prince George. If she were a private confidant of mine, what would she tell me that has worked for her? Alas, my private jet is out of commission right now (was it ever IN commission?!) and we won’t be a little roomier in first class (let’s be honest here: coach will probably keep him more confined and that may not be a bad thing). Nevertheless, if you have a toddler who has decided he has had ENOUGH, neither of those two luxuries are going to help much. As I prepare for our trip, below are some tips I think the Duchess would tell me.
1. Book a non-stop flight
We know layovers don’t exist for our Duchess and I’m willing to bet she would tell me to avoid them like the plague when traveling with a toddler. This certainly makes sense when you consider how little time you often have when moving from gate to gate. So this is what I’ve done. My husband is driving us to a major metropolitan airport about an hour and forty-five minutes away so Master Toddler and I have a direct flight to and from our destination.
2. Book a non-stop flight…during advantageous times
I have also booked our flight for times that fall around Master Toddler’s general nap time. I’m hoping that, in doing so, I work with his schedule and he’ll take a little nap. It may be coincidence but it seems the flights that the Duchess takes fall around when a toddler might need a little restful period.
3. Dress for the occasion
This is not the time to put the child in those cute overalls that have five snaps on each leg to close them at the seam. I’m sure Kate would tell me to keep it simple, comfortable, and easily changeable. One of the many reasons I admire Kate is that she is very practical and if she were in my shoes, she would tell me to make it as easy as possible. So, with that said, I plan on dressing Master Toddler and myself in shoes that can slip on/off to make the security check easier and including a change of clothes for each of us in our carryon. Multiple snaps, buttons, or belts are not invited to this party; neither are white shirts.
3. Don’t board early and pick a window seat
Duchess Kate has the ability to get on and off a plane rather quickly on departure and arrival. I’m sure this helps keep Prince George happy because I think of how Master Toddler is when we sit in traffic for an extended amount of time: he gets very, VERY antsy. Therefore, I’m hoping he can walk around to burn off some energy right before we board so that we aren’t sitting in our seats for a half hour while everyone else gets situated. I’ve also chosen our seats so that he can sit by the window and hopefully that will keep him entertained.
4. Load up on the distractions
I’m positive that when Duchess Kate flies with George, there is a plethora of toys and snacks that he has never seen before and/or are favorites. I’ve started to pick up a few things for my own little prince that I think he would enjoy, while staying away from anything that bounces or is gooey! Master Toddler is also a fan of pacifiers (affectionately called “mimis”) which now only make an appearance in the car and at nap time/bed time. I plan on giving him one on takeoff to help his ears adjust to the cabin pressure. I’m sure Duchess Kate has done something similar such as giving George a bottle or sippy cup to help with this. Lastly, I will have technology available – namely my tablet – but I plan on using that as a “break in case of emergency” rescue because if it fails, it will be hard to top it.
5. Keep Calm and Carry On
I admire Duchess Kate for the sense of calm she has about herself. Even if Prince George is being a bit more rascally than usual (such as when he ran off at Princess Charlotte’s christening), Kate stayed calm and exuded control. I am hoping I will convey the same confidence and control and understand that, even if Master Toddler decides to exercise his own free will, I will be able to handle the situation with queenly elegance.
Dear readers, if you have any tips you would like to pass along, I would be very gracious! Can you think of any other ways our Duchess makes traveling with a toddler a bit easier?
Thank you both for your comments! We have safely returned and he did very well! I did take the advice to board first and I am glad that we did because he was amused by watching everyone else. Also, the Kindle was a godsend because when he did start to get a little fussy, some Elmo calmed him down! While travelling, I thought to myself how Duchess Kate might enjoy herself so Master Toddler and I did duck into a few stores in the terminal while we waited for our flight and split a strawberry/banana smoothie!
Pack snacks and her favorite blanket or stuffed animal and while this may be controversial, the kindle fire we have for my daughter has been priceless during longer trips.
Darla Humphries says
As the mom of three boys I agree with everything except boarding last. Take the pre- boarding for parents of young children if available. It is much easier to get situated with all the extra things you need to bring for toddlers when the plane is not crowded and your toddler will enjoy watching all the people go by. Of course, bring the car seat to strap the baby in safely and if available in the plane on which you are flying sit at the front of coach where there is a little extra leg room for your toddler to get out of his seat and move around. Happy travels!