We've arrived in Florida. I would be saying "sunny Florida" but actually it's been cloudy and rainy the whole time I've been here so far. We arrived mid-day on Wednesday and we're still trying to adjust to the 6 hour time difference but it's a little better today.
I'm wrote this post a few days before we actually fly from Germany to Florida. We've traveled with Ariana before but long trips always make me more nervous. A 10 hour flight is a lot to ask of a busy body toddler. I'm not usually one to tell people what to do but in case you are curious, here are some tips and tricks that work for me and my little one for long trips.
In her bag:
+ Books (We thrifted a few new ones last week especially for this trip so they'll be brand new. Cost $1)
+ Coloring book and crayons. (We had a travel size coloring book and small notebook we've been
saving. Plus a small box of crayons and possible color wonder markers and paper will
be going too)
+ Mini magnet doodle board (for drawing guessing games and so we don't use all our paper)
+ Movie (and headphones. I'm taking my laptop she can watch it on. It's a 10 hour flight, I'm gonna
need an hour or 2 of not having to entertain her.)
+ Small toys (little ponies and dinosaurs are our go to travel/restaurant toys lots of imagination there!
Also fast food kids meals toys are great, preferably ones they haven't played with yet)
+ Small container or pencil box (this can be held on their lap for their small toys so they can stand them
up and play without them flying/falling off.)
+ View master (old school! yep thrifted, cost $2 with about 50 slides! Hopefully we will have a window
seat and she'll have lots of entertainment here!)
+ Stuffed toy (a buddy/pillow)
+ Lollipops (for taking off and landing for helping them swallow and keeping their ears popped)
extra clothes - you never know when they might have an accident
wipes and alcohol rub - cause kids and airplanes can all be gross at times
juice and snack - nothing with too much sugar
TIPS -- Thinking outside the box
-- a great tip I love is having a few toys and goodies that are new for the trip and wrapping them up in tissue paper. Let the kids unwrap them one by one and every hour, half hour, etc they get a new present. That worked great with her on our last long flight.
-- after you've read and re-read the books, find other uses for them like "I spy" : Can you find something red? Where is the kitty? How many cars are on this page? This also works great with adult magazines and travel magazines they have for free on flights. Magazines can be used for kids to circle letters they know: Can you find all the "t"'s on this page?
-- Hold off. Keep them entertained by the people coming on the plane, the flight attendant's little show of the exits and safety stuff, watching the bags being loaded, other airplanes, and taking off for as long as possible before you break out the toys and books. You don't want to be half through your bag before you've even left the ground!
-- Potty breaks often! Little kids can't sit still too long, we know that. So make potty breaks often just so they can stretch their legs a little.
-- Small puzzles and compact games are great for kids. Be sure to check the dollar section at Target or the dollar store for small goodies for the trip. Unfortunately for me, we don't have either so I'm working with things I already have at home or could find.
-- If you kids like to sing (and you're not on an airplane) don't forget the kids music! Sing along songs are great for travel!
-- Learn sign language. Print out a sheet of photos of sign language for each letter. Have the kids see if they can make all the letters. This is a great one for older kids because they can spell to each other without parents hearing them! :)
-- I spy game. Make up a game for the kids to play on the airplane. I spy a cloud. I spy a river. I spy a pool. I spy someone sleeping haha! Either make a check list, photo list or ask kids as you find each object if they can spy what you spy! I took one of her books and scanned pages into the computer. Then I cropped images (a flower, hat, bird) from each page and created a I spy game she could find the picture on each page of the book. We didn't get around to it on the way there, but we'll definately use it on the way back!
UPDATE: Ariana was amazing awesome on our flight. She didn't have any meltdowns and even the guy beside us (who I'm sure was thinking "oh great" when we sat down talked about how great she was and what a great traveler she seemed to be. The first hour we stayed busy by watching the activities outside the window, taking off, watching the stewardesses, watching the clouds and watching the safety video they showed. The viewmaster was a hit, like I knew it would be and we did a lot of coloring. I actually had found her a mini puzzle but we never needed it. We read books, colored, watched an airplane movie, ate lunch, read some books, watched a cartoon, took potty/walk around breaks, and played with her little ponies. Before we knew it we only had 1 hour left and I was starting to breathe a sigh of relief! Once we landed, customs was a breeze and we collected our luggage and there were lots of hugs from Grammy and Aunt Sarah! We're hoping we can go to the beach today in the afternoon if the sun decided to peek out.
I hope these tips help some of you out in your summer vacations. Happy travels!!