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Highlights of our experiences describing how to prepare a long air trip with small children. Travel with us and have fun with our tips, places, landscapes and adventures there.

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Trip highlights: Hawaii - USA

Long airplane trips with small children. A pleasant adventure!

(Adventure from departure!)

Many sceneries and situations could have been the highlight of the trip we took to Hawaii. However, the one that interests our friends the most is our courage to go on such adventure with a child who was still eating from a baby bottle and wearing diapers. And worse. it was the first time he was going to fly. That's because, before then, I didn't accept the idea of putting him in a closed area full of people.

The idea of the trip itself was rather daring. It was going to be a 30-day trip divided into a cold, very cold, a warm and hot part. Our luggage included summer and beach clothes and winter and snow gear. Besides towels, blankets (I would never make him use hotel stuff), teddy bear and hundreds of hot wheels, we packed many other little things our baby loved.

(Luggage. Never enough!)

As soon as we took off on our first flight from Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro, we faced our first challenge. Our son looked out of the window and went crazy. He screamed and cried the whole flight, begging for the plane to stop so he could get off. to walk on the ground. He was sweating, cold and shaking, because he had the exact notion where he was. He began to yell that the plane was going to fall, that he didn't want to stay there, etc. My husband and I looked at each other and thought immediately: "Imagine during the international flight?". Everything we had planned as a strategy to entertain him fell apart. We never considered the idea that he would be afraid of flying. At that moment, we had to deal with many mixed reactions: people feeling sorry for him, people feeling sorry for us, some passengers laughing about his despair for knowing he was flying and others staring at us with a not so friendly face. At last, the flight was short. we survived. but we got extremely worried about the following much longer flights.

(Calming down during connection!)

We took the first international flight of his life. By then, he was much calmer. Well, the other plane landed and it didn't fall. We went straight to Miami and during this 8-hour flight, he didn't bother us at all. The following flight we had to face was from Miami to Los Angeles. It would be a 6-hour flight and then another one to Honolulu with 6 hours more. At that moment, we went through a situation I believe is worth mentioning, because we are always at the risk of something unexpected. We were traveling in January 2012, a little after the September 11th terrorist attacks in the US. The security procedures at the airports were absurdly strict, hysterical, I would say. When we changed planes from Los Angeles to Honolulu, we went through a police like search in which my husband and our little son had to put their faces to the wall with hands up and some security people touching them everywhere. It was as "standard" procedure, but can you image my kid who was just over one year old, being searched by some "policemen" held at a wall just like a regular criminal. unimaginable! Therefore, we were delayed and arrived at the plane door at the last minute because the connection had little time. Thus, as we were taking too long, the airline company had placed other passenger on our seats. When we got into the plane we noticed that we didn't have anywhere to seat. The plane stewards said we had to leave and get a new flight. They wanted to put us out of the plane. My husband stuck inside and began to argue and say that only the police would take us out. He insisted that it was a disrespectful situation and that we had a one year old with us. In short, the situation was: an angry husband who wouldn't give in, arguing with the crew members, the airplane stopped and delayed and my child and I in the middle of it all without any notion of what was happening or was going to happen. Finally, they decided to take out a couple who was seating on our places. After this messy situation, we were able to sit down and head to our dream destination, Hawaii.

(On board, finally!)

By this time, our son had completely forgotten the fear of flying, and we could put into practice our flight strategies, which we will share some of them with you as suggestions:

1. Take a carry-on bag full of toys the kid loves. Children usually can't play with the same things for a long time, thus it is necessary to have a wide range of options. Pay attention to the age level and the concentration time of your kid. Take, also, children books, paper, crayons, color pencils and coloring books. Cartoons can also be taken. Older kids prefer to spend time with electronic games and similar stuff. Usually, international carriers have such options on board, but I always have them at hand in case there is a problem with the plane's entertainment center and it is a helping hand during long waiting hours at airports.

2. Don't be economical with the toys! However, make sure everything will pass the security clearance at the airport. If you are not sure check with your air carrier.

3. Take a good amount of candies, chocolate, cookies and sweets the child likes with you. Besides feeding, it can help spend time and lower anxiety. During take off and landing, have something for him to chew on. That will avoid that annoying ear pressure that can hurt. If you are with a baby, give milk. Depending on the age, the child is not able to decompress the ear by himself. I get totally mad when I see children crying due to ear pressure during the flights and the parents do nothing. It is the kind of suffering that is easily avoided!

4. During the flight, when the "fasten your seat belts" sign is not on, have a short walk with the kid. They usually are not able to sit still for long hours. But, whenever sited, keep the belt fasten the belt. You can keep it a little loose, so the kid can feel a bit of freedom, but never open. That's protection.

5. Talk to your child. Every kid calms down when you listen to him and he gets attention. You could even have an educational conversation. For instance, why we can't kick the front seat, why we never scream inside planes, etc. Children are usually curious about planes. Tell them whatever they want to know.

6. Have spare clothes at hand, cold and warm. Let them with the socks on, not shoes. They will feel much more comfortable. Avoid jeans or uncomfortable clothes!

7. Have medicine easily accessible. Pain relief, motion sickness, and for fever.

8. Have diapers and creams for emergencies. Use the plane rest room. Prefer diapers that can be used for longer hours and when changing them play with the kid so he can get distracted. My kid loved to know that his poop was flying... He always laughed a lot while changing diapers.

9. A child who is comfortable, well fed, protected, cared for and with toys... doesn't bother anyone! Crying inside an airplane... Never again!

(Happy, even after 36 hours travelling!)

At the end of the flight, an American old man, stood up, approached my husband and congratulated us. He said that when he saw us getting on the plane and sitting right in front of him, he thought that he was going to have a terrible trip, but he got impressed with the behavior of our kid during the flight. We got flattered, but we recognized our dedication and effort to achieve that. Usually, when we get on the plane with our kids, people make a disapproving face, but it is very good to show them that there are children who know how to behave anywhere and are still able to act as children... Therefore, get your kids and TRAVEL A LOT!!!



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