Travelling with a newborn or baby is usually pretty easy (at least in my past experience). Especially when they aren't crawling or walking yet! Babies like to sit in your lap, look at everything going on around them, and are easily soothed with the boob.
It's between 1 and 2 years of age where things get trickier. Our family is leaving next week on a trip to Florida, and although the plane ride is usually only 2.5-3 hours, it will require some creativity in order to keep our little girl amused for that length of time.
In searching the web, I have found a lot of different advice for parents travelling with young ones. The first suggestion is to always get the child a seat, unless they're very young (younger than crawling age). This way, they have their own space, and are able to do some activities on the food tray. Another website even suggested buying first class tickets, for the extra room!
Sounds great, but my hubby and I can't afford $500 (or more, for first class!) in order to fly our "free" child down to the States. So we just opted to have her on our laps. We may regret it, but clearly this isn't a long flight. And given that it leaves at 10:30am, we won't have to deal with the issues you might encounter during a night flight.
I've travelled quite a bit in my life, and the one thing I've learned is that you need to remain calm in any situation. Unless you have a superbly magical vacation, chances are, something is going to go wrong. It could be that a flight is delayed, or luggage is lost. Perhaps you lose your wallet (or it gets stolen). Maybe the weather is crummy, and you spend your whole beach vacation indoors. Or, you're touring a country who's roads and language are unfamiliar to you, and you end up getting horribly lost. Let's face it, some vacations are definitely better than others. But the hope is that you overcome adversity, and end up looking back on it all with fondness.
And so, here is what we plan to bring with us on our trip down South. These things will hopefully help our 18-month old travel with relative ease:
1) Stickers. Shiny, fuzzy, big or small, all children like stickers!
2) Little Critter books. A has become obsessed with finding the cricket on every page
3) Some kind of hand-held game device. I am SO not technologically proficient, but I'm going to head to Boomerang Kids (a great second hand store here in Ottawa) to see if I can pick up a second-hand educational video/computer thingy
4) Lots and lots of snacks (Cheerios, Almond butter, crackers, dried fruit, water and juice)
5) One stuffed animal and fuzzy blankie - in the hopes that A might actually take a nap!
6) A good supply of suckies - the only thing (other than breastfeeding) that helps A calm down when she's tired. I have given up the guilt about her suckies!
And if things get rough, and nothing seems to be amusing her, there's always Mama's purse!