BattleDad and I had visited the Tower of London a few times in our pre-BattleKid days. It gained our interest after we watched the Tudors television series, and we always enjoyed our visits to the Tower. When I realised we had 36 hours to kill in London, I started looking into fun things to do with kids in London. And a dragon hunting adventure at the Tower of London was a must with our little dragon hunter, BattleKid.
As you will already know, we started dragon hunting with BattleKid in an effort to make visiting castles interesting for him. Living in Wales until our move to Portugal, we were surrounded by castles, but they’re not always interesting places for toddlers and young children. So, to make our visits more appealing to BattleKid, the dragon hunting adventures were born. We’ve hunted dragons at Chepstow Castle, Carreg Cennen and Powis Castle, to name but a few. But we’d never ventured further than Wales. Our family day in London was a chance to hunt dragons further afield and our destination was going to be the Tower of London.
The Tower of London is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it dates to around 1078. It is a complex of several buildings set within 2 rings of defensive walls and a moat. The Tower of London has been used for a variety of things including as an armoury, treasury and menagerie. It was once the home of the Royal Mint and was used as a public records office. It was even used as a prison between 1100 until 1952, when it housed the Kray Twins. It is still the home of the Crown Jewels of England and is one of London’s most popular attractions.
And it was the scene for one of our dragon hunting adventures. We made our way to the Tower after visiting Sea Life at Southbank and had precooked tickets, so we could make our way through security and through the main entrance gate of the Tower of London. The Tower of London can be both an educational place to visit as well as something being part of a fun kids day out in London.
The first part of the castle we visited was St. Thomas’ Tower, the building which sits over Traitor’s Gate, and which forms part of the Medieval Palace. We searched the rooms in here but there was no sign of a dragon. From the Tower, we checked nooks and crannies around Traitor’s Gate but still no dragon.
We moved on past Henry III’s Watergate and into the area where the ravens are housed. I can remember thinking how big the ravens were the previous times we visited, and I was reminded again. But alas, no dragons were lurking around these huge birds.
At this stage we were all a bit pooped, having been on both the London Eye and visiting Sea Life, so we decided to stop at the Raven’s Café for a cuppa and some cake. We also visited the Raven’s Shop for a souvenir before carrying on our dragon hunt. I got us a keyring (to turn into a Christmas tree decoration) and BattleKid picked out a set of knights and horses.
Our port of call was the White Tower. This is by far one of my favourite parts of the Tower of London. Although there is a lot of steps and parts to it, it is filled with history. You can even view the armour worn by previous kings, including Henry VIII.
We checked each room on each floor that is accessible to the public and we finally found our dragon on the top floor. He was hiding in an alcove on the same floor as the magnificent treasure dragon which lies within the White Tower. (We hid BattleKid’s dragon just beside a wall in an alcove, and thankfully the security guard in the room was very accommodating of a little boy on his dragon hunt. I’ll admit it looked slightly suspicious as one of us distracted the boy while the other placed said dragon to be found. But she was very understanding when we explained what we were doing. We certainly didn’t want to get locked away in the Tower!)
Happy that we’d found the dragon, we made our way downstairs and as a certain little person was starting to get tired, we decided to start making our way to the exit. We didn’t get a chance to visit the Crown Jewels, although BattleDad and I have seen them on our previous visits and to say they are stunning would be an understatement. Nor did we take one of the Yeoman Warder’s tours, another thing BattleDad and I have done on our previous visits. We exited the Tower of London onto the banks of the Thames beside Tower Bridge, satisfied we’d achieved what we’d come to do.
Things to note if you’re planning a dragon hunting adventure at the Tower of London
Tickets for the Tower of London cost £21.50 per adult (16+), while children cost £9.70 (5-15 years of age). Under 5’s are free and members have free entrance to the Tower.
Opening times for the Tower of London are as follows: Tues-Sat 9am to 4.30pm, Sun-Mon 10am to 4.30pm. Last admission is 4pm.
There are toilets in various locations within the Tower of London as well as baby changing facilities and wheelchair accessible toilets.
There is free WiFi at the Tower of London, although we didn’t use it.
Four eateries are located within the Tower of London. We had drinks and cake at the Raven Café. There is also the Wharf Kiosk, New Armouries Café and the Perkin Reveller.
Five gift shops are located at the Tower of London.
The Tower of London is not completely buggy or wheelchair friendly due to the cobbled ground in certain parts of the site. There are also stairs in many of the buildings. There is a buggy park for buggies located next to the Salt Tower, the Middle Drawbridge and at the entrance to the White Tower. There are virtual tours of areas not accessible by wheelchair.
There is plenty to see and do at the Tower of London and it is just one of many fun things to do in London with kids. I wondered whether the Tower of London would be suitable for young kids, but by having a dragon hunting adventure there, we had no tantrums or tears from BattleKid, and we all enjoyed ourselves.
Some of the other things I’d like to try in the future with BattleKid are the Yeoman Warder tours. As mentioned we’ve been on two of these pre-BattleKid, and they were brilliant. One Beefeater (their other name) was full of funny stories and facts about the Tower, while the other Beefeater whose tour we joined gave us interesting facts about the Tower that we hadn’t learned in the previous tour. Each Yeoman has his own style and stories and they really do make visiting the Tower of London really interesting.
I’d like to also see the Crown Jewels again and to visit the Chapel Royal. But the one part of this London attraction that would be amazing to witness would be the Ceremony of the Keys. This is a 700-year-old ceremony conducted every night to lock the Tower of London. While it is no longer a residence of the Royal Family it does house the Crown Jewels. However, I recently learned that tickets to this event are booked up a year in advance!
Either way, there is no doubting that this is top of the list of things to do in London with kids. It can even be made interesting for younger kids and toddler with a little imagination as we’ve demonstrated. And if you have only one day in London with kids, you can easily squeeze in a visit to the Tower as we did.
I hadn’t been too sure if the Tower of London was a London attraction for young kids, but BattleKid enjoyed his visit, albeit a dragon hunting adventure, and we adults enjoyed it again. I can wholeheartedly recommend it as part of a family day out in London.
Hey, guess what? BattleKid at the ripe old age of 4 has done over 50,000 nautical miles by plane so far. How do I know? By totalling up the miles recorded in his flight logbook.
And since we’ve accompanied him during those flights, either both parents together or mum on her own, it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about travelling by plane with kids. With our experience comes a certain level of knowledge and to help you with your forthcoming flights, I’m going to share with you some awesome tips for flying with babies and toddlers.
First and foremost, I want to say that you shouldn’t put off flying with a baby, or toddler for that matter, because of those “what ifs”. Yes, flying with kids can be a daunting prospect, especially for first-timers, but it can actually turn out to be fun. And besides, flying with small children is often a means to an end, with a family holiday or reunion waiting for you when you disembark that plane.
This is by no means the ultimate list of tips for flying with kids, but these are ones I’ve either used myself to have a successful flight with a baby, or the ones my fellow travellers suggested that I thought were genius. Yes, I also asked some of my fellow travel and family bloggers what is their number one tip for flying with a baby or toddler, so watch out for them too! So, without further ado, here are my awesome tips for flying with babies and toddlers.
Tips for Flying with Babies and Toddlers
Before the Flight
The big thing to try and remember is to relax. Yes, I know this may be hard to do, especially if you are fretting about it being your first time flying with a baby. But remember, babies in particular can pick up on your worries and anxieties, so if you’re not relaxed, they won’t be either.
2 Plan your bag and other carry-on luggage
Take time before you get to the airport to plan your bag and carry-on luggage. Why? You really don’t want to be struggling to remember which bag you packed the spare nappies in when you’re in the boarding queue or on the plane. Packing cubes or even makeup bags can lend a huge hand in organising your cabin luggage. I used clear make-up or cosmetic bags to organise our hand luggage for our trip to Portland so that if I pulled out the wrong one, it was easy to see and quickly.
3 Use a backpack
Backpacks are so much easier than a traditional change bag when flying with young children. Not only can you generally pack them with more things, but they also leave your hands free to deal with little ones in queues. Backpacks are also far easier if you are flying solo with babies or toddlers. I travelled with a traditional change bag until I discovered the ease of backpacks and I’ve never looked back. Now, we never travel without our Cabin Zero cabin bags.
4 Choose your seats before you arrive at the airport
If you can afford it and it’s an added extra, pay to choose your seats and pick them as soon as the option becomes available online, so you can ensure you are sitting together. I know many families will disagree and say this is adding more cost onto your flights, but do you really want to leave it to chance that the desk or online check-in will automatically put you sitting together just because you are a family. Not all airlines give families priority when it comes to seats, even for under 5’s. We always pay for choosing our seats to avoid this unnecessary stress.
5 To board first or not with priority boarding
Generally, most airlines will allow families to board first, but increasingly we’ve found this not to be the case. For this reason, and more so as BattleKid gets older, we pay for speedy or priority boarding, especially on low-cost airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair. This ensures we can place the bags we don’t need during the flight into the overhead lockers, and so that BattleKid is seated and out of everyone’s way.
Some people say board last but then you face the stress of not having anywhere to store the bags you don’t need during the flight. Sorry, but that’s another stressful situation I avoid. By boarding first, our bags are stored, BattleKid is seated and we can start to relax about the flight ahead.
If you really don’t want to board first with your children, send the other adult in your party, provided you aren’t solo travelling, on first to stow your bags and then board last with your children. This might be a better option with toddlers who are now walking and might not be ready to sit still in a seat any longer than is necessary.
6 Arriving early gives you a better chance at bagging a bassinet
Arrive early at the airport so that you can take your time and are not in a rush. Arriving early will also allow you to queue for check-in first and this might in turn mean you can get a bulkhead seat with bassinet for your baby (if you haven’t already prebooked it). This is particularly important if flying long-haul with babies.
7 Check in and bag drop early
Following on from the previous point, getting rid of your hold bags early will free you up to keep an eye on little ones, and to get you through security and into the departures lounge quicker. If checking-in online before you arrive at the airport, ensure you have your boarding cards printed, or downloaded to the airlines app on your phone (make sure your battery is full for this option). However, if travelling with a stroller or buggy, you will need to visit a desk to ensure you get the tag for your buggy if bringing it through to the gate.
8 Be prepared for the security desks
Have your bags ready, coats off, pockets empty, tablets/iPads out and liquids ready for inspection. There is nothing more infuriating in those queues than someone who doesn’t get ready before getting to the belt, especially when there are children involved. We’ve queued long enough to get to the desks in some airports, only to have someone in front of us spend 5 minutes sorting themselves out with a bored toddler on our hands. Get your stuff ready BEFORE you get to the desk.
9 Use the playroom at the airport
Before the flight, take a visit to the airport playroom (if there is one available), to help energetic toddlers burn off excess energy before the flight. I must admit that I had not heard of, or even knew, there was such a thing as playrooms in airports until before our two-week USA road trip. I learned of them on a Facebook group and thought this was a genius idea.
We used the one in Heathrow before our flight, and also found one in Portland before our return flight. Not only does it help kids burn off some energy, but it will give you a few minutes peace. They are also worth their weight in gold if your flight is delayed as your baby or toddler won’t know any different.
10 Buggy/Stroller or Baby Carrier
Consider whether you really need your buggy or stroller with you, all the way to the departure gate. If not, then I’d advise you to check it through with your hold luggage and use a baby carrier instead. It is one less item to have to worry about in the departures lounge. We stopped taking BattleKid’s buggy to the gate once he hit three years of age, but you might decide you need it. It’s always handy if they are still napping during the day or you have an evening flight.
Make sure you pack a small, clear toiletries bag which includes the following items
Teething granules or Bonjela
Antibacterial hand gel
Paracetamol (for the adults)
You never know when you might need one or all of these, and if you don’t, you might find another parent on the plane who is grateful you had it with you. A travel first aid kit might also be a useful thing to add to your cabin luggage.
You might also want to pack a small packet of antibacterial wipes. Polly from Follow Your Sunshine suggested
Carry antibacterial wipes as well as your usual wet wipes as planes, trains and baby changing rooms harbour so many germs, and there is nothing worse than a sick baby while travelling.
Snacks, snacks and more snacks. Snacks can be a lifesaver when flying with babies and toddlers. They are especially handy in between meals for toddlers who like to graze. Dare I say it they also relieve some boredom in toddlers, who let’s face it, have attention spans of goldfish.
As well as plenty of snacks for the kids, make sure you take enough for yourself too! It’s not so easy to grab yourself some food whilst chasing a runaway through the terminal, or even if you have an inflight meal, it might not be practical. Parents and children do not need to be stressed and ‘hangry’ whilst travelling.
Snacks can also come in handy if you find yourself delayed for any reason. Yes there are usually food outlets in departures lounges but if you’ve just had lunch or dinner they can placate a bored toddler especially. And don’t forget to keep every hydrated during the flight.
13 Baby Bottles and formula
Firstly, for those of you wondering can you take baby formula on a plane and bottles, yes you can. You can take pre-made bottles but be aware you may be asked to taste the contents at the security desks, although I’ve read elsewhere that this may be replaced by other non-invasive additional tests in certain airports. You can also take the ready-made cartons of formula on board.
However, we chose to do something different. We packed pre-measured powder formula into the easy-add containers, enough for all the feeds needed at the airport and on board, as well as two more. We took empty pre-sterilised bottles with us in Ziploc bags (although there are also disposable pre-sterilised ones available on the market).
Once on board, we asked the flight crew for 1oz of boiling water, added the formula and topped up using natural, bottled water we had purchased once we were through security and in the departures lounge. This worked a treat each time we flew while our son was still bottle feeding. Alternatively, you can bring an empty thermos flask with you and ask a café or hot drinks outlet in the departures lounge to fill it with boiling water for you.
Make sure you bring enough formula and bottles for all the feeds needed at both the airport and during the flight, as well as at least two additional feeds, just in case of delays.
14 Spare clothes for little one and you
Most of us don’t go anywhere with babies or toddlers without at least one change of clothes for our little ones. But when it comes to flying with babies and toddlers, here’s the thing. Bring more than one set, particularly if you are flying long-haul. You just never know what might happen and you don’t want to get caught out 35,000 miles up in the air.
I always travel with 3 sets of spare underpants (now that BattleKid is toilet trained), at least one set of shorts and trousers, two t-shirts or tops and also a pair of pyjamas, especially for red-eye flights. And that’s just for BattleKid alone.
I also travel with a spare t-shirt or top for both myself and my husband, just in case BattleKid should ever get sick. Touch wood, that is yet to happen but never say never! No-one wants to face hours on a plane in wet, sick-encrusted t-shirts!
We always take spare clothes for baby and us. You never know when you will need it. Especially if baby is prone to being sick after feeds like our two.
15 Pack plenty of wet wipes and nappies
What did we ever do without wet wipes? How did people cope before them? Not only do you need them for all manner of wipes and clean-ups with kids, but you can use them to clean the tray table too. When BattleKid was in nappies I also packed at least 3 extra nappies, in case of delays.
16 Don’t forget the nappy bags
Not only will you need these for nappy changes, but they also come in very handy for rubbish/garbage. These can hang from the tray table catch on the back of the seat in front of you and you can place all your accumulated rubbish in there. Then it’s easy enough to hand over to the cabin crew when they make their pass through the cabin.
Try to remember to bring a few quiet, interactive toys, to keep babies and toddlers entertained during the flight. Try to leave the noisy ones at home so as to not annoy your fellow passengers. Sticker books, colouring books and crayons are always a hit with BattleKid, especially when he was younger and didn’t really want to sit in our laps ready for landing.
Does your family have an iPad or Tablet? If so, let your toddler use it, especially if you have exhausted all the toys from the point above. We don’t let BattleKid use electronic devices at home, but he has not one, but two tablets for flying. He has a LeapFrog Epic with games and some TV shows on it. He also has another android tablet on which we’ve put numerous films for him to watch.
Flights are the only time BattleKid gets his tablet and it keeps him quiet. Even on long-haul flights with individual screens, he uses his tablet as the children’s films are often ones he has seen or is not interested in. They can also be a lifesaver if you find yourself delayed. (There’s that dreaded word again.)
19 Portable chargers, for said iPads/tablets
Make sure you pack at least two portable chargers for your phones and iPads/tablets. This is even more important for long-haul flights. No-one wants to run out of battery half-way across the Atlantic and have an irate toddler on their hands. We have been lucky with some airlines having USB charging ports at each seat, but this has only happened twice on America-bound flights. For shorter European flights the chargers have come in handy, especially if we’ve been delayed leaving and have resorted to giving BattleKid his tablets before boarding.
20 Bring a familiar cuddly toy
But don’t lose it! BattleKid was sent a fabulous knitted Curious George by his Nan when he was just 18 months old and until late last year, George travelled everywhere with us. He has been to the Canaries several times, Slovenia and even New York.
He was a home comfort that BattleKid knew and loved, and was also something he fell asleep with every night. So, consider bringing one of their familiar cuddly toys, but whatever you do, guard it with your life. Or ensure you have a second one at home like we did, just in case.
During the Flight
21 Ignore all the glares
When boarding the plane, there will no doubt be glares sent your way for daring to travel on someone else’s flight with a baby or toddler. IGNORE THEM. We all have to start travelling at some stage or have holidays as a family, and that involves flying with babies and toddlers as well.
That said, do not let your kids kick the seat in front of you or scream their heads off for no reason for the entire flight. Not only will you get glares and tuts, but it will stress you out! While BattleKid has always travelled well, we do our utmost to ensure he isn’t kicking the seat in front of us, and remains relatively quiet too.
22 Keep one bag under the seat in front of you
Following on from my point about preparing your cabin bags before you get to the airport, keep all essentials in one bag and place it under the seat in front of you. Pack 2 bags if necessary and stow the other one away in the overhead compartments. And ladies, don’t bother with a handbag, it’s too much faff!
We also have a Trunki insert bag which holds all of BattleKid’s sticker books, crayons, colouring books, small toys and tablets and this usually hangs quite nicely from the pocket on the back of the seat. That way we have everything we need to keep him entertained to hand.
23 Feed or give a dummy on take-off and landing
I have experienced troublesome ears after a flight and I can tell you it is very unpleasant. That is until I learned how to pop my ears, particularly when we are coming into land. However, babies and toddlers cannot do this, so we need to give them a helping hand to ensure the air in their ears is equalised.
Feeding during take-off and landing, or giving a baby or toddler a dummy during this time, can really help to ensure their ear pressure is equalised and that they don’t suffer with pain in their ears. Thankfully BattleKid has never had a problem with his ears and flying, but that is because we have heeded this advice.
Alana from Baby Holiday said her top tip is a bottle for take-off.
It’ll help prevent their ears from popping, and if you’re lucky will send them to sleep!
24 Use pull-ups and a changing mat or towel
For children who might be undergoing toilet training or are newly potty trained, it might be advisable to use pull-ups, particularly for long-haul flights.
We nearly had a heart attack on our flight from Heathrow to Portland in August 2017, when shortly after take-off and before the seat belt sign was turned off, we heard those dreaded words “Mummy I need a wee”. At three and a half, BattleKid was quite good at holding it, but as the minutes ticked by his desperation became more and more apparent. We hadn’t put him in a pull-up.
After 20 minutes we rang the call bell and the air hostess told us we could bring him to the toilet (despite the seat belt sign still being on), “You gotta do what you gotta do for your boy”. She was so lovely about it. Disaster was averted. But I regretted not bring pull-ups with us.
Also, it might be advisable to put a changing mat or towel under newly toilet trained toddlers on the seat, just in case. At least if they have an accident, the seat will be saved.
25 Have regular toilet breaks
Even if BattleKid said “I don’t need to go” when we asked him, we took BattleKid regularly to the toilet after he was trained. And he ALWAYS ended up going! Make a game of it if necessary.
And always anticipate when the seatbelt sign will come on in preparation for landing and take toilet trained toddlers to the toilet just before this. Again, it comes back to my previous point in that you don’t want to forget and hear “I need a wee” during those final few moments before you touch down.
26 Dress comfortably for any flight over 2 or 3 hours
We generally wear loose jogging pants for long haul flights and always change BattleKid into pj’s for these flights. It makes us more comfortable having to deal with sitting in one seat for a long period of time. It also makes sleeping on the plane a little bit easier.
27 Layer up with clothes and bring a blanket for little ones
This might seem crazy, but ensure you have a cardigan/jumper/hoodie with you for the flight, even if you are flying from a hot country to a hot country. Planes get cold, and babies and toddler will feel it even more than us adults. It’s easier to remove a layer or two of clothing than it is to get a baby or toddler warm when you’ve nothing in reserve.
And for babies and toddlers, I’d advise bringing a small blanket with you to cover them up if they fall asleep. It’s worked wonders for us in the days when BattleKid would still sleep on a plane. For the very few times we would be flying in the evening or at night, we always brought BattleKid’s travel Grobag to keep in line with our usual bedtime routine before he outgrew them.
28 Ask for help if you need it
This is even more important if you are flying solo with a baby or toddler. If you need it, ask for help. From the crew, or fellow passengers. Don’t assume they will realise you are struggling or are in need of some help. No-one in their right mind would dare refuse a mum or dad some help on a plane if they needed it.
One of my first ever solo flights with BattleKid came when he was ten months old, and the Aer Lingus staff on both my outbound and return flights couldn’t have been more helpful. They held BattleKid so I could stow my bags and get them at the end of the flight, and they also checked on me during the flight despite it only being a 55 minutes flying time. If I could fly with them all the time I would.
29 Be prepared to relinquish the window seat
BattleDad used to always sit at the window, always. But not anymore. For a few years now, he has had to relinquish the window seat for our toddler, and now pre-schooler. No matter how much bribing he tries, BattleKid always gets the window seat. He might look out if a few times during the flight, but it’s his and his alone these days.
Other Things to Consider
30 Adventure belt or toddler reins
This can be a hot topic with some parents but believe me, until recently, we never travelled without toddler reins for BattleKid once he became a walking toddler. We now travel with the Adventure Belt, the next step up for preschoolers, which I reviewed on the blog last year.
They might not necessarily be needed if you are taking your stroller to the doors of the plane before take-off, but you aren’t always guaranteed to get your stroller the minute you land. So, to prevent toddlers from running off in the airport, it’s worth considering packing a set of reins or an Adventure Belt to save your sanity after a long flight.
31 Use the Boots pre-order facility in your departure airport
If travelling from the UK, did you know that you can order things like nappies, wet wipes, formula, creams and lotions to be delivered at a Boots in the departure lounge of the airport you are travelling from? This is a brilliant way to save on luggage space for things like nappies and formula and can ensure you remember everything you need for your family holiday. I’ve personally never used the service, but I know people who have and would recommend it.
32 Consider your flight times carefully
For long-haul flights I would try to fly at times your babies and toddlers would normally sleep, particularly if leaving in the evening and arriving in the morning. You cannot guarantee they will sleep but if it coincides with a time they will be naturally sleepy, you’ve a good chance of them nodding off.
For short-haul flights, either choose a morning flight or try to get one when they usually nap. Before BattleKid was one years old he slept on planes whenever the flight coincided with his nap time. However, over the age of one it became trickier. And a short-haul flight at night with BattleKid didn’t work. He didn’t fall asleep as there was too much going on in the plane and the lights were kept on. So, try to think about your flight times before you press that BOOK button.
33 Pay extra to park as close to the terminal as possible
While yes, this will cost you more than long-stay parking, bus transfers are a pain in the bum with bags, a baby, stroller and hand luggage, especially if you are flying solo with a baby or toddler. So, if you can stretch to just a little extra, book your parking at the airport as close to the terminal as you can. It will also mean you’ve less distance to walk and might negate the need for bus on your return, meaning you can get home quicker.
34 Don’t forget your travel insurance and EHIC cards
It goes without saying that if you are going to be flying with babies and toddlers, you really MUST have travel insurance. Most times you won’t need it but that one time you forget it will turn out to be the time you do need it. We went on holiday to Lanzarote one year and were grounded for an extra three days because BattleKid came out in chicken pox. Thankfully our travel insurance covered most of our extra expenses.
The following year, at the same hotel, BattleKid fell on our arrival day and cut his knee so badly he needed 4 stitches. A trip to the nearby hospital was needed and they asked for his EHIC card. I had brought it and his passport, as well as ours, so we were all sorted once we arrived. So, do not travel within Europe without it.
35 Use drawstring bags for toys
This tip comes from Anna at Popitha. Her tip is genius!
Use drawstring bags to put toys in for the flight so you can easily get one bag out at a time, and then pack it away so all the bits are still together.
I haven’t used this before, but you can be guaranteed I will be from now on!
36 Plan your sleep and relaxing shifts
Sounds crazy but this is essential for long-haul flights. This tip came from Helena of Babyfoote, who said
My top tip (if you are travelling with another adult) is to plan in advance fair ‘shifts’ to take care of the kids and relax/watch movies/sleep. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a place with one parent who’s had 8 hours sleep and managed to watch a movie, while the other seethes with resentment because they walked the plane behind their toddler the entire flight.
37 Bring their Flight Logbook
If your little one is going on their first of many flights, why not invest in a Simply For Flying Flight Logbook. This is the flight logbook I mentioned at the start of this post. Apart from one or two return trips (where mummy forgot to pack it), we have logged every flight BattleKid has done and gotten some lovely messages from the captains. It’s a lovely memento to have for them.
As already mentioned, this is by no means the only list of tips for flying with babies and toddlers. It may even be added to it as other hints and tips for flying with babies and toddlers spring to mind. There are numerous other posts about flying with a baby and toddler available to read and they are all packed with handy tips. It’s natural to feel nervous or anxious if you are taking a baby on a plane for the first time, but remember the #1 rule, relax.
Whether you’re facing a short or long flight with a baby or toddler, these tips are designed to make it as smooth a flight as is possible. Remember, most parents have been there, done that and gotten the t-shirt when it comes to flying with kids. You aren’t the first one to fly with a baby and you won’t be the last. Flying with young children can be fun if you are prepared. But even if your flight isn’t a great one, just keep in mind that it’s only a few hours and that you’ll probably never see your fellow passengers again. So if necessary, glare back and tut at them, and if all else fails do this…
Are there any hints and tips for flying with babies and toddlers you can add to this list? Did I miss anything out?
Where have these two months gone? Seriously, 2018 is just shooting past. I can’t believe we’re starting March already! And I’m excited for this month, as BattleKid and I are headed to Ireland for a 10-day road trip. We’re going to visit quite a few castles, see some animals and also catch up with family, some of whom we haven’t seen in a year. A huge thank you to all my regular linkees who linked up last month and also to some first-timers. You are all welcome and I loved reading all your posts.
We had posts with hints and tips, family travel and days out in the UK, further afield and a bit more far flung too. So, here are February’s featured and special mentioned posts.
February’s Featured Wanderlust Kids Post
It was really hard for me to decide on just one post for my featured post but it has to be Annette from Four Acorns‘ post about visiting Coral Beach in Connemara. For anyone who isn’t familiar with Ireland, Connemara is a wildly rugged and beautiful area located in the West of Ireland, in County Galway. It is many, many years since I’ve visited Galway and Connemara and this post set off a longing in me to revisit the West of Ireland.
This beach looks stunning, and the perfect place for little ones to get lost among the rockpools, hunting for crabs and other such creatures. Annette’s pictures are amazing and her descriptions are what really hit home with me. We won’t make it to Galway this year, but I have a feeling a trip to the West of Ireland might be on the cards for next year. Please go and read her post about Visiting Coral Beach in Connemara.
February’s Special Mention Wanderlust Kids Post
Because I really couldn’t choose between two, they both get a mention. Firstly, Sinead, from Shinners and the Brood share her post in which she shares her tips for booking a European Campsite Holiday was brilliant. She covers everything from getting there to choosing the right campsite, to deciding on your must-haves and must-nots, her post was very informative and will go a long way to helping anyone prepare to book a camping holiday in Europe.
Secondly, Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes shared another of her posts from her series about their trip to Jordan. This time she wrote about their visit to Petra, a place I long to visit. It looks especially stunning at night and it was great to read it can be enjoyed by little ones as well as adults. She even gives us suggestions about where to stay if you are planning to stay near Petra for your visit.
February’s Other Great Posts
Annabel from Smudged Postcard shared some ideas for your family summer holidays including places in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece that are a bit less touristy but still worth visiting.
Lisa of Baby Loves Travel shared her post about Their holiday plans for this year in which they will try to have 12 trips, an average of one per month. I don’t think we’ll manage that many this year.
Riz from Rizology wrote about her visit to Bluestone with three other mums. They all brought their babies and thoroughly enjoyed their visit. To date, I’ve never read a bad review of Bluestone.
Liberty who blogs at Liberty on the Lighter Side shared tips to make travelling with your kids easier. I agree wholeheartedly that travelling with your kids opens your eyes and helps you see things in a way you tend to lose as an adult.
Michelle from The Willow Tree shared her post which has some great hints and tips for visiting Disneyland Paris.
Jenny from Travelynn Family linked up a post about short walks for young kids in the Peak District. All too often I find we don’t go on walks because we’re worried about little legs, but Jenny’s post is packed with ideas for walks in the Peak District, many of which cover a distance less than 2km.
Every month I love seeing what posts people are linking up and I love reading them all. They always give me serious Wanderlust no matter what the subject or where on the world they are about. I must say a big thank you again to everyone joining in with Wanderlust Kids.
This month I’m linking up my post about our first dragon hunting adventure here in Portugal. One thing I was worried about when we left the UK was whether we could continue our dragon hunting adventures. Little did I know that Portugal has many, many castles just waiting to be explored.
My ‘Wanderlust Kids’ linky will open from the 1st of each month for you to link up a post, old or new, which involves travelling with kids. It can be a day out, a family holiday, a travel review, somewhere new your children have discovered or a post with hints and tips about travelling with kids. As long as it features kids and is travel based it can be linked up. The following month I will write a synopsis of the posts linked up by everyone, and I’ll be featuring my favourite one, linking back to everyone’s blog.
So, if you’d like to join in, just grab the badge below, add it to your post and link up your post via the link up button below. Please make sure you visit a few other posts that have linked up and leave a comment. Alternatively, if you’d prefer not to add the badge, simply link back to this post.
Don’t forget that throughout the month you can use the #WanderlustKids on your Instagram photos which involve travelling with kids. These photos can be abroad, home or days out, so long as they feature your children and have a travel theme attached to it. Each fortnight I will pick my favourites to showcase. I cannot believe how well this little community is growing and appreciate everyone who has adopted the #wanderlustkids on Instagram.
And last but not least, I’ve created a Wanderlust Kids group on Facebook. The idea behind it was that not everyone who travels with their kids will have a blog. So, by creating the group we can share our posts and travel tips with non-bloggers, and maybe even help each other out by sharing advice or ideas about travelling with your kids. I don’t know if the group will go anywhere but I’d love it if you could join up, and add anyone you think might benefit from the group. Feel free to share your travel blog posts there too!
I look forward to reading your posts, maybe gaining some inspiration. And if you’re wondering about what types of posts have been linked up before, check them out under my Wanderlust Kids Section.
As a working dad, time off with the family is so, so precious, and holidays have come to represent so much more than just time away. They’re a chance to reset and reconnect with the family, and a chance for me to bond with my son in a way that just going outside or using our Tuff spot won’t quite do.
In this piece I’d like to tell you more about our best holiday as a family and our worst.
The Best: Barcelona 2016
What can I say about Barcelona. The city, to me, is just magical. In December 2016, when Max was 2 years old, we decided to forego Christmas tradition and my partner and I just decided to go to Barcelona for Christmas with Max! I had never been to the city before, let alone over Christmas, so even though part of me was a little sceptical of doing it over the Christmas period, I knew that getting away for a little time was important.
Why Barcelona was the best family holiday:
The weather – December in the UK is cold, and unless you’re a fan of waiting for a white Christmas, it’s going to be pretty gloomy (even with all the Christmas lights around). Barcelona averages around 15-16 degrees in December – perfect for a lovely stroll around.
The pace of life – it’s far from siestas on every corner – it’s lively, but not rushed. It has that lovely balance of being a busy city, but with a charm and tranquility that means you can just easily loose yourself walking down promenades and park ways.
The food – wowee! We tried the incredible Osmosis taster menu, and to this day it’s still one of the best meals I’ve ever had. A wine paring with every course, and a great wine shop next to it too! If you go, you also can’t miss Boqueira el Quim – the best market restaurant you’ll ever go to.
The amazing architecture – Whether it’s Sagrada familiar or the Gothic Quarter – there really is something for the whole family that the children will love too. You could easily have neck ache at the end of the holiday because of the time you’ll be looking up!
The stay – There are so many amazing Air BnBs now that cater for families super well.
The people – The people in Barcelona are helpful, knowledgeable and friendly without being too in your face.
The stay was so good that we just did it again last Christmas!
The Worst: Legoland, Windsor
Let me start by saying that I’m not putting Legoland down because I necessarily hated every minute, it just didn’t quite live up to expectation.
We went with Max over a half term, which in itself perhaps was part of the problem as the queue times in the drizzly rain didn’t make for an all-round great day.
There are some great features. Max LOVED the fire engine ride where you get to ride a fire engine, put the fire (fake) out, and then back to base, and he really enjoyed the classic model city where at my last count he had watched the trains go past approximately 20 times!
However, there are some significant drawbacks to the day.
Here’s why it’s on my list:
Where am I – Unlike most other theme parks, I found myself lost, very lost. Though it’s not as big as some other theme parks, the ability to get lost is rather vast. An extra sign or two would not go amiss.
Food choices are limited, at best – The food choices I found to be very limited. Who doesn’t love a good hotdog on a day out, but I’d rather that not be the only option. Ok, that’s a little unfair – I think there was a ice cream place and a fish and chip place, but overall there just wasn’t the kid of friendly food selection that you’d hope for.
The car park – it’s a good distance from the park itself, and seems to have a real lack of 2 way system about it
The upsell – ok, I know you go to Legoland and you really should leave with Lego, but there’s something about the experience that, while in may ways an amazing engineering feat, doesn’t feel as interactive as it could. The magic of lego for me is about making things, and there’s just a real lack of that around the park.
Thanks so much to Han-Son for sharing their best and worst holidays. We are going to Barcelona for the first time in July so it was great to get some hints and tips for our trip. And to be honest, I didn’t enjoy Legoland when we visited either. We went on one ride during the entire day, although we did come away with a good bit of Lego.
We’re halfway through winter, and this is the time of year you might look forward to getting away from it. Are your friends heading to Florida or some tropical destination? Yeah, we know you’re jealous. But, maybe you have your own winter escape plans?
If you haven’t figured out a getaway destination or if you want to try something new, consider the Gateway to the West, St. Louis, Missouri. You will find history, adventure and a whirlwind of activities for your children. Here are seven things you can include for a unique and fun family vacation in St. Louis.
The Touristy, but Very Worthwhile, Stuff
No trip to St. Louis would be complete without a visit to these iconic locations:
1. Visit The Gateway Arch
The Gateway Arch is an iconic monument that sits on the bank of the Mississippi River. It holds its name as a representation for the city’s part in westward expansion in the United States during the 19th century.
Architect Eero Saarinen designed the arch in 1948, which was later built between 1963 and 1965. It’s a huge stainless steel sculpture that stands 630 feet tall as well as 630 feet wide. It appears as a giant door opening into the West.
You can even go to the top the structure if you are brave enough. Two trams, each with eight five-passenger cars, can carry you to a viewing platform at the top. It’s an amazing view riding up wherever you are seated, and once you reach the top — well, it’s breathtaking.
The arch is a national park, and it also has a museum, tourist area and welcome center. Consider it a gateway to the many activities St. Louis has to offer.
Ride along the Mississippi where Lewis and Clark began their historic journey, but feel confident that modern technology will keep you safe. There are a variety of hour-long sightseeing cruises, dinner cruises and specialty cruises to choose from.
The St. Louis Cardinals played first played in the new 47,000-seat Busch Stadium in 2006. The stadium also has many gathering and party areas, including the Budweiser Brew House and other restaurants and bars.
If the weather isn’t cooperating or if you want to give your kids some culture, take them to The Contemporary Art Museum, which always has free admission. The artists and exhibits vary throughout the year, so check online for specifics.
The museum also offers family-friendly, age-appropriate events such as Morning Play Dates and the Stroller Tour program. These give art lovers a chance to enjoy the museum with their children or to bring along little ones who might not be able to appreciate it yet. Family-friendly tours are accessible and more enjoyable when everyone has kids in tow.
5. See a Musical
The St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre, affectionately known as “The Muny,” is America’s oldest outdoor amphitheater. The theater seats about 11,000 people and offers 1,450 free seats on a first-come, first-serve basis to anyone who would like to enjoy a show.
Be careful when making your plans as this not-for-profit outdoor theater is only open June through August.
6. Explore the Zoo
The St. Louis Zoo recently received recognition as America’s best zoo. Three million visitors per year enjoy free admission and the chance to see over 17,000 animals, some of them rare and endangered. The zoo is dedicated to wildlife conservation, saving the environment and to animal research and education.
Visiting the zoo is a great way to expose your children to animals they may never see in their natural environment. It also gives them awareness about the dangers these animals are in, due to human encroachment and destruction of their environment.
The zoo is sectioned based on which animals reside there:
River’s Edge: Rhinos, elephants, cheetahs and bears. Also a 33,000-gallon aquarium.
The Wild: Primates, penguins and polar bears
Discovery Corner: Kangaroos, insects and domestic pets and animals like goats and guinea pigs.
Historic Hill: Birds, reptiles and amphibians
The Red Rocks: Lions, leopards, giraffes and other four-legged animals.
Lakeside Crossing: Sea lions, seals and a stingray pool.
Enjoy safari tours, shows, feedings and other events for just a few dollars per person. The St. Louis Zoo is an all-day, family-inclusive and budget-friendly event everyone will enjoy.
Kids from one to eight years old can experience the Discovery Room where they can learn about outer space, play with water and interact with live animals. Older kids can learn about engineering and build real structures with limited supervision.
The Fun Awaits in St. Louis!
These are just some of the many activities, exhibits and amusements that can be found on a trip to St. Louis, so let your friends go back to Florida year after year. You and your family members may have different ideas of what fun is, but all of you will be able to find it in St. Louis, Missouri.
Jennifer Landis is a nutrition nut, fitness fanatic, mindful and millennial mom. She loves tea, peanut butter, and red wine. Follow her blog – Mindfulness Mama – for more on mindfulness, parenting, and healthy living. You can also find Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
*no remuneration has been received or given in return for hosting this guest post.
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