Thursday, 9 April 2009

Traveling with twins

My husband and I recently went on a 3-month trip with our then 8 month old babies, traveling across 4 continents. It was an amazing trip AND the little ones loved it too !

Most people that hear that we went on such a trip with 2 babies mostly appear either surprised or shocked but they always wanted to know how we did it and my answer was always: what do you mean how ? It was easy.

Ok, sometimes, I did feel exhausted and wonder why I was doing it too but the truth was, I love traveling and I was not going to stop because I now have children. Why should I ? I truly believe it is great that children travel and get to see the world (although in this case, they probably wont remember a thing..... but I did take about a million pics just to make sure they do!) and I think the more they travel, the easier it will become for them to adjust to different environments and people.

A few pointers on how to make your trip with babies easier:
  • If you can, make sure you establish a routine with your baby before you go away, makes controlling feed and nap-times so much easier AND makes getting over potential jet-lag possible, providing that you choose your flight time to fit their routine.
  • Stick to their routine as much as possible as you arrive at your destination.
  • Please beware that you aren't allowed to travel with more than one infant below six months old! I once planned to do this, managed to get a ticket and everything.... but in the end had to take my father, who took me to the airport, on the trip. Lucky it was only a short one !
  • After six months, you must purchase at least one additional seat for one of your twins AND make sure you do bring your own certified car-seat to avoid disappointments. If possible, make sure you get a written confirmation from your airline to say that it is OK to travel with twins (one on your lap), as some ground staff are still reluctant to let you travel with two infants... claiming it isn't safe if anything was to happen during the flight.
  • Don't be tempted to bring the whole of your child's toy box on the plane... she/he will find the in-flight magazines and other random stuff more interesting anyway. Just bring your child's favourite toy and maybe bring something new that will capture his/her imagination and attention for a at least a few minutes.
  • Bring some hard to eat snacks, like teething biscuits or other chewy snacks as it will keep you child occupied for longer than normal snacks. The last thing that you want is a child that has been over-snacking and potentially becoming hyper-active due to sugar-rush.
  • Don't be tempted to rush on the plane to get yourselves ready too early. In fact, try to delay boarding as much as possible ! The shorter time you spend on the plane, the less likely your child will become bored and fed-up.
  • Double check restrictions with luggage and buggies at airport. Some airports strictly forbid you to take your stroller to the gate, which makes it quite tough if you have two infants with you PLUS luggage. And other airports, even if they let you take buggy to the gate, wont let you have it back by the plane at arrival. Make sure if this happens, that you request assistance beforehand.
  • Online check-in is not always possible if you are traveling with twins, as the configuration of oxygen masks vary from plane to plane. You are pretty much restricted to just a few seats, traveling with 2 babies, as not all rows would have enough extra oxygen masks.
  • When it comes to picking seats, see if you can locate yourself next to one or two empty seats so your little ones can get their own seats if they remain empty.
  • Do make sure to bring extra clothing for yourself and your baby/babies, just in case an accident happens during the flight.
  • If you need to bring baby-food on the plane, check airport security restrictions. You may have to try everything you bring on, which could be quite a lot if you are bringing enough for 2 on long-haul flight.
  • A lot of people suggest that you should feed your child before you get on the plane, but I have found that (for me) doing the opposite has worked better, as it gives them something to do and kills a bit of time but make sure you bring your own food if you going to do this. Don't wait for in-flight meals because the little ones may not be able to wait that long. Bring something that is easy to feed (you can buy it at the airport, to save you getting any hassle from security) and does not create too much mess. Of course, only feed them if it is feeding time... otherwise your routine will get all messed up.
  • All above points are fairly self-explanatory and "obvious" but the most important thing I think is that you feel OK and reasonably relaxed about traveling. If you don't feel comfortable and OK, your child will pick this up and may be caused to feel unsettled. So have fun and enjoy (as much you can...).
One final note: Airports in Australia don't have porters, this can be a problem if you have to carry two babies, as well as pushing a trolley or two full of luggage.

Oh, and also, if anyone suggests to you that it is easier to travel with babies when they are a bit older, don't believe them ! In my opinion, the younger the easier. I could not imagine going on the same trip we did with our little ones now when they are walking ! The less mobile they are the better..... !

Bon voyage !

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