Long Haul Inflight with a Toddler or Young Child: a how to sleep guide.

Ciao amici!

 I haven’t posted in a while, sorry! I’m really quite terrible at this whole blogging regularly thing. 

Anyway, I’ve been seeing/hearing a lot people have difficulty with their littles inflight. I can’t promise to work miracles, but I can tell you we have had two fantastic international round-trips with our son at 13/14 and 16/17 months. With babies under 12 months (or pre-walking) you really shouldn’t have to worry, the boob or bottle will knock them right out! But for our now curious travelers who are in the toddler stage inflight seems to be a bit more difficult. 

We slew this dragon with establishing an inflight routine. 

To successfully create an inflight routine we used the following items. However, you can alter these based on your own preferences.

iPad games: fisher price has great free ones, kids doodle, coloring book apps

iPad shows: we have Little Pim in French and Italian, Little Einsteins, Thomas and Friends (whatever your child likes or none of them if you don’t do screen time) 

Bedtime books: if you have specific books you read only for bed or nap time bring them on the plane!!!! I can’t stress this enough!! Or if you have a lovey or something that signals bedtime to your little bring it!

Snacks: whatever your babe eats at home. Nothing new and exciting, we are going for routine and minimizing the stimulation that your little is already getting enough of from the new environment.

So you have your supplies now what? Time to get your itinerary down. Ours goes like this:

1. Board and get everything organized for ease of transition. No pulling bags down from the overhead to get the books, lovey etc. Keep all of that with you from the start. If you didn’t have time to do a diaper change before you boarded do so now. 

2. Snack time. Eating and drinking during takeoff help their little ears feel better during the pressure changes. 

3. Watch a show/play iPad games

4. Meal is served. Eat.

5. Depending on the lights dimming, watch shows or play iPad games. Also take a stroll to the bathroom to do a diaper change into an overnight diaper. Let your little stretch their legs and walk to the bathroom holding your hand. Changing into pajamas is also a good idea if that helps your little get in the sleepy mood. 

6. If the lights are dimmed or they have announced they will do so soon, pull out the bedtime books. Read them with the overhead reading light or until the lights are dimmed. 

7. Now that the cabin is darker, sleep! Your little should be pretty ready for this after a full tummy, fresh diaper, their bedtime books and the lights now low. 

For domestic just alter the routine to the amount of inflight time:) 

Happy Travels! 


Also note the baby neck pillow* 

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Saint Augustine, FL our European escape right here in the US

So, I haven’t posted on St. Augie yet, despite our many trips, because, well, it was always our little secret. The European City right here in the US my family has visited since before I was born, but the cats finally out of the bag. The last few years the city has changed a bit and the crowds are bigger, but it’s still a fantastic vacation spot with something for everyone. 

We are big history buffs. I like the beach for a day or two, but that’s all the relaxation my brain needs. Many beach vacation spots in Florida don’t have much to offer beyond the beach and souvenir shops. This is not the case in Saint Augustine. Ponce de Leon landed here in search of the fountain of youth, and with him came the Castillo de San Marcos, Spanish architecture and the charm that makes the city so wonderful. Henry Flagler saw the wonder here too, and made it a popular vacation spot in the 1880s and beyond. His beautiful hotels are now part of the Flagler College campus and open for tours. When the littles need to release some energy take them to Swing Park. The park has two sections, one for little kids and one for bigger kids. It also has a great covered area with tables and benches, a nice place to stop and nurse/feed baby out of the sun.

You really must visit the Fountain of Youth. This is the reason you are able to come to this beautiful city, after all. Drink the water of the fountain (I still have gray hairs coming in), watch a cannon ball launch, walk amongst the peacocks and learn the history of this beautiful area through exhibits, videos and interactive experiences. It also has some beautiful views and nature to take in.

If you are more into the beaches and nature, you won’t be disappointed either. The beaches have nice white soft sand (update: many of the beaches were destroyed in the hurrican, but have been workign towards restoration) and good shells can be found by the early bird. Anastasia State Park has beautiful hiking trails (some that lead to secluded beach areas!!) and a light house you can tour. The St. John’s farmers market is held at the pier with a great splash pad, play ground, fishing pier and public beach access (with some free parking). Grab some local treats and have a brunch right out on the beach. For seeing wildlife, about an hours drive south in the winter months and you can see manatees up close where they stay in the warmer water until spring comes. 

The kids will have plenty to keep them occupied on rainy or non-beach days. The Ripley’s believe it or not museum has sites of wonder for all ages. The Alligator Farm seems to have more birds than alligators now, but it’s definitely worth visiting. They also have a zip line for older kids and adults. We have not done it, both of us don’t handle heights well. The pirate museum and wax museum are also a good choice for families.

We will hopefully be heading back down there before the springbreakers because we really can’t get enough of this Colonial Spanish city just a 2 HR flight from Chicago. 

Update: There is now a beautiful Embassy Suites right on the beach with a Starbucks. The perfect way to start morning shell hunting and view the sunrise!