I am a firm believer in getting kids used to travel if it’s something you often do in which they will be accompanying you. That being said, I know we have ALL gotten nervous on an 8+ hour flight when we see an infant or toddler coming near our seat. Oakley is six months old and I am writing this on a 9.5 hour flight from O’hare to Honolulu. She’s asleep on my lap and I’m scribing from my phone.
The most important aspect to long flights is to know your baby. You know if they’ll behave on a long flight if you know how they behave on quick flights. I realize there are always going to be extenuating circumstances but a long flight should not be your first flight with your baby. Just like you wouldn’t drive half way across the country without first driving 30 min down the road with baby on board.
Once you think baby is ready for a long flight, let’s go over tips!
- Avoid multiple connections or long layovers. Sometimes this is unavoidable but if you can, even if it costs a little more, opt for the 16 hour travel day and 2 flights instead of a 30 hour travel day and 3 flights
- Upgrade to business class on a 767 and above. If it’s in your budget, you will be so much more comfortable with the reclining seat and gobs of floor space
- Some airlines have bassinets if you call ahead and request one, we have never used this feature but we have been on many flights where others have!
- If you can, book a red eye, it’s so much easier for baby to sleep when it’s dark on the plane. Long red eyes usually also mean less loud announcements from the crew
- Pack more diapers and food than you think you’ll need, trust me on this one
- Long flights usually mean at least 7-10 days at a destination, you can usually save yourself 1/2 a suitcase if you ship your diapers, formula, and wipes to your destination ahead of time
- I recommend TSA pre check to literally everyone who flies more than 5 times a year but it’s especially nice when you’ve got an infant in hand and you don’t have to worry about putting your shoes back on before your stroller makes it through TSA
- Oahu was only a four hour time change but Oakley transitioned to the new time zone on night 1! I really didn’t try to plan it that way and we were totally fine with altering our time around her but landing at 4pm (local time) and then her usual bedtime at 630pm really helped her! She did wake up a little earlier than normal on the first day but she was 100% used to it on day 2!
Enjoy your vacation with your family! I hope these tips helped!