Holiday Advice

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I'm estimating that this would be at least a 9hr flight? I've never taken a pair of toddlers on a flight of that sort of length but I've plenty of experience of travelling longhaul with other passengers who did have children of that age with them and most of them - both kids and parents - seemed to be having hellish journeys!

I think that if you consider what children of that age are usually doing for 9 hrs at a stretch in an average day then it isn't usually sitting in their seat and playing quietly for the entire time with the occasional nap and food break. You can perhaps get away with it overnight but even then I remember one toddler on an overnight return flight from Cuba who wailed through most of the journey that he wanted it to stop! Exactly what he wanted his Mum and Dad to make stop I wasn't sure but it was clearly something that was not within their power to organise because he kept crying that he wanted whatever it was to stop. I fell asleep from exhaustion long before he did and when I woke up he was still crying and asking them to make it stop.

I think that it's also important to consider the effect of jetlag on toddlers too. On my regular trips to Cuba I cope by changing my watch to Santiago time as soon as we board and then make myself stay up and awake until at least 10pm after we arrive mid-afternoon local time. Changing my watch immediately doesn't really fool my body clock and I do know by the time I tumble into my bed that I've usually been awake for going on for 24 hrs by that time but it does mean that when I wake up the following morning I'm more attuned to local Cuban time.

However, keeping a toddler awake for that sort of time doesn't seem like a feasible plan. Friends who have family in Cuba and have been taking their respective daughters on visits to their grandparents since they were little babies both say that the worst trips were when the girls were between the ages of 1-5 years. Younger than that and as long as they had a full tum then they slept most of the way in both directions, older than that and they could reason with them and gradually keep them awake a little longer each day until they fully adjusted but as toddlers they especially found it very difficult to adjust their body clocks away from them waking and sleeping in line with UK time.

Both said that one of the things that made it easier was always to buy a seat for their children, even when they were under 2, because having a child that always has to sit on a parents lap was really difficult too. And in their cases they each only ever had one toddler with them. Booking yourselves all 4 seats in a middle block row means that you could put both kids in the centre ones and they could stretch out and sleep with their heads in your laps. They also said that taking their shoes off the minute they boarded and putting an extra pair of socks on them instead also minimised the likelihood of them playing the airplane version of 'kick the can' ie continually kicking the back of the seat of the passenger in front of them. If they could have afforded it,both said that to avoid aggro with their fellow passengers they would have ideally liked to book extra legroom seats that placed the back of the seat in front out of leg reach but that would usually mean paying for the premium cabin because children aren't allowed to occupy seats by the emergency exits.

And one final point, for who's benefit are you thinking of holidaying in Cancun in the first place? In my experience children of that age have no awareness of exactly where that beach and pool they are playing by/in actually is. They would probably be just as happy in a warm and sunny place much nearer home - and jet lag wouldn't be an issue somewhere in Europe or due south of the UK such as the Canaries. It's different, if like my friends, you have no option other than to travel longhaul if your reason is to visit family and keep children in touch with that side of their heritage but just for a holiday? I think I can safely say that none of the parents I've ever encountered on longhaul flights travelling with toddlers looked as if they were enjoying themselves. They looked fraught on the way out and exhausted on the way home.
Funnily enough, it was a Cancun flight home when there were twin toddlers who screamed the entire time in CW. And I do mean the entire time. I swear they took it in turns. We were in economy so the poor passengers in CW must have felt like screaming themselves. Goodness knows what the parents were going through.
However, I have been on many long haul flights and usually it's only take off and landing we have had distressed kids.
Load up cartoons or movies to keep them amused. At home get them used to using headphones.
Pack a bag of toys, colouring books etc and just take out one at a time. I am sure others will have tips to keep them amused.
I did read this week that more and more folk are booking holidays outside of Europe.
We never travelled for more than 4. 5 hours on a plane when our twins were small. Even the Canaries was a huge effort when they were two!!
We travelled to Johannesburg a few years ago - we were in the bulkhead seats to give me more legroom. Unfortunately a young woman was travelling alone with a baby and a toddler and was placed in the same row so that the baby could be in a cradle attached to the bulkhead.
It was EXTREMELY noisy for ~ 11 hours on an overnight flight, and we certainly weren't impressed having paid extra for the seats.
As per SMa ,save yourselves the grief and go to somewhere like Minorca or the Algarve, with a relatively short flight time!!
I kind of knew the above but was looking for some form of ideas / support.

As opposed to a hammering on what I already knew..

Thanks people - holiday confirmed and changed ha ah ha.
I thought I was being supportive!
Another idea,for anyone else who is considering this , BA's CW middle row of 4- the centre two can give a little play area where they can't escape very easily!
Parents should definitely thi k about whether these things are really neccesary, my partner and I are martyrs to uncomfortable cabin gas in our stomachs so I can understand why a little one with a potential stomach ache is inconsolable in a pressurised cabin, they could have ear issues or anything. Cancun was 10.5 hours when we went.

The trouble with inconsolable little ones on overnight flights is that it puts the kibosh on anyone in that cabin getting any semblance of sleep and every little helps when you are driving home from the air port between 1.5hrs and 5hrs.
On 3rd May 2019 at 04:02pm, Fiona said:
I thought I was being supportive!
Another idea,for anyone else who is considering this , BA's CW middle row of 4- the centre two can give a little play area where they can't escape very easily!
Of course. It just confirmed what I knew but didn't want to admit lol
so where are you off to? Cyprus?
Menorca is lovely for toddlers. The visitors are either couples or young families, no big groups of teenagers.

I can't cope with long haul flights myself, I get bored & fidgety, much like a toddler 😂

We were on a short haul flight to Malaga & a young baby cried all the way there too. I thought the child was in pain, possibly their ears. I wouldn't have thought any baby would cry for hours on end unless they were in discomfort.
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