Waiting in an airport is never fun. And it is even less funny if you are traveling with children. I am traveling with Paul and Anna since they were five weeks old; so we are sort of familiar with the whole procedure by now. Paul even removes his shoes immediately and he puts them on the X-ray machine without being asked to do so.
So, which tips can I share with you?
- Have always with you something to drink. If your baby is drinking powder milk, put some powder in a baby bottle, and ask for warm water in any bar after the x-ray control. I never had problems getting warm water in the plane either. Just take into account that it will most likely be boiling water, so you will need to wait a bit until it colds down. So get your bottle ready on time if you suspect you will have a crying hungry baby. When they are a bit older, buy some juice or water in a bottle that can be closed after being opened, so no cans or such a thing. This way you can close it and keep some liquid for later, if your child is thirsty later on.
- Have always with you something to eat. Something suggestions: bread sticks, bananas, small sandwiches, biscuits. Avoid food with chocolate (kids can get incredibly dirty) or too salty (they get thirsty).
- Have always with you some toys or books. Crayons and a notebook are always a success with my children, they get entertained for quite a while. Also bring along a couple of books they love or just a new one they might be interested in; I suggest "Where is Wally?" or "Where is Waldo?" (US version) for a bit older children. Small puzzles and Duplo blocks also work well.
- Children get dirty. A fact of live. So be ready and bring extra clothes. I always take a complete change of clothes for each of them; usually something that can be easily layered. So I can add a sweater or leggings if it is cold, or let them with a T-shirt and no socks if it is warm. Also take a towel or an absorbing cloth, that is useful in case you have to dry some unexpected mess inside the plane.
- Take enough diapers and wet towels. Imagine you loose your connecting flight or your suitcase does not arrive with you (and you are arriving in the middle of the night in an unknown destination). Think about those scenarios and take enough diapers!
- This sounds contradictory, but keep your hand baggage to a minimum. I always check in my winter coat (if I am taking one). And I assume that my children are enough "entertainment" for me, so I do not take any book, magazine or whatsoever for myself.
- Use a small backpack as hand baggage. I take one that I carry myself to put all the clothes for the children, food, etc. Since I carry t on my bag, I still have both hands free for the children. It is much better than the typical "diaper-carrying baby" bag that you carry on one shoulder. It does not work with two children. Now also Paul carries his backpack with his toys, and Anna also has one (she really wants one like Paul) where she carries one diaper and her wet towels.
- If you are breastfeeding, take a light shawl / scarf. It helps to have some privacy, in case you have to breastfeed in the place and you are sitting next to a stranger. You can also use it to wrap the baby and make a small tent so the baby can easily sleep.
Hope it all helps, and I welcome your tips as well!