Wednesday, 25 December 2013


TIP 1:
Did you know that the 100ml liquid rule doesn't apply to baby liquids? Im not kidding. With any luck the world's terrorists aren't reading my blog. And no, it doesn't mean you can now sneak through your extra bottles of perfume and Chandon in the name of "baby liquid". But it does seriously change a few things if your child is still on the bottle.

Put simply, it means that when you are passing through customs (anywhere in the world, including Los Angeles!) and the security check requires you to declare all liquids, you simply pull out the bottles of liquid that are required for your baby's journey and identify it as such. If it isn't in a sealed container i.e, a poured bottle of milk, then the interesting thing that they are usually required to do is to run the bottles through a particular scan to test if it contains an explosive substance of any form, and then (this was the part that really threw me the first time, I though they were taking the piss!) they ask you to sip a small amount of the liquid in front of them to prove it is edible. (once again, another good reason why you shouldn't attempt to hide your extra duty free perfume using this method).
Have your milk and drink it too!

In saying that, I want to also point out that almost every international and most domestic airline I have travelled with have happily and promptly provided any milk and bottle top ups I have requested during flights, at no charge. If you require your own special milk (or breast milk etc) and don't want to rely on the airlines for it, then the air staff are also more than capable of storing your milk in the galley fridges for you too, since a long haul flight requires your milk to remain chilled (along with your state of mind).

Airlines have been around for a while. Long enough to know that a dilemma such as a hungry baby or a child with an explosive nappy is a potential threat to inflight safety, and as such, MANY INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS STOCK EXTRA NAPPIES AND FORMULA IN CASE OF EMERGENCIES. Never a good idea to rely on this emergency stash, but good to know all the same. Think of it as your parachute.

TIP 2:
Next, the baby bjorn rule. It drives me nuts every time I have to pass through a customs security check point at an airport, and every airport has a different rule when it comes to the "baby bjorn" rule. This refers to whether or not they require you to remove your (often sleeping) angel from the baby
Bjorn again!
bjorn, put it through the security conveyor belt (the bjorn, not the baby) and then re-attach baby to your bjorn two metres and one X-ray machine later. I am the first to agree that safety comes first and I am more than willing to oblige by any rules that mean we are all less likely to be blown up mid air, but it would make my day a lot easier if the airports across the globe (or even just the ones in Australia) could agree on the same protocol. However, because there are some airports that don't require you to remove the bjorn and sleeping baby (because it has no metal in it at all) I always make the effort to ask at each airport before I automatically remove it. Those few times when they wave you through are so, so worth it.

TIP 3:
Flushable wipes. Oh yes my friends, they exist. They can be found in your average supermarket (Woollies, Coles in Aus) in the toilet paper section (strangely not in the baby products area) and they come in the exact same travel friendly packaging as your regular Johnson & Johnson baby wipes. Only, they can be flushed!!!!! Wooohoooooo!!!!! No more man-handling poopy nappies in your left hand, poop covered wipes in your right hand, whilst precariously balancing your wriggling super cute baby above a teeny tiny, ecoli strewn airplane toilet. Flush and walk away!!

Being Australian, it is common practice to be handed an infant seatbelt as soon as you board a plane. (Domestic included). In fact, a plane is not permitted to take off if a child is not wearing a seatbelt, be it their own if they are older than two years of age, or the special separate one that attaches to yours so they are sitting on your lap for babies. So, you can imagine how odd it is when you board a flight, anywhere in America, for example, and the flight stewardesses say "a what sweetie?!" when you ask them for an infant seatbelt. I don't know the reasoning behind why they don't provide them (ahem, CHEAP airlines!!) but according to the safety regulations, you are also better off NOT STRAPPING YOUR
Issy strapped in, age three weeks
INFANT INTO YOUR OWN SEATBELT as a back up option. Apparently, if in the event of an incident, the force of your own body would potentially crush your infant strapped inside your belt - which would be more damaging than the impact they would receive by being simply let to fly around the cabin. As I said, either way, I simply cannot understand why ANY airline would allow any passengers, especially the infants to travel without a seatbelt, but that's the way it is. And that's the reason why you can't strap them inside yours.

TIP 5:
If your little one is of the age where he/she can sit patiently and engage in an iPad or portable DVD player etc of any form, then they must also (according to most airlines) have their own set of headphones. I learnt this the hard way on a flight from LA to CANCUN, Mexico. Two year old Isabella has recently discovered kids movies we downloaded to our iPad as a brilliant form of inflight entertainment. Much to our delight also!!! So you can imagine how frustrated we were when we were told she "had to have the device plugged into headphones or on silent" for the comfort of other passengers. Does anyone know a two year old who enjoys wearing small ear plugs?? And no, we didn't have a lovely set of children's head phones at hand. So, she simply had to watch Nemo on silent. Seriously.

So, they are some tips of the day. Again, they are things i've found out the hard way. If you've got any more to add, PLEASE email them through!! As the General in the kid's movie "Ants" would say, "It's for the good of the colony!"


Thursday, 19 December 2013


In recent discussions with my friends, family and colleagues (and total strangers) I have become increasingly aware of just how many personal tips Mums and Dads have for travelling with kids but have never thought to share them!

Let's change that! Because quite seriously, some of these tips are fantastic!

Can you hold my child please?
Like, for example, my friend Caroline who has a darling little 20month old boy called Edward and is six months pregnant with her second. She is English but lives here in Australia. Hence, she has some experience when it comes to travelling with little ones on long haul flights.

Rather sit next to this one?
Caroline mentioned yesterday that she has found a very distinct difference between the treatment she is given from airline staff if she makes an effort to "spruce up" her little one prior to boarding the plane! In other words, if she boards that flight with darling little Edward covered in snot, breakfast and half a container of play dough, whilst still wearing his half disintegrated favourite spaceship pyjamas, then she is in for a rough flight. On the other hand, if she boards with Edward, hair neatly combed, shoes on the right feet, clean t-shirt, nose freshly wiped, and perhaps a cute teddy bear tucked under one arm, the response is instantly a positive one... from airline staff and from fellow passengers.

Ok, this is taking it one step too far!
Perhaps that one should be an obvious one. But, I have to say, in my experience of sitting next to fellow travelling parents with their kids, nine out of ten of them think it is acceptable to let their little ones resemble homeless monsters just because they are on a plane. It doesn't do them any favours. And understandably, there's no way in hell you're going to have them looking immaculate when you're disembarking (or even half way through that flight) but its the first impression that makes the difference.

Try the Trunki for a cool travel case
Another great tip from a dear friend Jo. She recently bought her little boy Ollie a "Trunki" suitcase for the long haul flights she does with him from Australia to the UK. A Trunki is essentially a kid's travel case on wheels, with a lead you pull along like a horse and the kids can either pull it themselves (hello novelty!) or sit on it and be pulled along by Mum or Dad through the airport. They are usually groovy colours and i'm yet to see a kid with one who isn't grinning like a cheshire cat. They easily fit in the overhead lockers on flights and are a great way of keeping their gear separate from your own. Also, a brilliant alternative for toddlers, if you're now travelling without the pram or have checked it in with your luggage and want to zoom around the airport without using the grotty kindly supplied airport prams. Kind of like a pram and a travel case in one... kills two birds with one stone. They're not out of control expensive either - around $60 AU. A good investment if you do a fair amount of travel - or even as little overnighters for visiting friends.

Another tip is all about child psychology in the lead up to the trip. Our kids may be young, but they ain't stupid and you would be amazed how far a little bribery can go. Even if it is on your terms either way! Reason with them. Practice your Balinese bartering on them. Describe to them what is on offer, in their favour on board that plane, if they behave their very best. There is inflight entertainment (movies, games, tv series). There are desserts with the meals. There's a bag of toys they've never seen before that you cleverly bought at the Hot Dollar shop the week before. Seriously, word them up. And then they are essentially working for the reward system by getting these things as incentives for being a little angel instead of jumping on board, behaving like ratbags and then being given a stack of entertainment to get them to pull their heads in (negative reinforcement).

So, these are just a few tips i've gained from amazing, brave, well travelled women I know. I'd also like to hear your tips, if you're reading this and you've got one to add. Email me.
I bet you've got one...

Saturday, 14 December 2013


It dawned on me yesterday, while telling a friend about my exciting new blog, that what I have begun to do to myself is not only experience several degrees of hell while travelling with kids, but now I am essentially re-living that hell by writing about it all over again!

But as you know, the reason I am choosing to continue to do so is in the hope that it may in some way help others avoid my hellish experiences as they travel. 

It also dawned on me that there are in fact, several surprise upsides to consider about your trip with the littlies that you may want to focus your thoughts on instead of the poop. And there are some fantastic upsides! 

Suddenly bath time becomes fun again!
For example, if you're a stickler for routines (most parents realise kids benefit enormously from routines and a regular order to their day. i.e, dinner, bath, book, bed = Foolproof) then you may be relieved to hear the following. Your fears about them being away from home, in a foreign environment, with foreign times, foods, people, baths, beds etc... let them go. (The fears, not the kids). You'll know what i'm talking about when I say that I am always surprised that my child has graduated to the next stage of development - be it moving up to a 'big girl bed' or finally letting go of the 'bottle of milk at bedtime'. A trip away does in fact become the most perfect time to remove bad habits from home (without them sometimes even noticing!) or a clever time for you to introduce an exciting new stage for them, in a fun and adventurous way (that then comes home with them too!)

On our last trip to Mexico, the villa we rented in Tulum had a second bedroom with two single beds. We have been wanting to move Isabella into a 'big girl bed' for a little while now at home, instead of the cot. She is two. So, we bought a little butterfly mobile to hang above the big girl bed in this villa, threw the second mattress down on the ground next to it and turned it into an exciting new holiday adventure for her to sleep in a big girl bed. She loved it so much that when we got home we raced out and bought the big girl bed and she is now happily transitioned into it without even so much as a yelp of disagreement!
Big girl bed success!

I also noticed on another trip when Isabella was just about seven months old and we were touring around Chile and Uruguay that she suddenly learned the art of crawling (instead of just body sliding) and even crawling up and down stairs, as well as pulling herself up onto her feet whilst holding the furniture. Why, suddenly was this happening when I had been trying so hard at home to get her to grasp these new stages?? What did Chile have that our home didn't? The answer... carpet. 

Of course i'll put my pyjamas on mum!
And, if you're like me and you dread certain parts of every day that you know, like clockwork, are going to be painful, like the post midday sleep cranks that your toddler gets, or the hideous game of cat and mouse that happens when you are trying to get them dressed for daycare in the mornings, or the tantrums that inevitably come when they are bored, have seen their own toys a thousand times, watched their own dvd's backwards and upside down two hundred times... a trip away is the most amazing chance to have a well earned break from those daily grind habits and if you're really clever, not allow them to resume again when you get home. (This usually involves talking to your child as an adult and telling them how awesome it has been for both parties to not have to do those yukky tantrums anymore and how proud you are of how grown up they are now that they don't need to do it anymore!) Doesn't work every time, but its always worth a shot! 

So, the next time you feel that wave of anxiety at the thought of the upheaval of a trip somewhere with the kids, remember too the feeling of banging your head against the wall at the monotony of those tiny things in your daily life that drive you nuts, but that you're probably just accustomed too also. Your next trip is your chance to sneak in all the changes you've been wanting to make at home! 

NB. It is still worth mentioning that it takes a little faith and creativity on your part to allow those changes to happen... taking some risks, like letting your adorable little angel sleep in a big girl bed without all the whiz bang side protectors and monitors etc that you'd normally have at home. Take some chances. Break the rules. Make some changes. You might be amazed. 

Friday, 6 December 2013


Yesterday I flew solo with both the kids from Sydney to the Gold Coast (about an hour and fifteen minutes for those not familiar). It's a quick trip for the weekend to meet up with Steven while he is working up here hosting a travel conference. Only three nights away - but that's better than us not seeing him at all for a couple of weeks while he's on the road.

literally climbing the walls!
Anyway, it took me about two hours to pack, including everything from the suitcase filled with clothes, nappies, toiletries, bedding, swim gear, medicines, baby foods, formulas, the car bassinet, nappy bag, Issy's toy bag for the flight, bed-time books, the pram and thank god I already had a travel cot lined up at the accommodation.

But, it dawned on me, when we were finally in the air and as Isabella was refusing to sit in her own seat with her seatbelt on, play dough splattered across the aisle, Francesca screaming for a feed and the hostess asking me for $6 for the (life-or-death) glass of white wine I had ordered to go with my lunch (how very dare she?!!), which was inconveniently tucked deep inside my wallet somewhere in the overhead compartment... that a short flight still requires almost exactly the same amount of preparation and precision as an international flight. The only difference being the requirement of a passport - and that an international trip should have a light at the end of the tunnel - being a holiday.

In fact, sometimes a short flight can be marginally harder. The planes are smaller. They are often less prepared for children traveling (no child meals available), there are no bassinets for infants, limited change tables on some flights, more turbulence, fellow passengers are less forgiving - often businessmen returning from meetings etc, the inflight entertainment is limited - especially for kids, and the flights are more likely to be experiencing delays. It's a poop-sandwich.

So, in this particular instance - if I am claiming to provide any advice whatsoever within my blogs, today it's this. Be as prepared as you can be in the lead up for a short flight, obviously - but then when the poop hits the propeller, as it inevitably does, even to the most experienced of travellers with kids, then there's only one thing left to do... allow yourself a little self compassion. Imagine your best friend is sitting next to you on that plane, whispering "breathe". Because, quite frankly, there are times when that's all you can do beyond what you're already doing. Short flights are hard. It's a military operation.

Oh, and for the record, the hostie never cam back to collect that $6 from me for the glass of wine. Sometimes they can show a little compassion which goes a long way too. Thank you Qantas.


Thursday, 5 December 2013


Maybe you're reading this blog for the first time, thinking to yourself "this is a bit of a no-brainer". "How hard can it be to get on and off a plane with a small infant?"

It happens to the best of them!
Let me put it in perspective for you. In the past two days I've had close girlfriends generously share their intimate tales of horror when traveling with their little terrors darlings on overseas flights. I'd like to share a snippet with you now. Make sure you're not eating when you read this.

The first is my friend Sarah, who describes checkin at the airport in London as breezy, giving her eldest, Scarlett, a bottle of milk from the airline lounge before boarding the plane home to Sydney. The milk must have been off because as she was preparing to step foot onto the plane, with two hundred odd passengers lining up behind her, for what was going to be a loooong journey in economy, Scarlett felt the sudden urge to projectile vomit her entire day's food and beverage all over herself, the pram, her parents and the airline hostess checking their boarding passes.

Sarah was lucky to make that flight, after she raced Scarlett into the nearest toilet, literally hosed her down in the sink, threw a blanket around her, left the cheap travel pram behind and ran back to board the plane.
Aim that poop-shooter at someone else!

Still not convinced this blog can be life-savingly useful? Then perhaps Rachael's story will convince you. It was when she had taken her one year old to the teensy toilet cubicle mid flight to Germany that she became aware her baby had explosive diaorreah. It also happened to be during a particular patch of bad air turbulence and Rachael simply says the "Sh#t was EVERYHERE!"... on her baby, on her, on the walls, the mirror... oh yes, and then the nausea kicked in. I don't think I need to spell out the rest, but let's just say what added to that mess was that she was out of nappies. It seems no-one had told her that for any flight, you need to PACK ALMOST TWICE THE NUMBER OF NAPPIES AS YOU WOULD NORMALLY GO THROUGH! (Perhaps my most valuable tip of all time).

I am not a scientist so cannot explain exactly why it is, but your baby's tummy is a little like the water bottle in your seat pocket that expands and squashes with the altitude of international flights. Yes, that means they poop way more than usual. Be prepared!! I'm only going to say that once. But I will add that along with a change of clothes (or two) for your little ones, do yourself a favour and pack a light change of clothes for yourself. There's nothing like greeting your in-laws at the airport with skid marks of poop and vomit down your front.

So cute and yet so, so dangerous
Also worth realising is that although your flight itself may only be eight or twelve hours, you have travel time to and from the airport, the inevitable check-in wait time of two hours before the flight and then factor in the possibility of your flight being delayed for any length of time. This is the amount of nappies you need to have at your immediate disposal during your trip.

(I am going to mention that most international airlines do have a secret stash of nappies on hand in case of emergency... but maybe best not to rely on this.)

And here's a personal tale of anxiety that I have experienced during a trip when Isabella was turning one and Steven and Isabella and I were flying from France to Los Angeles. I remember it well because I believe I will be personally scarred by this for many years to come. Steven's work had him booked in Business as usual (lucky boy) while my upgrade hadn't come through. (C'est la vie). I was seated in a window seat and since Issy was still under two, she was on my lap. We did, however, have a bassinet seat. Although, this turned out to be a nightmare. After being stuck on the tarmac for close to two hours due to some mechanical fault, and with Isabella screaming blue murder (that back-arching rage of an infant that absolutely nothing can reason with) at being strapped in with no-where to go and the air conditioning not working a treat, we were just begging for this flight to be over and done with. But then it got worse. The flight finally took off and Issy was put to sleep in the bassinet in front. But then the meals were served and the nasty old French man (I happen to think most French men are lovely, having lived in France, but let me assure you, this one was not) decided to put his legs up, along with his meal tray, as well as his fold-up movie screen, and then fall asleep, effectively blocking me from being able to leave my seat in any way whatsoever. I'm not a panicker. I don't suffer claustrophobia. But on this occasion, Isabella woke again with another blood curdling tantrum and I admit I suffered a full blown anxiety attack, and I couldn't get out. The hosties were horrid and tried to refuse me access to business class to reach Steven for help. Eventually I carted myself off to the toilets to regain my composure and to promise myself I will never, ever, ever be booked in a window seat with a child on my lap and a stranger next to me again. It's aisle seats all the way from here people!!!
Cheers to a poop-free flight!

Anyway - long story short. This blog is not just a tale of woes. It is hopefully one that scares the poop out of you, to the extent where it makes you learn from my mistakes. If I had read a blog by someone with tips and advice before I started out on all my journeys it would have made my life a whole lot easier. So, this is what I aim to do for you.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


To drug or not to drug, that is the question... 

Issy, sleeping like a baby.

If you haven't heard of Phenergen then it's only a matter of time. It's been around for decades (your parents will know of it) and it is most often known as a sedative to help during travel. Your kids... not you. 

Technically speaking though, Phenergan is an antihistamine. It blocks the effects of the naturally occurring chemical histamine in your body. It is often used to treat allergy symptoms such as itching, runny nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, hives, and skin rashes. Phenergan also prevents motion sickness and treats nausea and vomiting or pain after surgery. It is most commonly known among parents as a sedative or sleep aid. 

That being said there are certain things you need to know about Phenergen before making your decision to use it or not for your trip. (And I take no responsibility for any actions taken by you when it comes to administering drugs to kids). 

This child (Isabella) was not drugged for the purposes of this photo
First up, Phenergen is not recommended for use in children under the age of two. Steven and I personally took this rule quite seriously, as not even our local pharmacist would allow us to purchase a bottle of it over the counter without knowing our child was over the age of two. 

The reason for it is that it can affect a child's breathing - especially if the child has a history of breathing related problems, such as asthma. 

In saying that, a personal experience springs to mind, when our daughter Isabella was around 19 months she had an infection in her elbow from a mosquito bite in Vanuatu! She was admitted to the Sydney Children's Hospital (Best kid's hospital in the world!) and was treated with a series of antibiotic drips. However, the pain was horrible for our precious little girl. It broke our hearts to see her in so much agony. The Doctors surprised us by giving us a prescription for Phenergen to help her sleep at night until the infection was cleared. 

Issy (left) does Vanuatu!
I remember the conversation well when I expressed my surprise because she was under two. The doctor (one of the best paediatric specialists in the country) replied... "Phenergen is fine for kids over 18 months. The warning is generally there as more of a precaution than anything." And, admittedly, it worked a treat for us.

The final tip I have about this one though... TEST it before you travel!!! You would be amazed at how many of my friends say their little darling is one of the rare few who have an adverse reaction to Phenergen and instead of bringing on a peaceful long sleep, it does exactly the opposite and causes a hyperactive bouncing-off-the-walls reaction. No one wants that!!! So, the general advice is to do a little trial run one night at home before the trip and establish that your child is not one of those who turns into a gremlin after midnight!

With all of this in mind, if you do go ahead with it, I suggest waiting until you are onboard the plane, allowing your little one to be familiar with the transition onto the plane (which avoids the freak-out of waking up in such a foreign environment), to enjoy the excitement of the take-off experience, to perhaps have a little bit of something to eat and watch a little inflight entertainment or read a book etc (in keeping with their usual night time routine) and sneak that Phenergen into their bottle of milk and then watch them fade within about 30 minutes.

Ratua Vanuatu. In my top three destinations!
Worth bearing in mind of course is how long your flight is, and the time zone difference when you arrive (and how long you're in that country for). For example, if it's a 22 hour flight from Sydney, Australia to London Heathrow, you would want your child to have a full amount of sleep as they would have when they are at home for a 24hr cycle. However, you want to time it so that they are not buzzing awake when you're landing at 8pm at night. But like I said, sometimes you may or may not choose to adjust your child to the new time zone if you're only there for a few days. Anything more than five days is sufficient for me to try to get the kids to adjust. But that's another story...

Happy sleeping!

And for the record, we have no regrets about the trip to Vanuatu - despite the mozzie bite! 


I'm sure you're wondering just why i'm dedicating an entire blog to advice from my personal travels. Let me put it in perspective for you.

Isabella's first flight aged three weeks
My husband travels around 300 days a year for work. We try to go with him as much as possible. It was a decision we made early on that our babies are better off being with their parents no matter where. So, we take to the skies on a seriously regular basis. Add to that, I am also a travel presenter, for the Seven Network here in Australia. 

My background is as a television journalist and i have worked for the past twelve years across the major networks in Australia both presenting and producing various television and radio content. I have also lived and studied in France and consider Europe to be my soul mate. I would die happy with a glass of vino in hand, anywhere in France, Italy or Spain.

One check-in experience that i'll never forget was when the assistant was looking at my toddler's passport and flicking, flicking, flicking through the pages, looking for one without a stamp. He glanced at me as if to say "you're kidding right?". But it's true. My baby has been everywhere. At the age of two she has her own Frequent Flyer membership and is fast accumulating points.

Her first trip in a plane was at the age of three weeks. Steven and I took her for a family holiday to Heron island in the Great Barrier Reef. It involved a plane trip, followed by a helicopter ride (where the compulsory children's life jacket and headphones actually swamped her). 

At just two years of age she has been to the following countries (some more than once):
Isabella's first helicopter ride aged three weeks
Fiji, Vanuatu (x 3) , Chile, France, Uruguay, United Kingdom, USA (x 2), Hawaii, Canada, Mexico (x 2) and Italy.  

On top of that, she travels domestically around Australia on a regular basis. The staff at the Qantas lounge know her by sight. 

If this sounds like I am bragging, please don't misread me. In fact, the point I am trying to make is that I am a lunatic. Yes, I have voluntarily put myself and my darling husband through the stress of transporting our most valuable cargo (our children) around the globe on a ridiculously regular basis. 

Hawaii with Issy and Steven... paradise for every reason.
But like I say, there comes a point when you realise that our careers are incredibly important for providing for our family and we are fortunate enough to have that option to travel together. And let's face it, is traveling the globe not the most amazing thing you could ever have the good fortune of doing, with the ones you love the dearest?! And it won't be forever. The girls will be in school soon enough, or our jobs won't last forever... we seize the opportunity while it is there. And I am the first to admit that despite the drama, the missed flights, the vomit projected at my head, the screaming children refusing carseats, the lost passports, the missing 'blankies', the financial strain, the explosive diarrhoea, the crazy taxi rides, the rude air hostesses, the lack of sleep... I wouldn't change a single thing. I am the luckiest person I know. I am deeply grateful for this life we have. I wake every day (often in strange hotel rooms) and smile that we are together. I hope that my experiences can help you feel the same way. Thank you for reading my blog and for joining my personal journey. 

Monday, 2 December 2013


It appears that, by some miracle, you've made it onto the plane! Now, for the arduous long journey. First of all, I have to say congratulations, because half the work is now done. Assuming your bags are all as prepared as I am hoping they are, then you should survive the flight itself in one piece. Should.

Strap that baby in!
For a start, it still amazes me that most US airlines stare blankly at me when I ask if they provide infant seat belts. For those not familiar with Australian airlines, you are likely to be shot and the plane will not leave the ground, until your little one is appropriately strapped in on your lap with the attachable belt. (a woman was actually kicked off an Australian plane recently because her child refused to wear the belt).
Im told the reason US airlines don't even let you put your belt around the two of you is because you are more likely to crush your child that way.

I digress. For those who have never heard this incredibly important piece of information, hear it now. Many babies struggle with equalising as the plane ascends and descends. The pressure builds up in their ears and causes intense pain. They cannot just blow their nose and release the pressure the same as we can and with their small ear canals, it really can be seriously excruciating. Many of us have been on planes with children in the cabin wailing for the love of god. I stress that most of the time, this is NOT you child being overtaken by a sugar hit, a panic attack or the devil himself. This is a medical situation.
Although there is not one amazing solution to this, it is highly recommended that giving your baby something to suck on during take off and landing is the best possible chance you have of avoiding the pain. Their bottle of milk, breastfeeding, a dummy, a lollipop... anything that encourages swallowing.
More often than not, as soon as the plane levels out the pain will ease but you may want to consider a small dose of baby panadol if the pain kicks in at the start of the journey and if its a long flight, maybe another dose an hour before landing.
Hopefully more passengers will become aware of this simple bit of info in time and be forgiving of a screaming child on a plane. And with any luck, the airlines will one day provide info for parents and perhaps a sucking device in advance...

Friday, 29 November 2013


Again, this is something that needs to be thought of waaaaay before you get on that plane. Regardless of your child's age, (unless we are talking newborns with only one requirement for hours of entertainment - your milk supply) then it is strongly advisable that you smash up (translation: spend up big at) your local Two Dollar / Hot Dollar / Bargain Basement store with strange, unusual, colourful, interactive, disposable, glow in the dark, squishy, funny, imaginative toys and games.

In flight entertainment "toddler" style
However, there are a certain number of basic rules that do apply to your shopping list:
1. Don't buy anything you intend on keeping for a long time.
2. Perhaps avoid the super loud musical toys, for the sake of not making enemies on the plane.
3. It must be something your child has NEVER seen before. And do NOT let them see these toys until you are ON that plane, desperate for a source of distraction.
4. The smaller the better to fit inside that carry on bag. (yet large enough to not be a choking hazard...)
5. Avoid sticky, sugary objects of any kind (this should be obvious why). No one likes to travel twenty something hours with lollipops stuck in their hair / down their blouse or with children bouncing on and off the walls from sugar rushes.
6. Things that roll can also be nothing but a nuisance for you as the plane is clearly not always on a flat angle - and we all know our little monsters darlings love to throw and drop their toys.
7. Balloons are also not a good idea. They burst and can sound like explosions. Just saying.

In past flights, I've had particular luck with play dough, stickers, pencils, flashing squishy toys that you can mould, fluffy pipe cleaners, small books, quirky looking dolls, small race cars, etc.

Glow in the dark masks kept us entertained for hours!
On one of our most recently family trips to LA, Steven's work flew him Business class, while my seat was booked in economy, with both the girls. Obviously, I was feeling anxious about this scenario. Although we had secured a bassinet for Francesca, aged five months at the time, and Isabella had her own seat next to me being over two years, I was worried about this being my first international trip with both the kids, and doing it solo, essentially.
By some gift of god, the man seated next to me on this flight was amazing with kids, completely understanding, chivalrous and had a similar appreciation for gin and tonics as me. With the kids needing distraction as the lights were dimmed for the sleep section of the journey, my neighbour / new friend Aaron and I busted out the glow in the dark masks that i'd snapped up the week before, we sent Steven an inflight seat-to-seat message to come and join us and before I knew it, we had our own small disco happening in row 24!! (silent disco of course, so we didn't wake the other passengers). The kids thought it was hilarious and it seriously killed about two hours of the journey time for me. I'd like shares in the company.

Sunday, 24 November 2013


I can't emphasise enough how vital it is to be organised with your packing. This is key to surviving the journey. The weeks leading up to your trip are your chance to research the logistics of the destination for things like car seat laws, your hotel's ability to provide certain equipment, the public transport situation for little ones, vaccination requirements, the hazardous elements (mozzies, snow etc), the foods available, etc etc. 

If you can be on top of this then you will have more time on the ground to enjoy your trip rather than spend the entire time chasing equipment, medicines, formula and so on. Wouldn't you rather be shopping or lunching?

Strolling the streets of New York
My first tip is specifically related to your mode of stroller. It's easier and cheaper than you think. Go to KMART or Target or Big W and buy yourself something called an Umbrella Stroller for under $100. It'll change your life. Leave the expensive bugaboo at home. The compact, knock about, reclining, fold-up pram is your new best friend. And surprisingly, they're seriously good! 

This little baby is allowed through the airport check in with you as opposed to traditional strollers. The word "umbrella" is what airport staff listen for. It's like a James Bond code word that means "this little baby will fold up smaller than my handbag."  However, it's probably best you refrain from winking and touching your nose suspiciously as they may take you for a security threat. Just a suggestion. 

Most airlines will allow you to take it as far as the boarding gate (so if your little muppet is asleep at the airport, you can let them continue snoozing right up to stepping onto the plane). Some airlines, such as Qantas (International), actually allow you to take the pram onto the plane with you and will store it up from (depending on how full the flight is - and you're at a clear advantage if you're up the pointy end of the plane). This means it is ready for you the second you land and you can breeze through security at the other end. 

Of course you need to bear in mind this stroller applies to babies not requiring a flat bassinet, usually over the age of about 5 months and with reasonable neck strength. 

Isabella takes a nap in her Maxi Cosi. 
Anything younger, my tip is to get yourself a second hand Maxi Cosi capsule that clicks into a good selection of pram bases (some require adaptors). This capsule can also double as your car capsule if you take (pack in check in luggage) the base also. And, more importantly, it is a portable little piece of genius that can prop up on the seat next to you at cafe tables and dinners so bub can snooze while you eat. Just leave the pram base by the door. It's a brilliant all-rounder. You're far more likely to get a table at a nice eatery if you don't arrive with a tractor. Plus when you're ready to head home, just pop the bassinet straight in as the car seat! 
Our Baby Bjorn was a godsend

The other handy little option to have with you for kids aged from 3 months to about 18 months is the baby bjorn (or similar brand). This eliminates all need for a stroller and means you are hands free for the airport, shopping and sight seeing etc with out having to deal with all the logistics of prams. The only downside, your back and shoulders will be killing you if this is your only option and baby may not be a fan of having his/her naps in the upright bjorn position, especially if they're older. Still, I don't leave home without it. It's a good one to just roll up and tuck under the pram and pull it out if baby gets frustrated from being strapped into the pram too long, or you're somewhere like New York, which is NOT a pram friendly city!

Monday, 18 November 2013


Narrowly avoiding the poop... and the propeller.

So, you're thinking about attempting a trip with your little one(s)? And you're pooping yourself? Let me say, you have reason to be afraid, very afraid. It is petrifying. It is without doubt one of the most challenging, anxiety inducing, marriage-testing experiences you can undergo. But it is still worth it. And it is manageable. I've lived to tell the tale. And i'd love to help you survive your journey. 

This blog is not about me. It's about the poop that has happened to me, that I am willing to share with you in the hope that it won't, in turn, happen to you also. 

You may notice that I refer to poop freely throughout my blog. It's because I spend all day every day stopping myself from using obscene profanities in front of my children and it has now become habit to use unfulfilling swear words instead, that I secretly imagine to be incredibly offensive!! So poop it is. 

I do not claim to be an expert. But my husband Steven @sjweather9 travels for work and is away from home on average 300 days per year. He's the weather man on the Today Show on Channel Nine (the funny guy who was attacked by a pelican, you may know of him) In an effort to keep our marriage strong and for our girls to know their father, and for him to know them as they develop faster than we can keep up, we try our best to travel with him as often as possible, both domestically and internationally. With this in mind, we have been to many locations, flash, tacky, near, far and fabulous. I don't have a moment of regret about any of the trips we have done - but dear god if someone had handed me a list of tips to make it easier back when I was starting then it would have made one hell of a difference. 

Admittedly, neither of our kids are school age yet, so it is possible to lug them around with us at the drop of a hat. At first I did question if this was in the girls' best interests or if it was a disruption to their sense of routine that I do believe is important for them at their most formative stage. And then I realised that the most important thing of all is to be together as a family, no matter where, and that some of that boring routine can be taken along with you for the journey. Besides, nothing is harder than being the one left behind, to clean up the poop at home, solo, while your man is off sunning himself on a tropical island somewhere. Am I right?

So, let's get started, let's pack those bags and let's get you on that plane in one piece, as prepared as you can be. Oh, and one of those teensy things i've learned along the way - babies and young kids really actually do poop way more than usual at high altitudes. Don't ask me the science 'behind' it... just trust me and pack twice the amount of nappies in that carry on nappy bag as you would normally do, along with a change of clothes or two. And maybe some gloves... (ok, that part wasn't serious). And they provide the vodka on board.