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How to survive a long haul flight with toddler – 8 recommendations

We recently had a 20 hour long haul flight with toddler and recognized that it was quite relaxing. Months ago it was stressful to fly with the kids. They were moaning, unbalanced and asked all 30min how long it still takes. As we visited more than 21 countries on 4 different continents with them already we learned a lot about how to organize a long haul flight with toddler. There are some mistakes you shouldn’t make and several items one has to take with them to distract and entertain your toddler.Travel map

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Family round the world trip winter 2015 – our plans for December 2014

family round the world tripOur daughters are 3 and 5 years old now. Since they were only some weeks old we travelled together through Europe, to Mauritius, South Africa, Thailand or New Zealand. It was an enjoyable time and we learned a lot about different cultures, our own limitations and the new horizon travelling creates. Some families homeschool their kids, others nonschool them. We took these options into consideration, but decided to spend the following years in one city in Europe. For sure, we’ll travel as often as possible, but only during school holidays. I read a study about the feeling of “home”. It made clear that it’s impossible to create that feeling above the age of 7. It’s important for me, that my child has long lasting friendships and not only with children she got to know for some weeks. I want her to be able to have that cosy feeling that provides a safe and constant surrounding. The clock is ticking. In only 10 months she’ll start school. For travel addicts this means: let’s travel as long as possible and combine many beautiful destinations. Let me tell you about our family round the world trip starting in only 3 weeks.

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Travel with a nanny? We tried it… – our travel nanny Phil

During one of our previous holidays in Italy we made the experience that everything was only about the kids. Don’t get me wrong, that’s okay, but in between we’d also like to have some hours for us as a couple. It’s different to go out for dinner alone instead of with a 2 and a 4 year old who tip over their drinks, complain about the food or have a high need for communication.

So we were sitting on our terrace, sipping on our glass wine and talked about our future holiday in Thailand. We saw us wandering from one playground to the next, missing all attractions (like on our holiday in New Zealand).  20130908_154556And if you come back home lucky to have the kindergarten and some hours alone it would proof that travelling is more stressful than sitting at home. It sometimes is, but one shouldn’t get the desire to return home only to gain some space.

The sky was dark, it was a  bit chilly and so wonderful calm. Our mind wandered from one topic to the next. We laughed and told us funny stories about the day, previous vacations and how we consider Thailand to be. In one of these creative moments I said: Why don’t we take a nanny with us?

Moment of silence.

Travel with a nanny? Which nanny? We don’t have a nanny as it was always important for us to spend most of the time with them.

If we don’t have a nanny yet, let’s get one.

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Etihads’ Flying Nanny

We recently flew with Etihad to Bangkok. During our preparation we found out that exactly on our departure date the Flying Nannies operate for their first time. I was quite curious how that will be, as I travelled alone with a 2 year and a 4 year old. Etihad announced on their website that the Flying Nannys are trained by a childcare training college in the UK. Their goal is to make long distance flights more relaxed for parents (and their children, I guess). With little presents, drawing stuff and other small games kids can be entertained.



What I experienced:

I had a very bad flight. We had to stop over at Abu Dhabi and stay 7 hours at the airport in the middle of the night to wait for our connection.  Normally it would have been only 3 hours but due to reorganization they enlarged it to 7h. My kids slept only 5hours on the way to Abu Dhabi. One of them on my arm, means, I haven’t cought a minute of sleep.

The Airport in Abu Dhabi offers a play corner for children, which is actually only 3 Bobbycars and nothing else. I managed to make them sleep on the floor between the seats, but again I haven’t slept as one of both was always awake.abu dhabi

So we stepped onto our airplane to Bangkok early morning, I totally sleep deprivated and there she was: our Flying Nanny. Maybe I looked horrible or she was just very motivated, but she was fantastic. Immediately when we entered she took the smallest one and guided us to our seats and helped us to get settled,

After we took off she asked me at what time the kids might be hungry. I was surprised: Is there no fixed time for eating? No. The Flying Nannys responsibility is also to warm up the meals whenever it’s convenient for us. Great service!

Amy and Talia were fit and wanted to play whereas I wanted to have a rest. Our Flying Nanny came around and played with them. She even coloured their faces! Both of them got backpacks gifted and hopped off the airplane in a very good mood.


Thank you Etihad and The Flying Nanny!