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Flying Overseas with 1 year old twins plus 3 year old-Advice?

3696 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  sept2008twingirls
We are flying to India with my 17 month old twin girls and 3 year old boy. My husband and I will each have a twin on our laps and the 3 year old has his own seat. We'll be there 3 weeks and then fly back. I think the overall flight time will be 24 hours or so. Then we adjust to the time change. I'm really not looking forward to the trip, but we're going to see family (my husband is Indian). I lived in India for 4 years, so I know where I'm going and I've done that trip before, but not with my 3 kids. My 3 year old was born there and we flew with him to the US when he was 15 months. It was pretty easy, but I can't imagine these 3!

Has anyone done this? I'm expecting the worst, so hopefully it will be better than that. If you've done something similar, could you please help me with survival techniques. What should I bring for the trip? For the time there? Any nuggets of wisdom from someone who has BTDT would be great. Just let me know that I'm not the only one in the world who has to do this crazy type of thing.

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We just flew (we got back last week) with 3 under 3 years to see my Gran in Johannessburg. The flights were actually good (9 hour flights) because our kids happen to fly well. We have flown at least three times with the twins at various ages, but it was the first time with three of them and two of us. My advice would be to fly at night as much as possible. I don't know what the time change is from where you are, but I find that if we land either in the morning and then keep nap schedule or land at night and then keep bedtime schedule, the jet lag is reduced and we all adjust much faster.

For the plane: snacks, snacks, snacks. Whatever the kids like and will keep them happy. Also ordering the children's meal helps 'cause it's usually kid friendly food. This time when we flew we took the twins car seats with us on the plane and that was a life saver, just for containment purposes. Books and games will also help keep the children occupied. Our magnadoodles were a godsend.

My DH was absolutely dreading it and when we got home after doing it twice he decided that it hadn't been that bad. There were times where it was dicey and hectic, but overall it was a good experience.

Good luck!!
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You will be able to do it. It will suck, but you will do it.

When our twins were 11 months old we flew:
California - Australia (3 flights) and then
Australia - Pennsylvania (4 flights, 30 hours)

Recently, at 19 mo we flew:
Pennsylvania - Hong Kong and back (2 flights each way, total about 20+ hours?)

The worst, by far, was the Aus - PA 30 hour deal. It was just plain old too much traveling with no break. The twins were lap babies, and I did not sleep at all. I was delirious and actually vomiting on the final flight (handing a screaming child to strangers so that I could run to the lavatory. So, for you, I would ask how many flights do you have to take to reach your destination? For us, the fewer flights, the better (for ex, the NY-HK flight is 16 hours, but at least we didn't have to change planes, which made things easier). If you have a lot of flights and you don't function well without sleep, I'd consider spending the night somewhere en route.

Secondly, if there is any way you can swing it, I'd buy one seat (or two) for the twins. It is really very rare these days to have any extra open (free) seats on international flights. We bought seats for the twins on our recent trip, and it was worth the extra money for comfort and sanity. We took their car seats with us, and they actually sat in them quite a bit.

I second it: Magnadoodles are the greatest invention ever for toddler entertainment! You should be able to find mini ones that have the 'pen' attached to the pad with a piece of string.

Other thoughts:
-Changes of clothing (we take PJs to change them into to simulate bed time, not that it necessarily works, but...!)
-Maybe even a change of clothing for adults in case a wee one gets sick all over you
- Coloring books and crayons
- Books they enjoy reading
- Make use of the personal TVs on the plane and don't feel guilty one bit for it
- Take any comfort items (blankets, etc)
- Snacks, water, snacks, water, water, water, water!
- Make sure both you and your DH have access to things you might need such as diapering equip, snacks, & toys, whether you do that before take off or if you pack the same essentials in two different carry-ons. In short, be well-organized; it's one less thing to worry about.
- Go with the flow. The airlines staff will likely be cranky and not helpful, but the flight can only last for so long. Soon you'll be having fun with family in India!
- We carried the twins on our backs/chests through the airport & security, which was nice, b/c we didn't ever have to take them out of the carriers (even though security). We did not bother with a stroller.
- We took toddler backpack leashes but didn't use them. If your kids are the running type, the leashes might come in handy.
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Good luck on your trip. You CAN do it!

We've done two international trips with our kids (although they weren't as young as yours). We went from Canada to Japan (5 flights, 27 travel hours) with two 3-year-olds and a 6-year-old last year, and from Denver to France (9 plane hours, six train hours) with two 4-year-olds and a 7-year-old.

Have you confirmed that you will be able to have the babes on your lap? I don't think many international flights do that. Some do have a cot where a babe can sleep... but I think you have to pay for it. It's definitely worth checking as you work out your budget.

When we flew domestically when our girls were lap babes, we couldn't sit in the same row as they only had one extra oxygen mask per grouping. That might be another reason to get at least one seat for the twins.

Anyway. You CAN do it. Flying at night helps. LOTS of snacks help. Little toys, songs, etc. Comfy clothing, lots of nursing (if they still nurse) and anything they like will help. Knowing that 99 percent of the people on that flight will be rooting for you -- and that it doesn't matter what the other 1 percent think.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
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We've done the Atlanta-Seoul-Bangkok route... sooo long! They were 1,1,3,5 (almost). And it was so hard, no sleep on the return flight, seriously for a 30+hr trip could none of them even take a nap!?!?

We did buy an extra seat because there was just no way we could do laps for that long and eat too. Lots of snacks, toys, etc. I didn't even take my own carry on because it's not like I"d have a chance to do any reading anyway.

We used our side by side stroller and could always load it down with our stuff in the airports if one wanted to be held.

Just assume it'll be the worst day of the year and be happy you survived it.
Yes, I second the change of clothes. Each child should have their own. Because we travelled at night, we got the kids into their pajamas before we got to the airport and it was easier for them to get into the "sleep" mode, and we changed them into real clothes just before we landed. On the way home, R decided to throw up just as they were serving breakfast, so we changed him into the clothes we had for landing. A change of clothes would be good for the adults as well, as last year when we travelled internationally as well D had a stomach virus and threw up all over me and himself just as we finished checking in.

Also dividing the diaper bag into two is good. We landed up seperated by two rows because they couldn't seat us all together. DH and R sat together and D, E and I sat together.

Regarding the basinet: there is a weight limit for them. The last time we were allowed to use them for the twins was when they were 8 months old. So check that out too.

If you can get the car seat onto the plane, that would be great! It was really the safest for all of us, especially the crew because the boys were contained.

You can definately do this!! Remember, it's only scary 'til ya do it
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Thanks for your ideas. I'm certainly NOT looking forward to the trip. I hope they sleep some! I can't imagine 30 hours with NO sleep! Keep the ideas/rays of hope/reality checks coming.

We took our twins to Nicaragua when they were 16 months. Not nearly as far as India! but it was still quite an adventure. We used the Baby B'air vests and I was so glad to have those. You strap the child in with your seat belt. They were great because it kept a wiggly toddler confined, which helped calm them, plus when we all fell asleep, they could just rest between our legs in a sitting/reclining position and I wasn't worried about anyone falling off the seat. It allowed me to fall asleep too. Also they have a short handle strap so while walking the isles, you could hold on to them, which helped with the wondering issue and with turbulance. Actually we also used them in taxi's in Nicaragua since car seats would have been a joke. At least I knew they couldn't fly out of the car! You can likely buy them used on ebay.

Also I found it helpful to have 2 small toys connected by a string long enough to go over my neck, (so one hanging down each side like a scarf) so toys couldn't fall on the floor. Its so hard to bend over with a toddler on your lap!, plus what a dirty floor!

Our our recent trip to Mexico with 3 year olds, we let them go full force into movie watching. It held them calm forever! Bring your own headphones (over the head kind) because those ear kind they give you on the plane don't work for little ones. If you have an iPhone/iTouch, put it on airplane mode with your data roaming turned off, and before you go, you can down load free kids games, podcast audiobooks, or pay for a few movies.
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Ok, we made it to India and had a great flight. Thanks for all your suggestions. Nobody told me about the dreaded baby jet lag though. This is absolutely HORRIBLE. We've been here 3 nights already and the kids are still getting up at 3:30am for the day. Yesterday I thought it was getting better as they were just up for 2 hours at night. Tonight they got up and refused to go back to sleep. It's basically ruining our vacation, as all we are doing is trying to get kids to sleep all the time. Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas how to get them to sleep at night? This is like a living NIGHTMARE with these kids!

Make sure they are eating enough during the day.
Make sure they aren't sleeping too much during the day.

At night, keep it quiet, dark, etc. If they are hungry offer a small snack but hopefully you can do it in a way that is somewhat quiet?!! ha ha ha, i know.

Jet lag can be so difficult to deal with, and even more when kids are involved. I've heard to expect 1 day of adjustment time for every 1 hour of time change.

We only had one very horrendous jet lag experience (Aus - PA); I find it's usually worse flying to a destination that is east of where I'm living (though i realize this description isn't correct or scientific, I think you know what I mean).

Do you have family around who can help you / take shifts / etc.? You've got to be exhausted.
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This blog post, and part two, is really good. Some excellent advice for flying with babies in general, but she has twins, and was writing about that.
We're back. Trip went really well. Much better than I expected, so I'm thankful for that. The kids traveled well and the flights were not back at all. On the way back they ended up sleeping most of the way home. Unfortunately, my mom went to the WRONG airport and we had to wait about 1 1/2 hours in the airport when we got home! Jet lag this time has been much better. Kids were up at 4 the first day and it's gotten an 1/2 hour later everyday, so today was 6am. I learned from my mistakes in HAVE to wake them up from naps in the day and keep them up as much as possible. Some of your stories really scared me, but then maybe then I had lower expectations, so if you think it's going to go bad and it goes better than that you are happy. Happy traveling all who read this later!

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