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'I've taken 30 flights with my twins. Here are my 12 tried and tested tips for surviving.'

Let me cut right to the chase: travelling with twins sucks.

Sure, being a parent to twins is the greatest blessing in the blah blah blah blah. But it’s also really damn difficult. And when you take that already difficult job and transport it 38,000 feet into the air, well, it can be quite stress-inducing for everyone involved.

All that said, it’s not 100 per cent impossible to make it an entire long-haul flight without a breakdown. And while it did take me roughly 30 flights (yes, I’ve been on that many flights with my twins), I feel like I have finally mastered the art of taking tiny humans on long-haul excursions.

Now you can benefit from my fails too. Here are my top 12 tips to surviving long-haul flights with twins:

Sean Szeps chats surviving long haul flights with his twin babies on our podcast, The Baby Bubble. It can be done, you just need to know how.

1. The younger the better.

Contrary to popular opinion and folklore, travelling with babies is actually much easier than travelling with toddlers. Why? They basically just sleep and can’t move yet. So if you’re trying to visit your parents after the birth, I’d suggest you go sooner rather than later.

2. Check the regulations of travelling with twins BEFORE you book your flight.

The rules will vary by each airline, so keep the following potential issues in mind:

  • Some airlines require that each baby travel with one adults, making it difficult if you’re raising the twins alone.
  • Most carriers will only allow one lap infant per row, so they may force you to sit separately from your partner.
  • Lap infants are not always given their own carry-ons, so be prepared to make some extra room in your bag.
  • Babies need their own paperwork to fly, so bring a birth certificate, a medical release form (seven to 14-days-old) and a password/visa if travelling internationally.
  • If you’re flying internationally with twins under two, you’ll need to pay 10 per cent of the fare for the cabin in which the adult is travelling, plus taxes and fees.

 

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3. Leave your bulky double stroller at home.

You need to go online and buy two cheap umbrella strollers. It’s easier to get around the airport, lighter to pick up and put through security, and less stressful with the airlines “accidentally” chucks it around the airport.

4. If financially viable, buy an extra seat.

You can place an infant carseat or even buckle one of your toddlers into the seat and give yourselves a break every now and then.

5. Be savvy with your seat selection.

Most toddlers are crawling or walking by now, so you have two options: either stick them in the isle with you so that you can easily pop up and down to take them on excursions, or do the exact opposite and confine them to a window seat.

Perks of the window seat is that the clouds and mountain ranges are like a built-in television screen to keep them distracted. At least for a couple minutes!

6. Pack as smart and light as humanly possible.

With twins, there won’t be a break. For you or your arms. Unlike parents of singletons, a hand-off to a parents means a switch of babies, not a break. I suggest you take that bulky book and computer out of your carry-on and make room for extra nappies and comfy clothes instead. And because you’ll always need an extra arm, leave that shoulder bag at home and bring a backpack to travel with.

7. Wear them out BEFORE you board the flight.

A lot of airports will have soft play areas. You may be concerned about sickness, but my recommendation is to do whatever it takes to ensure they are exhausted by the time you’ve taken off.

8. Be prepared to break a rule or two.

Throw those strict screen time and snack rules out the door. Remember: your goal is to make it to the other end in one piece.

9. Book flights around your sleep schedule.

The white noise of the plane should help with putting (and keeping) your baby asleep. If it’s possible to book flights around their sleep schedule, do it. We typically aim for a night flight, which has given us enough time to watch a movie or two in silence.

 

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Celebrating 8 months on earth with their 8th flight. ✈️ Next stop: San Fransisco, USA! ???????? #joeyclub

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10. Travel with two separate distraction bags.

If you pack small bags filled with toys and books that will keep each twin distracted, you’ll find that switching the bags half-way through the flight will feel like a new experience for them. Also, favour items that are easy to pull apart and put back together again.

11. Remember that they can’t grasp the concept of “popping” their own ears yet.

That means it’s your job to help them by offering them something to suck onto during takeoff and landing. We go with dummies or milk bottles, but breasts, food pouches or lollies work too.

12. Call car rental companies and hotels in advance and make sure they have two of everything.

We haven’t dealt with this before, but I’ve read two horror stories online of parents being stranded in the middle of the night with no option for a second car seat to get to the hotel. Or a room with not extra cot when the babies are too big to sleep it in together. Just be safe and double (or triple) check with them.

Bonus tip: You can, in fact, travel with milk and water for babies. It took us a while to figure this one out, but toddlers are exempt from the 100ml liquid rule. You’ll get checked when moving through security, but they are usually quite nice to parents with twins.

You already know that parenting is hard, but travelling while attempting to parent is even harder. So if you can just remember to think about these twelve things before your next flight, I promise you’ll be one step ahead of the game.

Oh. You’ll never see the other passengers again, so just do what’s right for you and your twins. And remind yourself as frequently as possible of what’s on the other side.

What are your tips for travelling long-haul with kids? Tell us in the comments section below.

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If you’d like to hear me talk in more detail about some of these travel tips, listen to Episode 8 of The Baby Bubble podcast with my lovely, well-travelled co-host Zoe Marshall.

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