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Travelling with a little one is no easy task, especially with a 5 hour layover, but fortunate for us my daughter was a trooper. I have to say when travelling somewhere far, I highly recommend the layover. It gives everyone the break that they need to stretch and move around, eat, be loud, and tire out just enough to make the next leg of the trip go just as smoothly as the first. I, being 5 months pregnant though, found it quite difficult to sit for that long on the plane, so again the layover was a great way to break up the flight – but pregnant or not when your on vacation mode, its all about getting their fast…not +/- 13 hours!
We were travelling to Cabo San Lucas from Vancouver but had a layover in Houston. We made the most of it by walking around, grabbing something to eat, and then enjoying the little tram rides that they had from one terminal to the next, each terminal was so different that it was fun just seeing them. We only made it to three of the five terminals before getting exhausted and we didn’t even fully walk each of them from start to finish; the airport was just SO big. The shear distance around each terminal meant a lot of walking – actually walking is an understatement. This should help put it into perspective…their are five terminals, and each terminal has a minimum of 20 gates. You had to walk a minimum of 10 minutes (faced paced) to complete only one terminal, so imagine if you were on a connecting flight??? Yes you would be running for dear life, I would imagine it something like the scene in Home Alone where they were rushing to make it for their flight. They had motorized carts zooming by you every few seconds and did so at high speeds that you literally had to move out of their way or they would seriously injure you. They had them taking people from different gates to different terminals just for them to catch their flight or avoid the long trek. It got so tiresome – not to mention when you are holding carry on luggage in addition to our non-walking toddler…that I finally gave up and told the hubby that we had to take a motorized cart back to our gate – I was over the whole site seeing tour around the airport and was perfectly content just people watching the rest of the time…it was quite entertaining in and of itself, especially for my 12 month old who thought waving and saying hi to those who walked by her was the biggest novelty.
I know there are many parents out there that don’t like having their children watch television – but to be honest, on a long flight I am so grateful to have tablets that can be utilized by my little one. It sure kept her entertained long enough that the flight was bearable for her, for us and I am sure the other passengers around us were grateful as well. I find that as a recently new parent, there are many people who eye you down on a plane just hoping that someone with a child in tow is sitting NOWHERE in their vicinity. I would be lying if I wasn’t one those passengers when I was younger – but not all babies are bad on flights. Being a parent now, I only hope to sit next to someone who is patient and understanding and also pray that my child isn’t going to be the one crying or screaming the entire way. I understand that sometimes there is nothing you can really do to calm your child down..so that is where I must be grateful for things like technology which help children sit still and be able to remain quiet long enough to reach their destination The flight duration seemed to go by quick enough that when she was bored of watching she went to sleep and if she didn’t sleep, we were able to entertain her for the final minutes. Aside from a tablet, you need to ensure you have a blanket, pacifier, your little ones favorite toys, milk and of course snacks for your little one to remain happy in tight constrictive quarters like an aircraft…well at least for our daughter, those items were essential must haves. Perhaps we are lucky or perhaps it is because I have been on many plane rides with my daughter since she was born since my parents live in another city, but I haven’t had an issue with take off and landing and the changes in pressure. So given that my parents don’t live in the same city as we do, it is great that she is tolerant of flying and has become quite accustom to travelling by air to go and visit them. When it came to this journey I wasn’t quite sure how she would handle it because at the end of the day it was longer than our usual 1.5 hours flight duration; however, she did wonderful…now lets hope we are just as lucky coming home! I can only hope my next child is just as calm on flights as my daughter is now. Now here is the thing, I keep getting told ‘your next child will be the complete opposite of my first, you do know that right?’ – well if they are right, than and I am in for a treat…but I am sure hoping they are wrong! They will be wrong right??? Eek 5 more months to go to worry about that, for now lets just enjoy this vacation.