Even as parents, we should never stop exploring. I for one, had an interesting experience on the longest flight in the world from the Lion City to the Big Apple. 😁 That's right, my family and I embarked on an epic journey from Singapore to New York on Singapore Airlines in May this year, with my energetic toddler in tow and I'm here to share with you how it went. So, grab a cup of tea and get ready for the highs, lows, and everything in between! 🙌🏼
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I'm Suzana, the co-founder of HHWT, and this adventure was a family affair with my husband Mikhail, our young toddler Sofia, my parents, and my brother. Our mission? To attend my middle brother's graduation in Princeton, but we had to first get to New York - the city that never sleeps. 😉
I must confess, I had my doubts about this 18-19 hour flight, especially since Sofia had never been on such a long-haul adventure before. My expectations were somewhere in the clouds, anticipating restless energy and minimal sleep, especially since it was a red-eye flight. But hey, we were determined to make this journey as smooth as possible!
We came prepared with a stash of snacks that could rival a mini-mart, a variety of books, brand new toys, and even an audio book player to keep Sofia entertained. But the most important item we packed so far, has got to be Sofia's comfort item - her pillow.
During the Trip
The flight took off at the stroke of midnight, a classic red-eye affair. Pre-flight, Sofia was a bundle of energy, practically sprinting up and down the terminal. 😅 We attributed it to her excitement, but also the fact that she barely napped during the day – a rookie parenting mistake we vowed not to repeat but benefitted us in the end!
As for unexpected surprises, let's just say that we watched Frozen 2 more times than any human should in one sitting. Elsa's magic had Sofia enthralled! Surprisingly, Sofia managed to nap for nearly 7 hours straight in her bassinet, even though she was a little too long for it. It was a lifesaver, allowing us to catch some z's ourselves.
Now, here's a plot twist. We were seated next to a family with an even younger toddler who was understandably uncomfortable throughout the flight, resulting in quite a bit of crying. But, perhaps due to exhaustion from her marathon movie session, Sofia managed to sleep through the noise. However, when she woke up, she was not in the mood for another bassinet nap.
P.S. Sofia was 22 months old during this trip, which meant we were still getting away with an almost complimentary airfare (had to pay for taxes) – the most value-for-money flight ever, I'd say! ✨
Sofia's Long-Haul MVP Performance
All things considered, Sofia did incredibly well. Given my low expectations, she exceeded them by a mile. Her 7-hour nap was a game-changer, making the flight feel less daunting. The extra legroom in our seating area allowed her to roam around when she needed to burn off some energy.
Managing Stress and Fatigue
As for me, I won't deny that I was tired. In the days leading up to the trip, I had barely slept more than 4-5 hours a night. However, having the support of my family onboard made a world of difference. Dealing with an excited child became much easier with extra hands. Though I did have my moments of discomfort as I tried to find a cozy spot to sleep, it was all part of the adventure. 😊
Looking back, I probably didn't sleep as soundly when Sofia was in dreamland because I was concerned about her sleeping in the bassinet and feared the other baby's cries might wake her up. But, hey, that's what moms do – we worry, even at 40,000 feet.
After Trip Thoughts
As it turns out, Sofia is not just any traveler; she's a bona fide Disney enthusiast (like mother, like daughter!). ☀️ Her sheer joy when watching Frozen 2 repeatedly was a testament to that. What truly surprised me, though, was how much she thrived during the trip.
Her learning seemed to accelerate while traveling, soaking up experiences like a little sponge. Perhaps it's the 24/7 togetherness, constant communication, and the vast exposure to new things that did the trick. This realization has motivated me to work harder so that I can bring her on more adventures to explore and discover the world! ❤️
In the world of parenting and travel, my biggest piece of advice is to have no expectations. Expect the unexpected, because anything that can go wrong will go strong. Kids have their own rhythms and moods, and you can't control every aspect of the journey. So, just go with the flow, embrace the adventure, and treasure the memories you're creating. And if you're worried about jet lag, we've got you covered with an article on dealing with it, so be sure to check that out!
P.S. Tried and tested! Here are7 Tips To Help Kids Beat Jet Lag (From Mums Who Travel!).
Peep Sofia being playful!
In the end, every family's journey is unique, filled with memories, challenges, and love. As you embark on your own adventures, remember that it's not just about reaching your destination but enjoying every moment of the journey. Bon voyage, fellow parents, and may your travels be filled with joy, discovery, and unforgettable family bonding. Until next time, happy trails! 🌍✨👨👩👧👦