Welcome to The Suitcase Diaries! Those who know me personally know that I have 3 homes. I split my time between the Philippines and Hong Kong. My third home? Well that would be an airplane. Kieran and I are on a plane at least every 2 weeks, if not more. I’m asked for advice and suggestions about traveling with baby all the time, so I thought it apropos to have a section on our site specifically for the documentation of Glam-O-Mama travel triumphs and travails. We will have fantastic tips and vivid narratives of what went right and what went wrong.
I myself was a globe trotter from the tender age of 5 months. Having been born in Windsor, England I was flitting all over Europe for the first year of my life and after that all over the world. My father has been in the aviation industry for almost 50 years and my mother was a stewardess for a few years. My grandfather was an RAF pilot (and later a Captain for British Airways) and my grandmother was an air traffic controller during World War II. You could say I was born a nomad, always destined to travel. It’s in the blood. My Dad reckons he has spent half of his life so far up in the air. My mother although not quite in that stratosphere has racked up massive miles too.
Which brings me to Kieran. My baby has been a seasoned traveler from conception. I was flying on planes up until my 36th week of pregnancy enjoying trips to Italy, the States, Malaysia, Singapore as well as my usual Philippines/Hong Kong route.
When my doctor finally “grounded” me I spent 5 lengthy months in Hong Kong (the longest I have ever spent in one place since I was a kid). Granted I was consumed with my new baby but truth be told I was itching to get on a plane.
When K was 3 months old, I took him on his first flight from Hong Kong to Manila. That trip was relatively easy. He was still pretty much in the newborn stage, blissfully only wanting to eat and sleep. Kieran is now 13 months old. Since that first flight he has been back and forth to Manila every month as well as Boracay, Palawan, Singapore, Vietnam and Australia.
Most of these trips it’s been just me and him. I have noticed that every trip I take gets just that little bit harder. He’s no longer the sleepy newborn. He’s developing into a rambunctious little guy who needs to be entertained constantly. We are gearing up for an ambitious mega vacation with just the three of us (Daddy, Mama, and Baby K). On the itinernary? Long haul flights to the States and Europe (yes in one trip!) with Daddy leaving us to make our way around Europe and then back home by ourselves.
Even though I am a veteran traveler with my bub, the thought of our upcoming vacay (“mission”) has got me quivering in my boots. I’m terrified to calculate the number of hours we will be on a plane with our little man. What have we gotten ourselves into??
I was excited when I came across Momaboard! It is a site where traveling parents can find travel tips, city guides, and a network of like-minded members to answer their questions. The content is provided by Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan, Founder and CEO and globe-trotting mom. She travels the globe with her two year old discovering local treasures and tourist traps, assessing the child-friendliness of restaurants, hotels and cities in general, and invites us to join them on thier journeys. Kaamna’s objective is to provide parents who want to expose their children to the world the tools and resources to do so, through her own experiences. Talk about a traveling mom’s BONANAZA! Follow her on twitter: @momaboard
One thing that really caught my eye on her site was Apps for the Ipad that Occupy Traveling Kids (see below):
I’ve already touted the Ipad as my favorite travel accessory and now you can stock yours up with a bunch of apps that will keep your tot busy, or at least clicking around, while you travel.
Some of them Karam has been playing since he was 18 months and others he is still growing into. Figure it out, based on your child’s age and interests. The good news is, more than half of them are free!
1. Learning Touch First Letters and Phonics: Your little one will spend hours (ok, minutes) dragging the letters around to hear the sounds even if he/she has no idea what they mean.
Cost: USD 1.99
2. Learning Touch FirstWords: Animals: Your child will look like a genius to fellow passengers who will see them matching letters and think they can spell! Plus it’s good for the kid too.
Cost: USD 1.99
3. Shape Puzzle HD Free – Word Learning Game for Kids: Karam has suddenly gotten into these shape matching games and he really enjoys them. Great for spatial understanding and colors and prints.
The full version has lots more options but the free one has over 10 shapes that to match. More than enough given the current state of their attention spans. Plus, it’s animal kingdom!
4. Preschool 12 in 1 Kids Pack: Claims to be rates number 1 for kids on the appstore. Don’t know how to verify that but definitely a good app for preschoolers. Lots of options that will keep them engaged just bouncing between them if nothing else.
Cost: USD 1.99
5. The Cat in the Hat: Dr. Seuss LITE: For great animation, optional story-telling and of course, a super fun tale, toddlers and above will enjoy The Cat in the Hat. You can read it yourself too!
6. Farm Flip Memory Match for Kids
Remember that incredible time sink, Memory? Well it’s back, in full iPad glory. There are several options out there but this one is particularly fun for little kids who can identify their favorite farm animals. The good news: you can play too!
7. Free Baby Piano HD LITE: Cute animation over an 8 key piano encourage kids to play their own music and experiment. Flip the switch and get cute little animal sounds too. The full app is USD 1.99 but the free app seems to have enough options for short attention spans.
8. Draw: Let your little one express his/her inner picasso with draw. It’s also super fun because you can play tic-tac-toe, spell out words and email their creations for your own digital archives.
9. Talking Tom Cat: Now please note that there is nothing remotely educational about this cheeky cat but boy, is he fun! Pet him and hear him purr, punch him and knock him over, and have him repeat what you say in his squeaky feline voice. Karam is having kittens over this one. Only word of caution is not to have the volume too high on a flight, this cat ain’t soft.
Of course, you can also download videos and books if this isn’t entertainment enough. Isn’t technology wonderful!
I think these are fabulous ideas from Kaamna and will continue searching for more ideas and things to keep my bub busy during those many hours on the planes. I will be writing about that trip when it happens and am sure I will have plenty to share with you all!! Wish me luck!!:)
March 23, 2011 by Amanda Griffin-Jacob