On Wednesday, July 24th, 2013, we began our adventure to the best family vacation! And we had friends, Ann Ming and Kevin Chao, that were crazy enough to come with us from California to Australia, with a 22-month old as well. Yes, two toddlers and two sets of crazy parents. Best trip ever!!!!! And by the way, we've definitely found our future travel buddies =)
|Here we go! A suitcase and a carry-on bag for each of us, plus a stroller, carseat, and one bonus bag (more about this later).|
|We heart Qantas Airlines.|
|"Zaydee, we're going to sleep on the plane! Isn't that fun???" (repeated many times in the days before our trip to prepare for our red-eye flight)|
|Zaydee meeting her soon-to-be new best friend, Rowan (aka Ro-Ro), in the airport check-in line.|
|Waiting in the terminal and checking out our plane from the window.|
1) Like we mentioned earlier, buy a ticket for your under-2 year old child. 15 hours is such a long flight that you and your child need the extra space. Space to sit, space to play, space to eat, space to stretch, space to move... later in our trip, we had a few flights that were only 2-3 hours, so for those we didn't buy seats for the kids.
2) Know your child's sleep tendencies. For us, we knew Zaydee would sleep best in her carseat because she does that on long car rides, so we cleared it with Qantas before our trip. At home, she falls asleep in her crib by herself, so she is not used to us being around. If we didn't bring the carseat, there would be no way Zaydee would just cuddle to sleep or lay down on us. It's just not how Zaydee works. However for Ro Ro, Ann Ming and Kevin knew that he could fall asleep anywhere as long as they cuddled with him. So he just slept horizontally on the seat between them on the flight and they didn't need a carseat.
3) Before the trip, start shifting your child's sleep schedule closer to the destination time zone to help with jet lag. For example, we knew Australia was 17 hours ahead, or for us we just counted 7 hours back, i.e. if your child normally sleeps at 8pm in California = 8pm minus 7 hours = haha, bedtime is going to be at 1pm in Australia! So both of our families started shifting our child's sleeptime back at least a week before our trip, about a half hour each day. Zaydee was sleeping at midnight the last day before our Australia trip = 12am minus 7 hours = 5pm in Australia - not too bad! Shift before the trip and then when you get to your destination, shift a little bit more, then you're good. During our trip, Zaydee went to sleep at about 7pm each night, which is only shifting 2 more hours = no real jet lag on the trip! Of course, it may not be so easy if you fly somewhere that is exactly 12 hours difference, but California to Australia is actually pretty doable.
4) Test out Benadryl sometime before the trip if you are not against using it. Ro Ro never needed it because he is able to sleep anywhere, but for Zaydee, she's a resister and we needed to have some "help" to promote sleep. A few days before our trip, we gave her Benadryl an hour before bedtime to see her reaction. You must test Benadryl because some kids get the reverse reaction and become super hyper (not the reaction you want on a red-eye flight for 15 hours!!!). Zaydee didn't get obviously drowsy, but she didn't get hyper either. She just started getting ... clumsy?
5) Pack a "bonus bag." I mentioned this earlier in our first photo. The bonus bag is a carry-on that has everything you can bring to distract and entertain your child. It is the emergency bag. It is the lifesaver. It is the key to avoiding tantrums bag. What's in the bonus bag? Well, it depends on your kid. For Ro Ro, he just needs his toy cars and he can play with them FOR HOURS. Driving them, lining them up, turning them, stacking them. In the plane, in the restaurant, in the hotel room, in line... Ro Ro is a happy camper when he has his "Tsuh Tsuh." Zaydee... on the other hand, has a one-minute attention span. So our bonus bag had stickers, books, crayons, watercolor, wikki stix, play-doh, glow sticks, etch-a-sketch, containers to open, q tips, felt figurines, I think you get the idea. And of course, her favorite snacks. Oh... and James downloaded lots of kid-friendly apps for the iPad, which she had never used prior to this trip, but were part of the super-duper-backup-plan-in-case-of-a-zero-hours-of-sleep-toddler. Bonus bag. And don't forget that extra change of clothes. You never know when you might need it. Ro Ro had a poop explosion =)
6) Book a red-eye flight that arrives in the morning (again to help with jetlag). Our flight was at 10:10pm at night, so that meant settle on the plane, play a bit, eat, play some more, and then it's midnight, or when she had been going to bed the past few days. Tired and ready and a dose of Benadryl, and for Zaydee she sleeps with her special blankets, stuffed animal, and lullaby music, so our pre-tested headphones on, and...
|"Please don't wake up, please don't wake up, please don't wake up, please don't wake up."|
|The Chao Family's "That Wasn't So Bad" picture!|
|The Yu Family's "We Survived the Plane Ride" picture!|
|Ro Ro = "I love to cuddle with mama and play with my cars."|
|Zaydee = "GET ME OUT OF THE ERGO!!! (for those of you that don't know, the ergo is the carrier we use. Zaydee is generally more hot all the time, so we just become a sweaty mess everytime we use the ergo).|
|Our luggage. As compared to...|
|Their luggage. Are you kidding?! 2 Suitcases, 2 Carry-ons, Carseat, and Stroller (3 less items than us).|
Day 0, or the travel day, to Australia completed! We actually "lost" Thursday, the 25th of July, and arrived at 6am on Friday, the 26th of July. Actually, after customs and getting luggage and taking a 30 minute taxi to our hotel in Circular Quay, it was already 9am. So tired... but wanting to stay awake to adjust for the jet lag! Oh and probably tired because James and I can't resist watching movie after movie on plane rides, therefore, not sleeping. Haha, it's part of the fun of traveling, right?
|All the fancier photos like this one are courtesy of our travel buddy, Kevin!|
On to our official first day in Sydney.....