Seeking Advice on International Travel with Twins

Updated on July 10, 2008
R.S. asks from Valley Village, CA
12 answers

We will be traveling to Germany in November to visit my husbands parents. Our fraternal twin girls are 6 months now. They will be 10 months old when we go. Any tips and advice for the air travel, how to do we buy seats for them or not? I hear on the international flights they have the crib beds in the front row of each cabin of the plane..but only one crib bed per two seats..any advice is greatly appreciated.

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answers from Honolulu on

Hi R.!
I would like to give you some advice as I have traveled over the years with 6-8 of my own children and travel back then was way different than now. Please remember that your packing for the babies must not include any liquids through the check in. Thats a tough one as we feed baby bottles. Just have the powdered ones in place and buy water the minute you go through the gate. Also, any lotions, potions or baby liquids will be dumped. No passes.

Also, get some goodies for the babies to eat so that they can be chewing/ or sucking bottle while flying...avoid ear aches. No need to bring car seats just arrange w/rentals to have them, also strollers are rented usually at almost all stores. Just the basic necessities. I even just run into a store to buy more pampers and foods. Just take the bare minimal. Carrying babies will be a chore in itself. 2!!! WHew!

Then bathe your time in much prayer and all will be well. Good luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

Buy them each their own seats. I traveled with my daughter at a young age, long flights with her own seat, short flights on my lap. The longer flights when she had her own seat were by far easier.

Leave the car seats in the car. Dragging one car seat through an airport is a nightmare, I can't imagine two. You can ask your family in Germany to look into renting carseats for you while you are there.

I haven't heard of crib beds on international flights. I would call the airline and ask about that. Maybe for first class?




answers from Los Angeles on

I have flown several times with my daughter to Sweden. She is now 5 but her first trip was at 4 months. I am not sure you will get bassinets for your twins, they may be too big. But check with the airlines. I can recommend a Pacifier or a bottle with juice to protect ears from popping during take-off and landing. My flights have been pretty smooth and I always let her walk/crawl around in the isles when possible. After they turn two it becomes more pricy to fly. At that time you have to buy seats for them. In November it shouldn't be a full plane but if it is you have to have the kids in your lap (unless you buy seats). That would be an awfully long trip......anyway, I hope my rambling =) has helped a bit.
Take care and good luck!




answers from San Diego on

Though we don't have twins, we have traveled with our daughter on the plane and it wasn't as bad as you would think. Our daughter slept for most of the trip. We took our car seat, which she liked because it had that familiar smell and comfort. We did pay for the extra seat, but it was worth it. Using miles is great too if you can.

We just got back from the UK, and that trip was pretty easy on most of the folks that had little ones. Our daughter is now 4, so she's a lot easier to deal with...but there were TONS of folks on board with babies, and they just walked the plane and fed them as normal and the babies were quite content. I didn't see any issues at all, nor did we experience any in our earlier years of travel with our daughter.

I'm sorry to say, I know nothing of the crib bed. Though, the car seat was our savior...our daughter loved it and had her blanket, and her stuffed animal, and was quite content...and every time she fussed, we gave her a bottle which did the trick. Just make sure you have a bottle or pacifier set aside for the landing part...they'll want to suck on that to help their ears. Good luck!

Cheers, C.



answers from Phoenix on

i recently flew internationally with my 8 month old. yes, you should request the bulk head seat with cribs, i assume most international flights have them. and the plane will most likely be a large one which should have a middle row of 4 seats with 2 cribs (on ours there was). also request an infant tray, they will bring you a few jars of food and juice, which is nice although i brought my own anyway. they probably don't need their own seat unless you are bringing a car seat to carry on anyway. they should sleep most the flight but i would also bring a favorite toy and a new something interesting to occupy them.



answers from Las Vegas on

hi R.,i have traveled a lot with my son in 21+international flights, when he was only 4 months old 7 months and then again 11/2 years and o on , now iam planning to travel again with two kids soon...
yes they have the bassinet in the front row but then they have a wt limit for that may be 25 lbs or so you have to check for thatt, the centre aisle has two of them i guess if no one else is is there with a baby you can have both of them... some airlines also offer baby seats for kids,you can ask or check the airlines you are travelling with.. i never took a carseat with me as i cant afford another big item to carry with me in transit stops.. if you have stops in between then take a double stroller with you and gate check that, bring thier favourite snacks,toys,diapers medicines whatever is neccasery with you you can need anything in the flight... however i dont think germany is too far that would be hardly 10hours flight i guess....if you have you husband or any other adult with you that would be easy .



answers from Los Angeles on

Good for you! I'm a big proponent of traveling, and the earlier you start with the kids, the easier it will be. We took our twins to Europe for a ski holiday when they were 9 mos. It was a challenge, but I'm really glad I did it. THey are 5 now and we have taken them every year (except when they were 1 1/2, my husband talked me out of it and I regretted it!).

This is what I recommend....
1. Buy them seats (at least 1). We did not. On the way, it was fine, but on the way back we had to hold them and it was miserable. If you can get the bulkhead, that is great, but the flights we have had would not guarantee it. You should check into it though. If you can get one babybed, consider bringing one car seat onboard and put it in the 3rd purchased seat. This way one can sleep in the car seat and one can sleep on the baby bed. They dont' allow them to sleep on the floor, and you'll want to get sleep too. Also, if you don't buy an extra seat, they could end up separating you due to not enough oxygen masks. Which is also difficult.

2. For transporting -- I stopped taking our double stroller with us on trips after the first trip. It is heavy, hard to maneuver and they often won't let you bring it on board, and alot of airports won't let you retrieve it as you get off the airplane. Instead, I bought two umbrella strollers (that reclined at least a little bit). Then I bought the stroller connecters. This way you can stroll them together or separately -- plus you can bring the strollers on board. It gives you more flexibility, and you won't worry about how damaged your stroller is getting b/c it costs you $50 instead of the $500 double stroller.
3. Allow PLENTY of time in the airport. You don't want to have to rush. Take your time going through security etc. Don't let other people fluster you. If you keep your cool, the babies will too. If they cry, they cry. If you feel anxious, they'll only cry longer.
4. Bring tylenol, motrin or whatever you use. Mine got a cold while we were there and they didn't sell the baby version of what we use... they only had suppositories!
5. Bring a portable DVD player with Baby Einstein or whatever they like to watch. It will be invaluable on the plane.
6. Not sure of regulations these days, but I used to bring plenty of snacks and I would bring 4 bottles, so if there wasn't a place to clean the bottles, I had a spare. I put formula powder in the bottles in advance, so all I had to do was add water. I also brought a small size liquid dishwashing soap (again, make sure it can go through security!) I used it to clean the bottles wherever we were.
7. We brought 2 diaper bags. One had food/bottles/toys/ bibs/blankets. The other had extra clothes/diapers/ wipes/rash/medication. This made it easier to divide and conquer diapering and feeding duties with my husband. I always had 3 or 4 brand new toys that they had not seen before to help keep them occupied, though they were often entertained by a foil packet of peanuts. :)
8. For Clothing -- Layering works best. This way if there is a blow out, you are still left with an extra layer (hopefully), plus I packed 1 NIGHTTIME diaper for every 3 hours -- not needed, but just in case. I also packed 1 extra outfit each. Something small and compact - like a cotton feety pj. You can always use the blankie for warmth.
9. I gave a bottle at take off and landing to help with pressure in the ears, but we never had a problem.
10. Packing for the trip -- don't bring formula, food, or diapers. You can buy them, and they only take up space. Just plan to buy them when you arrive.
11. I brought one outfit per day and my kids both spit up and drooled alot, so I brought two bibs per day, burp clothes etc. But we had no laundry options, so you may not need to bring so much.
12. If you don't have a baby bed for them where you are going, consider an oversized cardboard box to pack their clothes in and they can sleep in it too (if they aren't crawling yet). I know that sounds crazy, but we were going to a remote location and it worked very well for us.
13. I don't recommend renting car seats b/c they were always a pain. It was easier to buy the roller bags to put the car seats in. You can loop the handles to the stroller or wear them as a back pack. Plus they're great for stuffing extra things into if you go over your luggage weight on the way home.

I think that's the big stuff, but if you have any other questions please don't hesitate to contact me. Have fun!
I know the first trip was hard getting ready b/c I was afraid I would forget something, but every other trip has gotten easier and easier.

Have Fun!

PS -- I just saw Liz's comment about the front pack -- yes, we brought ours too on that first trip. It came in V. handy when we were changing planes and had to go outside and ride a tram to a small plane. (Not sure if you will have to do that.) But it's a good idea to have them, so your hands are free.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, We flew to Germany with our 4 month old son two years ago. And we've flown with him about 15 times since then so I feel pretty qualified to talk about traveling with kids. Of course, we only had one kiddo so that's a bit different, AND we flew with both my mom and my husband's mom. So, my first suggestion is...can anyone go with you to help? It would obviously make the trip a little easier if there are extra hands on deck. Also, traveling with a 4 month old is very different than a 10 month old. If they happen to be walking by then (hopefully not) :) then be prepared to take isle strolls whenever possible. If they happen to be watching any type of movie or show, then it will help to bring a portable dvd player and movies. For my son, who is now 2, it doesn't even matter if he can hear it he just likes looking at certain shows and that will buy you a good 20 minutes or so of peace every hour or so. Another suggestion is, bring new toys...bring some things they haven't seen before that might keep them occupied and in their seats for a bit. Bring LOTS of snacks and drinks for them, extra clothes, etc. It might make sense to buy one extra seat just to have the space because if you can afford it, you might not want to have both of them on your laps the entire time. If you can afford to buy two extra seats then go for it...that way they could be in their car seats which would make playing, eating, and sleeping so much easier. Another note about the crib seats...they don't exist, at least on continental. And we found that they were not accommodating at all to put parents there, even when we asked. They are just seats with a little more leg room and they go to handicapped people first and then if they're available they weren't very willing to help us switch anyway. If you are able to get those rows then you might be able to put a big blanket down and have the girls play at your feet but even then, you never know if the flight attendants will let you. If I were you, I wouldn't count on that, just expect them to be in your seats (or an extra one if you buy it) the whole time. Last thing...I also brought the boppy on the plane with us and it was much easier for him to sleep that way then to have to hold him in my arms the whole time. GOOD LUCK!!



answers from Las Vegas on

Depending on which airline you travel, you may have the possibility of getting two travel cots in front of your seats. Normally these seats are located in the bulk head, which gives you the space you need. Call the airlines before to see what services they provide and to reserve the cots ahead of time. I doubt they will let you buy a seat for the girls as they will only be 10 months old. Unless you bring along an approved car seat that can be fastened into the airplane seat...but in that case, they will not give you the bulk head seat. When you arrive at the airport, remind them you have infants and make sure you are one of the first people to board the plane. This will give you time to set up the cots and organize yourselves.
What to bring: Make sure you bring the equilvalent of one diaper/per hour of your flight. You never know what will happen! Believe me, I went through 4 diapers in a matter of 1.5 hours one time. Bring a change of clothing for the girls and maybe a shirt for never know when your children might decide to share some of their meal. Bring a plastic zip lock bag to place the soiled clothes don't want to smell those items during a long flight.
Keep your children on their will help them adjust to the flight.
During take-off and landing, breastfeed, give a bottle or pacifier to help combat the cabin pressure change, which bothers children's ears.
Bring whatever food, formula, water you want to give your children. Bring their special blanket, stuffed animal, etc to make them comfortable.
If the kids are bored, walk around with them...they will love looking at all the people!
Finally, never hesitate to ask the airline attendants for anything. They are there to help you...although at times you think you were asking the world of them!
Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, I live in Germany right now and my folks are in LA, so I know all about those 11 hour flights. The crib things in the front row may be too small for your kids by that time, the limit is 8 kilos or about 18 pounds. I forget the length. They're not so great anyway. It's just a piece of fabric like a cot, stretched over a metal frame that hooks into the wall right infront of you. It does take em off your lap, if they happen to fall asleep, but I must say I didn't get much use out of mine on that trip. The trip is a killer anyway you look at it, so don't be too disappointed if your kids are too big for those cots. There are a few tricks you can keep up your sleeve. Bring lots of snacks and toys and spare clothes. They're bound to spill a drink on themsleves in that air condintioning and catch a cold, or pee everywhere. Bring ear plugs in case they hate the white noise of the plane, sometimes it's really loud in the bathroom. Avoid toys with lots of little pieces for you to lose. Don't forget you're not allowed to bring drinks (any liquids) unless it's less than 100 ml and seperately packed in a ziplock baggie. Or unless it's a sealed jar of baby food. The airline is good about giving you plenty of juice and water and heating things up for you though. Give them something to drink or at least suck on during take off and landing for their ears. And remember it is a real strain on you! Get some sleep before hand and bring a few tylenol for yourself in case you get in a rage or lose your temper. You're lucky to be travelling with your husband. It's a real juggle getting around an airport with all that stuff. If you have to change planes and you have a double stroller, you may not get it back for the transfer since it's in with all the luggage. If this is unimaginable for you, go out and buy 2 little foldable ones that will fit in the airplane closet. I can't tell you how happy I was with my cheap little travel stroller when I caught the stewardess telling the family in front of me the bad news about their enormous stroller. You don't need any baby seats to fly, but if you're driving anywhere from the airport, you'll need one when you land. But I'm sure your in-laws can take care of that for you. Make sure you tell them how big your kids are so they get the right size. Have a nice trip!



answers from Los Angeles on

Dear R.,

I traveled with my baby when she was 4.5 month from USA to Switzerland. Preparation is the key. A few suggestions: Check with your airline first what their requirements are. Not all overseas flights have the cribs, some require you have your baby in the car seat. Check on options and prices with more than one airline, if you haven't bought the tickets yet.
Then, have enough food for them with you. They need to suck on something for the take off and the landing to equalize the pressure build up in their ears or they will scream of pain. Some of the things a 10 months old can have: pacifier, bottle, zippy cup that doesn't spill, maybe small crackers, etc. You know your twin girls best and what they can or cannot put in their mouth. Have lots of quiet toys with you to keep them busy while they are awake. I made a felt board where my daughter could put pictures up, we talked very quitely and made up stories. That was a great pass time. She flew the first time at 4.5 months and many times thereafter. Since I believe you will have your husband with you, he will need to help you out too to make this trip good for you and ann the other passengers.
Try to get a direct flight, as changing airplanes with babies is difficult, takes more time and puts on more stress. It's best to releave all that stress up front by being totally prepared.
If you bottle feed, you can get water from the Stewardess, just take the formula with you. Make sure to follow all requirements of that airline you choose and the Airport requirements, so you can avoid any unpleasantries when traveling.
Good luck and enjoy! If you want more info or feedback, feel free to contact me.

A little about me:
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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi I am a military wife that lives in Germany and I travel back home to LA fairly often with my 16 month old son. They do have bassinets, you MUST speak to a person to ensure you get at least the one. I was supposed to have it while traveling alone and they gave my seat to a family who had NO infants-or kids under 7 for that matter, and my son spent 11 hrs. on my chest in my front pack thing-DONT do that to yourself. I would buy at least one seat for them because it will make feeding easier they can take turns to have different scenery etc. If they're teething, I would suggest possibly bringing a a little childrens benadryl to help them sleep and also get them adjusted to the time difference, 9hrs. is a big jump and you dont wanna spend the first 4 days trying to get them adjusted- you will adjust easier than the kids-trust me. If you have the baby carriers that you wear -like a front pack, I would advise bringing those as well because you can only go so far with the strollers and kids get heavy after awhile. If you have any other questions or if there is any advice or tips I could give you please ask.

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