Traveling with kids can be, well... terrible. Imagine having three kids under the age of 3 and constant traveling, and you might have an inkling what life is like for Zoe Saldana. While doing press for her partnership with All Nippon Airways, Saldana shared some very useful travel tips for parents flying with toddlers. Now, it’s true that Saldana probably gets better seats than most of us do on planes, but she’s still a mom and no matter what section of the plane they're on, kids are kids.
The jet-setting actress and hubby Marco Perego Saldana have three children under the age of 3: their 2-year-old twins, Cy and Bowie, and the newest addition to the family, baby Zen. So we think she most definitely knows a thing or three about traveling with young children that we could probably learn.
Through trial and error, the couple has figured out what works best when the whole family is traveling by plane and her tips are pretty darn useful, as you'll see.
1. Timing is EVERYTHING.
You might think that taking a flight at night would be your best option, but late flights aren't so great with toddlers. Saldana noticed that those flights disrupted her kids' sleep schedule and kept them up, so they've changed their travel schedule.
“One thing we’ve learned is if we take an afternoon flight, it’s easier for us because then they get to be awake and blow off all this energy and then they naturally get tired,” Saldana, told PEOPLE. “If we take a 3 or 4 p.m. flight, they play, they eat, they get tired, we put them to sleep and then we’re also able to indulge in a little glass of champagne, read a little, watch a movie, it’s great." Champagne for the WIN!
2. Bring snacks.
If you're one of those parents blessed to have toddlers that will eat anything, then get on out of here. The rest of us understand why Saldana doesn't pack light when it comes to kid-approved snacks.
“We pack snacks because kids tend to be very particular with their eating and they’re creatures of habit—that way you always have something to fall back on in case they don’t want the meals that are being served,” she says.
3. Let them move.
Kids aren't designed to sit still, and it's pretty unreasonable to expect them to do so for extended periods of time. Saldana suggests letting "them walk whenever the seat-belt sign is not on." Of course, she's not suggesting you let them run up and down the aisles or anything. Just let them move and interact with the flight attendants so they don't lose their little freakin' minds.
4. Keep them entertained.
This one might sound like a no-brainer, but chances are your kids aren't going to enjoy reading the in-flight magazine. Do like Saldana and family by packing individual backpacks with coloring books and their favorite toys. Let them use headphones and electronic devices for whatever amount of time you feel comfortable with.
5. Remember that kids are NOT a nuisance no matter how much side-eye you get from other passengers.
“We’re looking down at children and we’re seeing children as a nuisance,” she says. “You know when you go to restaurants or you go to a lounge and you’re waiting with your child for your flight, if your child is being rambunctious and being themselves, it disrupts others when, in reality, it shouldn't.”
Truer words were never spoken.
Follow these tips and find what works best for your family when traveling. Don't let the stigma of traveling with kids keep you from sharing the world with your kids. After all, how will children learn to behave in public or while traveling, if we never take them anywhere?