Noah Davies just might be the most travelled toddler we’ve met so far. After being born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, at the age of 2 he has already been to 29 cities from Miami to Melbourne, Koh Samui to St Juan. (His father works in the tourism industry.) The longest he has ever stayed in one destination is 2 months (Germany and Orlando, Florida, USA). His mother, Yolade, tells us the story of this frequent flier. (And we want to meet your little frequent fliers too. To win a Gooie backpack go to the bottom of this story for details. *THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED*)
Does Noah find it unsettling to move around so much and through so many climates and time zones?
Noah is an amazing traveller. He has been flying internationally from 2 months of age (he had visited 11 countries by the age of 1). We decided once he was mobile and had grown out of the bassinet that it was worth the extra expense to book him his own seat on the plane (from 15 months old onwards). Anything to make a 21-hour journey easier and I definitely do not want an active toddler on and off my lap for that length of time.
Until the age of 18 months Noah always had a pacifier for take off and landing which helped with air pressure in the plane and to settle him when he was restless. He now uses one for nap times only.
The only time jet lag seems to affect him is when we fly from Australia back to the USA. The 14 to 16 hour time difference is hard on him and it usually takes 3 days for him to adjust. We try to fly in 3 days earlier than needed when returning to wherever my husband is working for that reason.
Moving so much forces you to consolidate and not purchase unnecessary items that are nice to have but not practical. We always travel with a small backpack of toys that are familiar to Noah as well as his lamb’s skin to sleep on.
So what is the trick to coping with jet lag and time zone changes?
Ten years of flying 3 to 4 times a year from the USA to South Africa and Australia and back prepared me for a lifetime of travel. The key is: if you land in the morning try to stay up as long as you can and try to only go to bed in the evening. Stay busy when you get there! Don't be tempted to take a nap. You will regret it when you wake up at 2am and spend hours staring at the ceiling.
Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep on a long haul flight. The on-demand movies will be there when you fly back, you do not need to watch them all! Drink plenty of water as your skin gets very dehydrated.
[For more travel tips on coping with jet lag, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
With so much movement around the world, how do you consistently find the same formula, nappies and baby stuff?
I was fortunate enough to nurse Noah until he was over a year old which eliminated the need to find formula and was a life saver on the plane for take off and landing.
Pampers and Huggies are sold worldwide so we have had no issues there either. However, it has been interesting seeing the difference in each of the brands from country to country. For example, in Australia the nappies are gender specific and more expensive. In the USA they seem to be softer (and more variations to choose from) and in Mexico the quality/absorbency is....not quite the same. In Germany we could not find either of the ones we preferred so we would drive to the Netherlands to stock up in bulk.
What is Noah being exposed to that he wouldn't learn if he just lived in one country?
I believe he is still too young to appreciate or fully understand our travels but I hope to continue to keep a travel log for him and to keep travelling with him. He definitely has an adventurous palate when it comes to food, and he is an extremely social child thanks to our travels. What I have learnt while travelling with him is that children do not need to speak the same language in order to get along. They will find a way to play together regardless of the language barrier.
Where has been your favourite place to take Noah?
Venice because it is where my husband and I got engaged so it was fantastic returning there with Noah and revisiting some areas.
Also Namibia was special to us as that is here I was born and it was amazing watching Noah's face light up when he saw the animals in Etosha National Park.
Is there any place you've travelled to with Noah that wasn't suitable for children?
It is up to the parent but you can make any situation suitable. There might be a few hotels I would not go back to as they definitely catered more to adults that children and we received some odd looks from other guests when checking in, but otherwise no.
Do you have any plans to settle down to a more permanent home in the future?
Hopefully our travels will slow down a little when Noah is at school age. I would prefer not to home school him but, rather, have him attend a school in either the USA or Australia. We feel it is so important for his social skills to be in a school setting.
Will you encourage Noah to continue his travels when he is older?
Definitely. It is eye opening to see how other cultures and people live and interact. There are so many beautiful places to discover and you never truly appreciate what you have or where you have been unless you travel.
To read about other permanent travelling families, see the suitcases&strollers stories The Permanent Travellers Part I, The Permanent Travellers Part 2, The Permanent Travellers Part 3 and The Permanent Travellers Part 4
suitcases&strollers wants to meet your little jetsetters too. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your best pics of kids travelling. The most inspirational will win a Gooie backpack thanks to our friends at fab children’s travel accessories online store Haggus and Stookles. *THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED*
Terms & Conditions: The winner gets one Gooie backpack. Prize includes postage.
Photographs submitted must be your own and either of your own children or of children whose parents have consented to their inclusion in the competition.
But submitting photographs for this competition, you will be giving consent to suitcases&strollers to use the images for promotional purposes on the suitcases&strollers website, Facebook page, Pinterest account, email newsletter and other affiliated marketing associated with the competition.
It is suitcases&strollers’ sole decision as to the winners. suitcases&strollers may require evidence or confirmation of eligibility from entrants before awarding prizes. All prizes must be claimed within 21 days of our notification of winning by email response unless otherwise stated. If a prize is not claimed within this period suitcases&strollers reserves the right to select an alternative prize-winner or not award the prize at all.
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Competition closes midnight Singapore time on 3 September 2013.