I did my first trip with my 6 month old child to Thailand. My next trip was to Seychelles when she was 1.5 years old. Later I travelled to Pench, Kanha, Kovalam and several other places with 2 small children.
It may sound like a lot of work but it’s not if you have decided you want to travel with your little one and have done some pre planning.
If you have 2 or more children of similar age group, travelling might be easier than travelling with one child. Irrespective, the strategy is more or less the same. You will have to break the trip into smaller parts. First part is keeping kids engaged at the airport before catching the flight. Second part is to plan how to manage them in the flight (most difficult thing to do as kids are stuck at one place). The third part is managing them at the destination. You will have to find answers to each of these.
I observed during my various trips that kids were very happy at the airport. There is a lot of open space and get to run. You could consider assigning one parent to manage the airport formalities and other parent to take care of the kids. It’s better to let them have fun rather than ask them to hold your hand and stand quietly. Treat the airport like a play area under supervision of one parent. There will be ample such open spaces till you get on the flight.
From my experience, managing kids in the flight is the most difficult part. For this part, carry your kid’s favorite toy, their favorite food, juice etc. I remember one of my kids was fond of the game in which you have to get fish out using a fishing rod. My wife found a pocket version of this game at some shop. She would give it to my children in the flight. Sorted for 15 minutes. Then comes the food tray which will take care of 20 minutes of their time. It’s not easy here if you have the feed the child. But remember once the tummy is full, children tend to become more naughty. They may start playing which some aunty in front of them. That will give you few minutes of breathing space. Give them their favorite drink or some chocolates to further keep them engaged before you land. You could even tell them a story (if you have energy left) for their age to keep them engrossed.
The above works for short duration flight. For longer duration go with a night flight so than children can sleep. My brother once told me book an early morning flight even for domestic when travelling with kids. It might be easy to travel if they sleep in the flight.
Once you land at the destination, things begin to ease. They get more space at their hotel and will throw less tantrums. You may have to manage their lunch and dinner while at the destination. If you kid prefers a particular food or a particular food to be cooked in a particular way, don’t feel shy to tell the chef. My sister is an expert at this. According to her if kids are stuffed, parents feel relaxed (or should I say mothers). Use the drawing book, color pencils to keep them busy in the room. When they sleep, you can get some me time or couple time. Try to do different activities or visit nearby places as children get bored with same stuff. They like variety. If at the beach, let them play with sand. Carry their sand toys.
The above thoughts are from my own personal experience and with every trip, things got easier as we applied the learnings from previous trips. Hope this helps you and you can get the more out of your holiday when travelling with your little ones.