Transatlantic travel with kids is certainly not everyone’s idea of fun, and something that I was quite dubious about myself when I found out my husband had booked to take us to New York City with our 3 year old daughter in tow to celebrate my 30thbirthday.

Now, we’ve been to New York countless times as childless adults and our daughter by the age of 3 years old was quite the seasoned traveller, but long-haul flying was a first for us with her in tow!

However, we couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised with how well she coped, was occupied and even managed to sleep for a brief spell on the way out! (We flew at 1pm UK time and landed in the evening in New York.)

We packed a barrage of snacks, colouring books, ‘new toys’ (small figures etc from Poundland) to capture her interest and keep her attention and keep her occupied and the time actually flew!

In truth, jet lag is a killer whatever age you are and whilst we may have arrived at our hotel in the centre of Manhattan at almost 11pm (US Time) excitement was at an all time fever-pitch and we were able to get her to sleep shortly after 11.30pm, but she arose ready to start the day in the city that never sleeps at a breezy 4am. (Just a note – the city does sleep and most Starbucks don’t open until 6am so prepare yourself for that!)

The main takeaways I would advocate when taking a child to New York is to no matter how old they are, take a stroller! (The airline actually lost ours on the way out and we had to buy one from Costco for our first day until ours was delivered) as adults, even on our own on previous trips we were averaging around 25k steps a day and there’s no way little legs will be able to withstand that level of intense pavement pounding!

Also, as with any holiday with kids, chuck the routine out of the window! Especially when you are in one of the most sensory stimulating cities in the world!

Our daughter hadn’t napped for a year and a half prior to our trip but with jet lag, sensory overload and being on the go constantly, she would fall asleep for around 2 hours most days (extra hint – utilise this nap time for your shopping trips! We took a detour to 5th Avenue as soon as her eyes were closed!)

Whether you’re a seasoned visitor to NYC or it’s your first time and you have your child/children in tow – you’d be surprised how child friendly the entire trip is!

New Yorkers are super accommodating to children, to families and no-one bats an eyelid when you have a child in tow!

Every sight we saw, every high end restaurant (can’t recommend Gaonnuri enough for incredible food and amazing views!) we visited welcomed and accommodated the smallest member of our party beautifully! (Extra shoutout to Ellen’s Stardust Diner for performing some Disney classics and getting our girl involved as we ate and enjoyed the performances!)

We were able to enjoy a healthy balance of shopping, sight-seeing and some particularly child-centred activities (the Bronx Zoo, Seaglass Carousel, Disney Store, museums,  Central Park and the children’s playgrounds in America are next level!)

For a family-friendly sight-seeing sensory experience I can’t recommend ‘The Edge’ enough – our fearless sightseer loved the glass bottomed view of the busy streets down below as well as the sensory walkthrough prior to the viewing deck, and as it’s situated on top of a shopping mall, we visited the toy shop on lower floors – which had its own sensory room, interactive floor and climbing frame, so as we shopped, she played!)

Whilst the idea of transatlantic travel with a toddler to busy city is a pretty daunting idea in essence, the reality is actually very very different and we all had the best time!

New York is a such a beautiful, busy, interactive and exciting city, no matter how old you are!