Traveling With Young Kids and Babies!

I am preparing for a solo flight with the girls and that has caused me to take note of how I prepare for a flight with all three of them. I get asked for travel ideas a lot, so I thought this was a good time to share! We have a lot of air and car travel experience with the girls, so I have some tricks up my sleeve going into it. I notice a lot of people are nervous or even scared to travel with young children- probably because we have all been on a flight with THAT KID! My thought is, don’t be scared…be prepared! I would be lying if I said a flight alone with the 3 girls isn’t tricky- the logistics of getting the bags packed and on the plane and getting all 4 of us through check in, security, loaded on the plane, loaded off the plane, getting bags, me going potty, taking all 3 of them to potty, the dirty diaper on the plane (they do not usually have changing tables- so it is usually a lap change and delightful for those around us if it is #2!), getting to the car, etc… it is serious stuff! So here are some ideas for you based on how I prepare and what I do on the flight! I am probably over the top on this- but I think it pays off!

Preparing for the Flight:

  1. When booking the flight, pay attention to the times and if possible do not book during a time when you know they will be fussy.
  2. Go shopping! Get all the good snacks (I like individually packed snacks- that they usually don’t get)- I avoid bright orange, most chocolate, anything sticky and liquid for messy reasons. If you have a baby, you can bring baby food- you might call ahead and confirm the size of container- every airport is different. Some airports get sticky on water bottles or sippy cups- unless you have formula to mix they wont let you take it on. Others let you take literally anything on! Get a few “illegal” snacks- and keep them a secret. For us, the girls never get Ring Pops and always want them- I do not tell them I have them- it is my emergency plan. I like the vitamin C cough drops for kids to suck on during take off- or gum is fine too.
  3. New New New- download a new iPad game, purchase a new movie, a new coloring book and colors, etc.. DO NOT let them play with any of this ahead of time- it is best if new and exciting!
  4. If you are potty training or they are newly potty trained- put them in a pull-up. It never fails they have to potty when the seat belt sign is on. If they have an accident..well, you understand!
  5. Place Pj’s at the top of your suit case if traveling at bed time- this way you don’t have to dig through a bag to find them when you are trying to get settled and get them to bed. For those that think traveling in pj’s is a good idea…just think through putting them to bed in clothing that has been on an airplane, in an airport bathroom, etc… same goes with blankets- we don’t take them on the plane unless there is a washing machine where we are going- they always drop them on the floor.
  6. Get cash in small bills- tip for check at the curb, tip for a skycap to help with the luggage, etc..
  7. Make copies of birth certificates- sometimes they ask, sometimes they don’t. Make sure to just take a copy, not the origional- I have accidentally thrown them away with my other airport trash before.
  8. Other things to remember: grocery sacks or Ziplock bags for trash or diapers on the plane, I let the girls pack their own snack bag (see picture below) and keep their own LIMITED items in their backpacks (age 4+), wear shoes that easily slip on and off, wear or bring socks for the kids- it can get chilly on the plane and either layer or have them wear long sleeves, for babies- a change of clothes (in case of blow out), charge your electronics and bring your chargers, download movies so you don’t have to bring the movies with you, hand sanitizing wipes, label everything- bags, important carry on items, etc.. just in case!
  9. Finally, limit yourself! I try for one SMALL backpack for the older girls, one bag for me and the baby and 2 checked bags! (obviously the length of trip and location can change that) Try to secure as many items as possible at your destination- carseats, etc.. most things can be rented.

On The Flight:

  1. Ears: For babies, give a bottle or nurse during take off. It will avoid the ears popping and they will be nice and happy for the flight! For older kids, I let them chew gum (if of age), suck on a cough drop, or suck on a piece of hard candy.
  2. Potty BEFORE the plane- it is not easy to use the bathroom or help a child use the bathroom on a plane- it just isn’t!
  3. Wipes: I make sure to pack a lot of wipes. We use them as we are waiting for people to be seated and the “you may now use your approved electronics” announcement- they girls go crazy wiping down their areas- tray tables, seats, arm rests, windows, etc.. they love it! This is a time when those grocery bags or ziplock bags come in handy- I start a trash sack and use it during the flight and hand all of the trash at once to the attendant.
  4. Activities: coloring, movies, games, iPad or iPod- whatever is new, fun and can fit in a small packing space! Snacks are a big deal too- see above!
  5. First Flight: If it is your child’s first flight some airlines have a little certificate and wings or something- ask the flight attendant!
  6. Respect: We have all sat around the kids who kick your chair, talk too loud, scream, run up and down the aisle, pull your hair, etc… I try my hardest to teach the girls respect during flights. We stay seated with seat belts on and practice controlling our bodies on the plane. For the 12-24 month old, this is a hard lesson- they want to RUN!

Finally, relax and allow yourself time..not too much time where you are waiting at the gate for 2 hours- but enough time to slowly get through security and get to the gate. Everyone around you either has a child or has been one at some point- you will get “the look” at times- but just focus on doing the best you can do and ignore those people- you will not likely see them again!

Here is a note to people who are NOT traveling with children: WE NEED HELP!! There is no airport blessing like the person who helps get your bags through security, or helps one child get soap in the restroom while the other one is still on the pot, who lets you cut in the security line, who helps you fold the stroller to check it under the plane, who helps you load or unload your bags in the overhead compartment, who is willing to keep an eye on one child while you run the other one to the restroom (this is ON PLANE ONLY- not at airport), who blesses you with words like “they did so good” or “I didn’t even know there were kids on the plane”, they help get your bags off of the belt at baggage claim- it is amazing. It is also amazing to me how many people do NONE of this- look for opportunities to serve parents at airports- they really do need it! Thank you! 🙂

Finally, here are some of my favorite products for flying!

{Here are the girls snack bags for our flight- they each get their own with pre-aproved items and they are SO excited to get them out once they are on the plane! We are taking: Pirate Booty, Goldfish, 1 Reece’s PB Cup, cheddar crackers, rice crispy treat, protein bar, and a few other hidden snacks! 🙂 They will not eat all of this- but it is nice to have it put together when you get to your destination. NOTE: avoid things that “smush” like Nutragrain Bars! }

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