a few years back i blogged about flying with little ones and also traveling abroad with little ones. questions around these topics are asked often in emails and my comment sections, so i thought since those posts seem to be pretty buried and we’ve learned a few new things since, that i might share a bit about it again, borrowing from those posts and adding a couple more things we’ve picked up since then.
on traveling on planes with kids:
– when booking your trip, try to find a flight that works well with your kids’ schedule. for example, if you can find a flight during your child’s usual nap time, SCORE! we tend to love the red eye flights especially with our kids because they sleep through them no matter what! and a sleeping baby on a plane is well worth your own neck ache or zombie walk the following day (in our opinion. although truth be told my body is maybe telling me these days i won’t be able to get away with that trick much longer.)
– if you’re traveling with a stroller, check it at the gate so you can use it throughout the airport (don’t check it with your bags). if your stroller doesn’t come with a stroller bag, bring a few extra large heavy duty black garbage bags to wrap it in at the door of the plane (after you walk down the ramp) to protect it from getting hurt or dirty when stored under the plane. make sure to get your tags to attach to your stroller or garbage bags before leaving it at the door of the plane.
– once you get the gate, be sure to go up and check in straight away. they will give you tags for your stroller if you have one and also help you board the plane first which is helpful so you can get situated before all hell breaks loose (just kidding). but seriously, probably the best perk to flying with kids is getting to board early!
– if you’re traveling with a baby, nurse or bottle feed or give them a pacifier during take-off and landing. on our last flight, my ears were definitely feeling the pressure. i can take it but i was worried about how conrad’s ears must have felt if i was feeling it so much. he seemed to do alright though through nursing. that constant sucking and swallowing motion can help with the plane changing pressure considerably. (for toddlers, you can give them something to eat during this time so they are also chewing.)
– if you’re traveling with toddlers, the iPad can be your best friend! ha! something i never thought i’d say a few years ago. we don’t allow for too much screen time at home, so eleanor and samson are always elated to get some quality time with those special friends, and i am happy to oblige! find some educational apps or a few new app games (a few of our favorites here and here) or download a new movie for the trip so it’s all new to them and extra special. (and do not forget to charge that thing beforehand!)
– pack a carry on full of new surprises! a new coloring book, toy figure, or little animals. have you seen these water wow books? they are genius and our kids love them. for this trip, josh brought sticky tack and googly eyes to make faces with, which was a big hit. even silly things like plastic bubbles can help. a few plane rides back, a slinky once proved to be extra popular and gave us a solid twenty minutes of playtime! thank you, blessed slinky. be creative!
– also pack snacks in your carry on that are easy to eat and keep their blood sugar up. we take sliced peppers and sliced apples with us almost everywhere we go these days, since our kids love them and they are healthy and easy to eat. packing a few new snacks or favorite treats can be helpful too!
– when the seatbelt sign is turned off and it’s okay to move around, take a walk up and down the aisles. it’s hard enough for me as an adult to sit still for an hour or two, so i can’t imagine forcing a child to. and it helps to break up the trip (especially if it’s hours upon hours) to let them get a bit of exercise.
– be communicative with the people around you, if you can. sometimes it’s nice to say hello when you sit down and apologize up front for any crying or spilling or chaos that may break loose at some point during the flight, and let them know you will do your best to keep it to a minimum. we’ve really lucked out the last few flights and have had nothing but great people around us as well as great flight attendants. it makes such a big difference and helps me feel more calm and relaxed. whenever i’m holding a baby while boarding a flight i get a little bit stressed because i don’t want to impose on anyone with my children. very occasionally you may see an eye roll or hear that snarky comment and you’re like, i know. i get it. i’m trying and i’m sorry. but for the most part, people are really great. and several have offered and been more than happy to help if you need an extra hand for a minute, and they understand you’re just trying to get somewhere too.
what did i miss? what are your biggest tips for traveling with kids?
have fun and bon voyage!