traveling with littles.

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on monday, we flew home from the last part of our trip (san francisco). we arrived home to DC bright and early (and a little bit sick) from the red eye. while we’ve traveled a small handful of times with eleanor before this trip, we were nervous about flying with her this time around. mostly because she’s 18 months old now, a stage we are learning means she never sits still. and with little samson here, our attention is split so it can be difficult to keep everyone happy and calm when we’re juggling two little ones at once (hence, the crayon all over the tray table on our flight from LA to SF. sorry about that, delta.)
with the red eye flight, the kids just slept (we recommend this method!) but here are a few things we learned on our other 2 flights last week, if you’re interested:
  • if you’re traveling with a carseat (we traveled with two), bring a big plastic bag to put it in at the airport. we assumed all the airlines had bags for carseats when in actuality, only one of our flights offered them (virgin america).
  • nurse, bottle feed or offer a binky during take-off and landing. sucking and swallowing while the plane changes pressure helps keep their little ears comfortable. it also put both our babies to sleep for the first part of the flight!
  • i packed a new surprise coloring book and 2 new tiny books for eleanor. i think it made it extra fun for her to have *new* books to read and color in. that bought us at least ten extra minutes of entertainment. ;)
  • packing snacks that are easy to eat (i.e. NOT a flaky croissant…) is the way to go with little ones.
  • we don’t have a TV at home and try to keep eleanor from watching any but we downloaded a few episodes of blues clues as a last resort for when she got restless. and… she definitely watched both downloaded episodes. it proved to be a great back up plan.
  • if all else fails, bring treats for the passengers who are sitting around you. no one can be mad at you and your kids when you’re handing out free homemade chocolate chip cookies. and just cross your fingers you sit next to really awesome people who like kids! (we lucked out here with these fun new friends below)…
 
and thank you to all of you who commented on here sharing your input on flying with little ones. check out the comments of that post if you’re looking for more ideas and tips.
  1. I give you major props for making it through this, you guys are such great parents! I still can't get over how cute Eleanor's clothes are. :)

  2. You live and you learn :) I can't even fathom how crazy that must have been juggling two little ones on a cross country trip! Great job :)

  3. Kirsten

    These pictures are precious!
    I especially love the one with the little boy in it too!

    And, great tips for travel.

    mylifetintedpink.blogspot.com

  4. Lyndall

    We're feeling brave and are going to try our first interstate trip with Bebe later this year. I'm hoping he will do well!

    I've found the magic trick with keeping littlies happy when out and about is to nurse nurse nurse… I call it 'bribery boob' and it's the best way that I can have a quiet coffee or lunch in a cafe, hehe.

  5. Thanks for the tips! I've got two trips back to the east coast planned this summer. Booked both red eyes figuring my 4 month old would just sleep through the whole way. Crossing my fingers!

  6. Gaby

    thank you for this! while i really want kids, my greatest fear is that i'll never travel again. this gives me hope that i can have a family and travel!

  7. Sarah

    This was awesome. We are going on a trip so I was wondering if red eye would be the best option. ;)

    – Sarah
    agirlintransit.blogspot.com

  8. @064b38…. hahaha! i DO need a nap! in fact, i had to read that twice before i even got what you were talking about! so dyslexic. thanks!

    xo

  9. Great job guys! My dad was in the air force when I was young, and still to this day I have no idea how my mom managed all the traveling, and moving that involved with the huge family we've got! Flying back to the states from Turkey, with 7 kids 10 and under doesn't sound like much fun to me. Especially in 1995!
    The pictures as always are darling, and I love the advice! Get feeling better, and welcome home!

  10. awww

  11. Marae

    i love the boy's face! one of the great surprises (and one of my favorite things) of having a child was seeing how happy she makes other people.

  12. Omg I can't even imagine traveling with little ones, high five to you both!

    XO, adropofbliss.blogspot.com

  13. This is great! Good future info for when we have kids!

    Brooke

  14. Adin B

    Cute photos of your little princess. She sure is a charmer! And you are blessed with one precious little one. We were nervous too the first time we flew with our little boy on our vacation to Florida. He was around two years old (I know) and we were really nervous. I did some research online prior to the trip and brought some old fave toys and new toys, books, crayons and all kinds of toys. It did help everytime he gets restless, and on our way to Florida he was okay. On our way home though it wasn't such a sucess. He wanted some milk and didn't get it right away so he started crying and all, but he cried himself to sleep until we made it to the airport and drove three hours back home. Oh dear! The joy of having a kid or kids.

  15. What great advice! These simple steps are super helpful {for the future}! Thanks for sharing :)

  16. Kathy

    such a lovely post,I'll definitely keep these tips for when I have kids in the distant future! :)

  17. Wow. YOU are a rockstar.

  18. Diana

    I think bringing snacks for your seat neighbors is an AWESOME thing to do. As a single woman without kids, the idea of kids on a long flight would make me cringe at the onset. Add chocolate cookies into that mix, and I'd feel way better about the future.

  19. What great advice! And the chocolate chip cookies are genius. I'm so impressed that you can not only travel with your adorable little people, but can also manage to take lovely photos of them! I would need an assistant. Way to show us how it's done. Awesome post : )

  20. Great tips! I can only imagine how difficult it was! But it still sounds like you had a great time!

  21. that last photo is adorable! x

    could I possibly ask why you don't let her watch any TV? not in a criticizing way or anything, just curious. growing up I didn't watch a whole lot, but have some fond memories of watching it every now and then with my mom and my cat. (probably a bit weird!) and what do you do to keep her occupied in lieu of TV?

    Rose Eva
    SilhouettedBlog

  22. Lexie

    I loved following your trip through Instagram! Your kids seem so good natured. As a mama who is still breastfeeding her 19 month old and will most likely be tandem nursing when our new babe joins us in January, I always wonder how you do it while maintaining both style and modesty. My daughter has never tolerated a nursing cover, and I don't want to wear button up shirts every.single.day. for all of my breastfeeding years. Please share your secret!

  23. great tips! and that kid in the last picture is hilarous!

  24. claire

    you have such beautiful babies!

  25. I was also worried flying with my 19 month old on my lap solo- but he did very well (although he only slept AS we were landing on both flights). Biggest hits for us were books and snacks… the back-up iphone tv didn't work nor did cheerios on pipe-cleaners which I did think was an awesome idea from a friend.

    Glad your trip went well!
    xox Lilly

  26. Glad you posted this! I will be flying with my baby girl for the first time in a couple of months and, I'm not gonna lie, I'm freaking out a little. ;)

    Marissa
    http://www.thesimpleswan.blogspot.com
    A Fashion, Beauty, and Mommy Blog

  27. Great Great tips. I don't have any kids, but I will sure like kids more if offered chocolate chip cookies, LOL. Glad you had a wonderful trip. Xo

  28. Mariana

    Great tips. You guys rock!

    My boy is 2Y and 7M and we're camping for the first time right now… It's great! But, maybe I'll post some tips (like you did), when we come home, too. :)

    Have a great time!!

  29. Anke

    Haha, that last picture is soo funny!

    Glad you all survived the travelling ok and thanks for sharing these brilliant tips.

  30. Looks like your have found many great travel tips. We have traveled with 3 kids 6 years and under and it gets interesting! Another tip – toddlers 2-4 love escalators – it provides great entertainment when you need to kill time at the airport – up and down – a bit mundane for an adult..but amusing for the little ones!

  31. Shut up does she have a denim jacket? She is so beautiful, I swear she is 50% of the reason I love your blog.

    Awesome tips! You're like a traveling champion

  32. Martha

    I remember traveling with two for the first time…interesting. Cuteness obviously really helps with the fellow passengers!

  33. Great post! I think you both did an amazing job with the flights!

  34. Well, not to state the obvious or anything, but Eleanor is adorable. Who wouldn't want to snag her?

  35. Any tips for bed time arrangements with a baby and a toddler when travelling?!

  36. Aww great pics, what gorgeous little kids :-)

  37. Laura

    That picture of Eleanor sitting in the little boy's lap has to be one of the best pictures I have EVER seen online, hands down. It's great!!! Glad to hear your flying wasn't too stressful and you're back home safe and sound.

  38. Lottie

    if i had someone as cute a E sitting by me i would be very happy and try and help if i could–oh and take you up on your offer of chocolate chip cookies :)

  39. Amelia

    haha so sweet, that last photo. i love friendly strangers. & E's split skirt- can't get over how adorable she looks.

  40. Such cute pictures! :)

    xx Emily

    outintosparks.blogspot.ca

  41. Bethany

    You still make it look so easy! :) Hope you guys had a lovely time. I'm excited for your SF photos.

    -B

  42. Bethany

    You still make it look so easy! :) Hope you guys had a lovely time. I'm excited for your SF photos.

    -B

  43. Barret

    Definitely shell out 15 bucks for the extra leg room if your airline offers it (Jet Blue). My VERY busy 15 month old son Saxon and I always try to sit in the front row, first seat of the plane where he has room to sit on the floor (you have to get over the ew airplane carpet factor) and spaz out to his hearts content. I am still sweaty and looking for a strong cocktail by the time we land but it makes a HUGE difference.

    Barret
    girlobsessed.blogspot.com

  44. Priya

    Loved reading your travel tips, and major props to you for traveling with those two! I'll have to save these notes away for one day when I need them :) Eleanor sure is good at making new friends! But I guess when you're that cute, it's pretty easy!

    perfectly priya

  45. great advice! i can imagine it not being easy, travelling with two little ones.. and that last pictures is adorable!
    xo, cheyenne

  46. Alexis

    I love the picture of Josh and Samson:) And the last picture of Eleanor and her new "bigger" friend:)

  47. oh gosh, that first picture is my absolute favorite. baby e is just way too precious for words! and all great tips. i'll have to remember all of these when we finally have kids ;)
    xo TJ

  48. hahaha! the last picture is too cute. you can tell e will be a total ham when she grows up, in the best way :)

  49. Shannon

    Naomi, I'm curious – what is your reasoning behind not wanting to have a tv at your house? Is it a development strategy? Is it something that you are hoping will benefit your children? I'd love to consider this for my kids someday.

  50. I love that you made Homemade chocolate chip cookies for the flight! We don't have kids yet but I'm sure this will come in handy one day!

  51. That photo of E on that little boy's lap…could she be any cuter?! Oh my goodness. I love your tip of baking for the people around you on the flight. How COULD you be mad at someone handing out free cookies?! Never.

    http://www.themidwestmaven.wordpress.com

  52. Fyi, Alaska Airlines offer bags for your car seats. And flying out of LA didn't charge me to check it, though flying out of Seattle they charged me $2.

    The red eye is genius though!

    And I JUST experienced my first "Griddle" last weekend as well and thought I had died and gone to pancake heaven. :)

  53. I used to animate Blue's Clues! How nice to know that someone is still watching, and some mamas still find it handy :)

  54. Super Cute Photos!
    aliceandada.blogspot.com

  55. Super Cute Photos!
    aliceandada.blogspot.com

  56. I'm usually not a fan of children on flights HOWEVER I would make an exception for yours. They're so cute and full of smiles, and they always look very well behaved.

    The tips you gave are really great!

  57. I'm interested in the fact that you don't have a TV in your home. We had our little one about 8 month ago, and I have been trying to keep her from TV as long as I can. In fact, I dread the thought of her watching at all. I wonder, how do you keep your littles occupied while you do things around the house, IE cooking, cleaning, etc?I only have one and I'm finding it an interesting task…

  58. Lisa

    Just a tip for when they get older: my family was really big on cross-country road trips and my mother would pack 20 or so little presents for my brother and I that we would open periodically throughout the trip. They ranged from candy to cheap game boy games or American Girl books. They were really fun and special and also probably kept us in line when we were getting restless.

  59. Amie

    GREAT TIPS!!! Glad you had such a fabulous time.

  60. If you choose travel in air line you may find cheap tickets as i always found cheap ticket to pakistan during my vacations.

  61. Preparation is certainly key to traveling with kids. It can be a real challenge but at the end of the day, it will be a life changing experience for the whole family. Just read btw that screaming babies were voted most annoying inflight pest lol…

    Regards,
    Chris from bestflights.co.za

  62. LOVE that last pic!! I'm gonna hope and pray that a cool kid like that (and other cool folks) are sitting next to us when we head to NY with our 11 month old in a few weeks! (Please, Lord! Amen.)

  63. You are so brave travelling with littlies. It is totally exhausting – but you will always remember it! Well done

  64. Maybe it isn't about you, if someone complains about your children on a flight. People fly for many reasons, and most of them are not happy ones. The "grouch" you may have the gall to complain about may be rushing home to a dying parent's bedside, or flying home to attend their child's funeral, or coming home from a disastrous interview for a much-needed job.

    It isn't always about YOU.

    Think about it.

  65. We have yet to travel with our thirteen month old son, but we're flying from Philly to Florida with him early next year–right at that dreaded eighteen month mark. Thanks for the great travel tips!

    Meg

    http://www.morningshere.wordpress.com

  66. Wow, very brave of you! I am definitely one of those people who loves when kids sits by me on planes, too cute!

    xx
    Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes