hi everyone! as summer comes to a close, i’ve partnered with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to share some thoughts today on why we invest so much time, energy, and resources into traveling together as a family, as well as 3 tips we’ve found tried and true for airplane travel with little ones.
3 reasons to travel with little ones:
i know some people feel strongly that taking kids around the world is such a waste since they think the kids won’t be able to remember it all perfectly when they’re older. josh and i disagree with this argument because we believe exposing our children at a young age to different cultures, smells, tastes, languages and people, helps shape them as human beings and these experiences can leave a lasting impression that will make them the better people and better citizens of our world.
we have also found that in our experience, not many things have topped the memories our family has created as we have spent time together exploring and learning, discovering and trying new things together. if anything, it has truly helped build a special bond i am very thankful for. also, documenting through photos and videos is a way to hold onto those memories in the years to come as our kids ask often to watch our travel videos again over time and to look at pictures from past trips. sometimes a certain photo or video will spark a memory from that trip we never documented and it’s fun to realize how they are remembering much of it all on their own and holding it near and dear even years later.
lastly, we hope to travel as a family later on in life too, and we’ve noticed that traveling and having adventures are like anything else, in that you get better with practice! our kids now know how to go through security like they’re frequent flyer platinum status travelers and have their preferred personal routines down so well on long airplane, car or train rides. this goes for us parents just as much for the kids. it just gets better and better with practice!
as for tips and tricks for making your airplane ride with little ones a bit easier, i’ve included a few tips below. as well as some photos from our recent flight to europe with KLM, a Dutch airline with flights from the US via Amsterdam to all over Europe. we went through amsterdam on our way to spain a couple weeks ago and thought that their crew was really very attentive and helpful with our kids. they had meals and activity kits just for the kids too! you can also check out this post about traveling abroad with little ones a few years back that is more applicable if you’re traveling with two year olds and younger, as well as this extensive travel post with tips and tricks for traveling with kids from last spring, which has more tips about packing, hotels and spending days in a foreign city or place with little ones.
3 tips for airplane travel with kids:
1. disinfectant wipes!
bring disinfectant wipes on the plane and first things first, before you sit down, wipe down the arm rests, head rests, sides of plane if you have a window seat, the outside of the tray tables and especially the insides! basically everything. i used to think people sitting around us would think we were crazy but it’s amazing to see grown adults sitting nearby that’ll be like, “hey do you mind if i borrow one of those?!” i know airplanes have great crews that come through after each flight and clean the cabins, but i still think it’s a great thing to do with little ones who tend to touch everything and then touch their faces and mouths right after.
2. two bags!
two bags. we carry two bags on the plane besides the kids little backpacks. one is full of fragile and breakable items that we don’t want to check like camera gear, computers, and well, sunglasses :-) as well as important documents we want to have with us like passports. the other bag has everything we need for our kids and family. which breaks down to two main categories, food and fun. with a side of cleanliness like wipes and hand sanitizer and maybe an extra pair of clothes for any kids still perfecting their potty training. for food, we take fruits and veggies and nuts, a bag of popcorn which is a real splurge since it take up a lot of space. for fun, we have books with stickers and drawing and mazes or puzzles, our own headphones (including some sound blocking ones for kids) and tablets with educational apps and some downloaded shows and movies we curate for the kids. we start with food and books and work our way to the tablets later into the flight.
3. remain relaxed and calm!
the last tip i wanted to share is more for the mama or papa. i’ve noticed that the times i’m more relaxed and calm as we board the flight together, it makes all the difference in how the next few hours go. i think kids are so good at picking up signals from our own energy and moods, and it can dictate how they end of feeling as well. there have been times where i’ve been super stressed or nervous because the flight might be a red eye or someone isn’t feeling well and i’m worried we’ll bother other passengers or something will go wrong, and it seems my stress only adds to the experience and everyone else’s. so while it might be hard to do, having a moment to breath before boarding will go a long way for not just you, but your kiddos on your next flight! i promise!
you can see more tips from past posts on handling airplanes with kids HERE.
please feel free to share the reasons you love to travel with all of us in the comments, as well as the tried and true tips and tricks you have found helpful for airplane travel with little ones.