Jason and I travel with our kids all the time, but when Ryder was a baby, the thought of taking him on an airplane made me nervous. I was worried he would miss his nap and cry the entire flight. I never thought I could fit all his things in my carry-on. I mean, the list goes on. Nowadays, as a seasoned mom of three, with nine years of nonstop travel under our belts, flying with children is much easier than you think.
Let me take you through a few of my traveling tips, for children of different ages. First up, infants. We didn’t have the nerve to fly when our oldest was a baby, but when our second came around, we flew with her at only four months old.
At first, I was petrified, but this age proved to be the easiest. Whether you are nursing or bottle feeding, it helps to feed an infant during take off and landings, to help baby’s ears from popping, due to changes in altitude. We all know how expensive airlines tickets have become, so parents should be very excited to know that children under 2 years of age fly free, as long as they ride on a parent or guardian’s lap.
If your child is extra fussy, you may choose to purchase an additional seat. This may be appealing to parents, who want to carry on their car seat, so your child has a place to sleep, giving your lap a rest.
Now, the toddler stage. This, you guys, is the hardest time to fly with children. Adults get antsy in airline seats, so just think of what its like for little one, who don’t understand that they are required to stay put, with their seat belts fastened.
In this digital age, iPads and tablets come in handy. I usually load up their device with some new games or movies so they don’t get bored. I know, some of us want to limit screen time, but try a 6 hour flight with a 4 year old, and tell me what you think! And don’t forget snacks. Snacks, and more snacks. I pack some old reliable treats, and some unusual options, to keep it exciting. An emergency lollipop come in handy, just in case they have ear popping issues, just like the babies.
My first trip to California with the three kids, was solo, sans hubby. At the time, my children were ages 2, 4, and 7. I think I panicked for two weeks straight before the trip. In addition to our snacks and tablets, I stocked up on little dollar store trinkets for them to play with during the trip. I wrapped each item in tissue paper, and on the hour, each hour, I busted a new one out for each of them. The idea of these rewards kept them on best behavior. Some of the best items were play doh, a deck of cards (for the older one), little coloring books, pens, crayons, and little games that you would find in a party goodie bag.
At the airport, I always see parents lugging half their living room through the terminal. This is mistake number one.
Learn how to pack light. It’s the only way to keep your sanity with little ones in tow. Leave your Cadillac $1500 stroller at home, and pick up an small light umbrella type stroller. For smaller babies, the carseat over the stroller is perfect, and works best for when traveling after the flight. An alternative to a stroller or car seat, a baby carrier. They come in especially handy for destinations that require lots of walking like our many trips to Disney.
Upon arrival to your destination, most resorts will provide a pack and play or crib. If you have particular standards for your children, be sure to ask your hotel staff what they offer, prior to making arrangements. Some hotels can recommend local businesses that specialize in renting strollers, crib and baby gear to tourist and travelers, which can be delivered to your location.
Once you get that first flight with your kid(s) under your belt, you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything. Maybe you can even enjoy a glass of wine inflight!
Now that my children are well-seasoned travelers, they know what to expect, and what is expected of them. They pack their own carry ons, and understand going through security, and manners while sitting in their seats. Traveling has certainly become enjoyable for us and it will for you too! More on our travels.. click here! And travel videos here!