Thursday, December 13, 2012

Airplane Travel with Toddlers

I don't know about you but other than shots the thing I dread the most with toddlers and/or babies is travel.  Air travel in particular.  At least if you are in the car they are only making you miserable.  But on an airplane?  I do NOT want to be THAT family.

Because we live far away from family we are fairly experienced land and air travelers.  Since Christmastime is coming I wanted to share my "how to" fly with young children.  Hopefully you'll find something that will make your trip and the trip for those around you enjoyable!

Tips for Travel with Small Children

*Pay attention to your tickets.  How long is your layover?  It is too short to change diapers, nurse and do things you may not want to do on the airplane?  Worse, is it too long?  Are you stuck in the airport for hours?  You may want to re-think your tickets!

*Purchase a seat for your toddler.  We flew as much as we could until our first turned two.  In fact we flew cross country 2 days before his birthday.  Would I do it again?  Probably not.  Although it was great to have him fly free, I'm not sure the headache of having him on our lap the entire time was worth it.

*Take a stroller.  It is more to pack?  Yes.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely.  Strollers can serve so many functions.  You can use it for a high chair if you are in a rush and don't have time to eat somewhere that provides them.  If you are traveling with two you can "wear" one of your kids and put the other one in the stroller.  If you kid wants to walk you can put your bag in the stroller!  All of the airlines I've flown on let you check it at the gate and usually it is set up and ready to go by the time you are off of the airplane.  I suggest just a cheap umbrella stroller.

*Pack a change of clothes for you and the kids.  I always put in 1 outfit for each person traveling.  Unfortunately you never know when luggage won't arrive or when you'll have an accident during your travels.  I can't imagine anything worse than going around all day in clothes covered in some sort of baby mess.  I usually pack my carry-on with my "just in case" items and stow it overhead.  Then I keep the diaper bag under my seat.

*Even if you don't use one at home, take a pacifier clip.  Oh the panic of losing your pacifier on the airplane right when the baby starts to get extremely fussy!  I hate having to reach down under the seats and you know it isn't clean on the floor!  This is one of those really easy things that really makes life much better for all involved!

*Make a special bag for travel.  Growing up my Mom called ours a Goodie Bag.  It was full of fun stuff that we didn't get on an everyday basis.  For air travel you might want to visit the dollar bins at Target to get a few things.  That way if you leave them somewhere it isn't a big deal.  You might include things like matchbox cars, stickers, a new coloring book and special treats like suckers or jelly beans.

*If you having children that are electronically savvy you'll want to make sure you save these for mid-flight.  We made the mistake last time of giving our 2 year old one of his hand-held Leapfrog toys before takeoff.  We didn't even think about the fact that it uses batteries.  We then had to take it away as soon as the stewardess called for all electronics to be turned off.  Thankfully we had other items to distract but I felt like we narrowly avoided a meltdown!

Other nice things to know--

*You can take milk/baby food on the flight.  However they will test it through the security line. Make sure you have plenty of time in case you are delayed.
*Children under 12 no longer have to remove their shoes when going through security.
*If you do take a stroller you'll have to fold it up when you go through security.
*You can have someone who isn't flying help you to the gate.  You'll need to get a pass for them when you check in for your flight.  They can go through security with you and sit with you at the gate until you depart.  This is a fabulous idea if you are traveling alone with multiple children.
*If you are "wearing" your baby they will not usually let you "wear" them during takeoff and landing.
*Items I include in the diaper bag--snacks, bib, wipes, 2-3 diapers for each child, 2 burp clothes, a wet bag (can be a large ziplock), a few small toys, changing pad, some type of blanket/nursing cover, spare pacifier, any medicines you might need
*Items I include in the carry-on--change of clothes for everyone traveling, extra diapers for both boys, more snacks, blanket, camera, any additional toys or items that I wouldn't want to live without the first day I get somewhere!

The biggest piece of advice is just not to stress out.  I always remind myself that I'm not the first person to fly with children.  I try to be gracious to the people around me and apologize if I feel my children aren't acting appropriately.  I also constantly tell myself that it is just one day.  It may feel like an eternity but it will be over!  And I take lots of chocolate!!  Hey, big girls need goodie bags too!

Airplane travel is our "use the paci in public" exception

This guy was a champ!

The Little Guy loved the moving sidewalks!

Ready for take-off!  When you leave the house at 3am you fly in pajamas!


Joan said...

Found you through the blog hop i'm co-hosting! Thanks for linking up, follow back if you'd like :)


la petite lulu said...

Great tips! We've done a lot of flying with our son because we live internationally, but I still dread it each time. Having a change of clothes for parents as well as kids is a big one - I know I've been caught out before on a long haul covered in spit up!

Gwen said...

I was once on a flight back on and since I always take a flight after work so I just sleep on the plane. While sleeping I thought I was dreaming but some kid was crying the entire time. Maybe you can't get rid of that - crying.

I'm a new follower from Thumping Thursday bloghop.
Have a good weekend!


toi said...

We did our first airplane travel when our daughter was 5 months and 9 months. She was so good, because as soon as the plane took off she slept. I have a photo of me and her sleeping, lol

Diana Chastain said...

I couldn't imagine flying with my toddlers. YOU are the champ. :)

Thanks for hopping by Thumping Thursdays. We hope to see you back this week. :)

mail4rosey said...

We fly with ours in tow, but we take the car seat for the little ones and it works out fine because they sleep. :) Then we have the car seat when we land for car travel.

So far, so good. Knock on wood!!

Visiting you from Super Sunday Sync. :)

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