Some of us shudder when we think about traveling with our kids and, for others, it’s no big thing… I think I probably fall somewhere in between. I will say that, as with anything, planning is key to traveling (a little less) pain-free.
From in the airport to on the plane, I’m here to offer you some tips to help your trip go as smoothly as it possibly can and relieve a little of the anticipation you might be feeling.
In the Airport:
- Bring transportation. This is going to sound totally crazy but taking the scooter to the airport has SAVED me (and my oldest son from the incessant “hurry up” nagging). Now, I only recommend this if your child is a “rule follower” because my 5-year-old on the scooter in the airport is a life saver. My 2-year-old, Liam, on the other hand, would be a complete disaster. For Liam, it’s usually an umbrella stroller all the way. It’s super easy to push around with one hand (in case I’m lugging luggage with the other hand), easy to check at the gate, and if for some reason he doesn’t want anything to do with it, it’s cheap enough to leave somewhere without worrying about it getting lost or being damaged with the checked luggage. I also recently discovered this amazing Roll ‘n Go Car Seat Transporter by BRICA. You can attach your car seat to it and roll it (and your kid) around the airport. Then you just fold it up and you can use the car seat on the plane and when you get to your destination. I do recommend a lighter car seat. I just bought this cheap one by Evenflo specifically for plane rides, and then I use it at home, when and if I ever need an extra car seat. It’s been a game changer, and people will look at you in the airport like you’re a genius.
- Get there as late as possible! You get to go first for so many thing when you have kids with you at the airport. There’s no need to hurry up and wait, especially when you have little people with you. Trust me, I’ve traveled a lot with kids. The longer you’re in the airport with them, the more you’re going to despise traveling.
- Take a Picture of your Child. One of the best pieces of advice I received from a mommy and me group I attend is to take your kids’ pictures when you enter a museum, zoo, or any large crowded area. In my mind, airports are no different. I’m from Chicago so we fly to and from O’hare Airport a lot. O’Hare is the third busiest airport in the United States and sixth busiest in the world by passenger traffic. Needless, to say, having the most recent photo of your child on hand could literally be a life saver.
- Go Hang Out By the Windows. This is an easy and fun way to pass the time, especially when there are delays. I love sitting by the big windows with my boys and checking out the airplanes and activity outside. We point out different kinds of planes, trucks and people. It’s a good time to play “I Spy.”
- Go to the Bathroom BEFORE you get on the plane. Trust me.
On The Plane:
- Get them a Seat. If it’s a possibility, this is the way to go. If your child is especially spirited, the trip with them on your lap might not be the most fun you’ve ever had. Once my boys started walking, I got them seats. Otherwise, it wasn’t worth flying and struggling through a squirm-fest in my lap or running up and down the aisles.
- Wear your Baby Carrier (I love the Baby K’tan). For those moments you have to go to the bathroom on the plane, a baby carrier becomes a necessity. If you’re traveling alone and have no one to pass them off to, you’ll need to strap your child to yourself so as to avoid setting them down on the unsanitary bathroom or airplane floor, or waking them up from a nap, or peeing your pants.
- Something for the Little Ones’ Ears. The little ones’ ears don’t do well on the plane. Bring a pacifier, bottle, sippy cup, your boob, etc…so that they can adjust comfortably to increasing pressure on the way up and on the way down. Even if it’s something that you don’t usually do except for bedtime, bring it. In my opinion, anything goes on a plane. LOL
- Tech Treats. Give them something they otherwise wouldn’t get on the plan. We aren’t big iPad users at home and my kids are not allowed to use my phone, so having these items on the plane is like handing them candy!
- Bring Snacks! Pirate’s Booty, fruit, anything you do at home (and maybe some special treats as well) and bring more than you think you need! You never know when you might be delayed.
- More Entertainment. Books, coloring books & crayons (or the Melissa & Doug Water Wow notebooks), legos, Etch-a-Sketch (They even make a pocket version now for easy travel.), puzzles, magnetic games, tic-tac-toe, ANYTHING to keep your child busy.
Most importantly, as you’re traveling, give yourself a break. So many of us put so much pressure on ourselves to contain our kids (especially those of us who sat as far away as possible from kids pre-mommyhood). Here’s the good news: the more you travel with your kids, the more used to it they’ll get. They’ll be traveling pros before you know it!
Would love to hear how you feel about traveling with kids or any recommendations you have in the comment section below! Happy Travels!