Throughout our marriage, Tyler and I have always lived in a different state than our parents. Over the years, that has meant lots of travel for us and for them! As our family has grown, we have discovered that we work well together when we travel. It hasn’t always been easy. But with some fine-tuning we have almost perfected how we travel with our littles. I’m going to share all my secrets to successful air travel with you!
1) It’s in the Bag… or Bags!
Honestly, this is what helps me be the most successful. The key is to be prepared, but not so over prepared that you are bringing the whole nursery with you! I plan on packing 2 bags. The diaper bag and an activity bag. That’s it. My oldest son can bring 2 more items, but that just becomes more of a hassle. Keeping track of 2 wild boys and 2 bags is the most I want to deal with at a time. If I pack my 2 bags right I find that 99% of the time I have exactly what I need.
It boils down to the essentials for me here. I take what I absolutely need. This doesn’t really deviate from my day to day diaper bag components.
-Diapers & Wipes: I always plan to have enough for my travel day, only. I never pack diapers anymore. They are too bulky and I can usually find them where ever I am going.
-Diaper Rash Cream
-Reusable Water bottles and/or sippys
-Children’s Motrin & dispenser: both of my boys can use it, obviously, go with whatever your doctor recommends
-Wallet, IDs, & Money
-Snacks: We usually go for goldfish, fruit snacks, or fruit leather. I like to have smaller grab-n-go snacks in here all the time.
The activity bag is where we keep all of our kids’ entertainment. It is nice to keep things separate. We like to use little clear pouches to keep things organized inside this bag. We also keep an extra change of clothes for each kid and a small travel blanket in this bag.
–Snacks: We keep our bigger snacks and treats in here. M&Ms, cookies, chips, etc. are usually what we chose to pack.
–Playing Cards: My boys love playing Go-Fish on teams.
-Ipad or DVD player for watching movies
-Coloring books & Crayons
The following is a FREE DOWNLOAD: What to Pack for Air Travel with Kids
2) Let Them Stretch Out
I know by the time the flight is over, I can’t wait to stretch my legs. It must be way worse for kids! It is so much better if you can let your kids get their wiggles out. If you have a layover, let them explore in the terminal. I find that having only 2 bags also helps makes this possible. If I don’t have a lot to carry, I am more likely to let the boys be more active. If you have a long flight ahead of you, let them stand up and move, every hour or so. It helps keep the ants in their pants at bay.
3) Opt To Baby Carry
We have found that this, actually, works better for us than a stroller. For years, we traveled with a stroller. But, decided to baby wear so we could make an extremely close connecting flight and haven’t gone back. We have found that if we have our oldest walk, he does better in flight. By the time we get to our seats, he has stretched his legs and is ready to sit. You also don’t have to deal with the hassle of getting your kid out of his stroller, closing the stroller, putting it on the conveyor belt, with the rest of your stuff, going through security, then putting everything back together again. We use this baby carrier and LOVE it. You can carry your baby from infant to toddler, in 6 different carry positions. It is the absolute best.
4) Put Your Phone Away
This one can be so HARD. If you are not using your phone to entertain your kid, put it away. Your child needs your eyes and your attention. If they feel like they don’t have to compete with your device, they will be SO much better off. *I think this is a tip that could be extended beyond air travel, as well.* I have also found that when I am distracted, and I can’t address their needs quickly, a tantrum may not be far behind. You can always check your email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc… later when your child isn’t being confined to a 4-square foot space. Break the habit! You can do it! You will thank me later, and so will the rest of the plane!
5) Give Yourself A Break
Kids are kids. They have good days and bad days. We are all doing our best. Do what you can to prepare yourself and your child for a good flight. Meet your kids basic needs, and they should be good. If by chance they are having a tough day, give yourself a break. Be patient with them, and don’t worry about what others think. If your child is having a rough time, chances are, people aren’t thinking of how much you are inconveniencing them. (There are a select few, that are special souls, who might be.) But the majority of people are not thinking that. Most people are probably thinking, gosh I wish I could help them out. Give love to your sweet kiddos, help them to sort out the issue, and go from there.
Successful air travel with kids is possible! Test out these tips and do some fine-tuning of your own to find what works best for you and your family. Do you have anything your family does to ensure successful air travel?