The anticipation of a family vacation is one of the best parts of the trip. Packing, and sometimes even the anticipation of packing, in my opinion, is one of the worst. Flying with babies, toddlers, or kids can be stressful. Who wouldn’t be stressed out thinking about being stuck on a airplane with a child who can’t sit still for longer than 5 mins?! Here are some travel tips I have learned over the years when traveling with kids.
Before every trip regardless of how we are getting there, I prep my kids. This way the know exactly what is going on, roughly how long it will take, and our game plan. I feel like it calms them down and helps the day flow easier. We also talk about airplane etiquette, respecting others, and my expectations. Again, it helps them focus on how the day “should” run.
Give each child their own backpack to carry on the flight. Giving your kid a small bit on responsibility, like carrying their own bag, helps them to feel somewhat in control on a day when they will be shuffled from place to place without much agency. It also helped to lighten my backpack, which already has all of my items.
Prepare personalized snack bags. Everyone is much happier when they have food in their stomach. I like to let me kids pick out a few of their favorite treats. A word of caution: don’t let them pick anything that is too sugary. You and I both know once the sugar hits they are going to be bouncing off the walls, dying to run up and down the airplane isles. We like to mix up loved snack with new snacks. The new snacks only came out when the kids were getting restless. My kids are older now and this trick still works wonders.
Pick Your Toys Wisely
I know you’ve head of this one, but it is just as important. Bring toys, books, tablets, games, coloring books, etc to keep them occupied. Don’t forget to charge those tablets or portable games the night before. We don’t keep the movies going the entire trip, but at times when they are bored and their toys don’t seem to do the trick. Sometimes I rent or purchase a new movie for them to watch.
When I traveled with babies I would nurse or give them a bottle on the takeoff/decent. This helped so much with their ears. As my kids got older, I switched over to lollypops or suckers. These are also great for incentives, if your little one is getting restless.
Bring a Stroller
I’m not huge on strollers, but it was a lifesaver when I traveled alone with 2 little kids. I purchased a cheap umbrella stroller for this. I honestly was worried it would get damaged and didn’t want to spend too much money if this was a possibility.
I know several parents who swear by bringing their car seat on the plane. They strap their child in and off they go. My kids hated their car seats. It was a battle getting them in most times. So, we just checked out car seats. I ordered car seat protectors from Amazon to put the ca rseat in to help protect it. We had one with wheels and the other was a backpack style. The wheeled one was my favorite. It was much easier to tote it around.
Go with the Flow
We all know things don’t always go as planned. Talk to the passengers next to you. Hopefully they are understanding of traveling with kids. Try to laugh things off. I remember one of my flights when my oldest was a baby. I was trying to nurse him on the decent to help his little ears, but he wouldn’t do it. He just cried. It seemed like no matter what I did, he was not having it. Yes, I was frustrated in the moment, but the lady next to me reassured me it was okay. I took a deep breathe and still tried my best, but you know what, I did my best and that is good enough.
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