10 Tips for Surviving Flying with Toddlers & Babies
Hello Redlocks and Shamrocks readers! My family recently got back from a vacation and I’ve been flooded with questions about flying with kids so I’ve got a post for those mamas! When my husband and I were ‘single’ aka married but no with kids we used to travel all the time! We loved going on vacation and exploring new places. Once we had kids traveling with two little people became a game changer- 10 times more stuff and crazy attitudes! Check out my top 10 tips on surviving traveling with toddlers and babies.
1.First up Make a plan and prep whatever you can early. Copy birth certs, pack, restock diaper bag- don’t forget extra clothes for you and baby! A blow out in the airport might happen-and has to me!
2. Pack NEW entertainment and snacks: Pick up a fun backpack with dollar store toys and books, small snacks, and a sippy cup for the toddler to carry! My kids loved getting a new bag and toys to explore on the airplane. Dollar store stuff is the way to go so if it gets lots it’s no big deal. I also packed tons of snacks! Anything under 4oz is okay to take through security so I packed packets, string cheese, baggies of goldfish etc. I kept these backpacks hidden until we made it through security.
3. Be a minalmist! This is coming from a woman who once packed just a suitcase full of shoes for a 5 day vacation. Lol but yes pack as little as possible! For you and kids! If where you are staying has a washer/dryer take advantage of that.
4. A major question to save your arm strength: Do you really need that pack n’ play? After a trip with a 4 month old, 21 month old, purse, diaper bag, three pieces of luggage, a stroller, travel bassinet, and a pack and play I knew we were traveling as ‘light’ as possible but it’s still wayyyy too much stuff! This time we recently traveled we made sure to get a rental property that came with a pack and play that way we didn’t have to bring one. There are also inexpensive pack and plays on Amazon for around 40 dollars, I know a few families that had one shipped to their location then cut their losses. When our son was only four months old, we purchased this travel bassinet which fits inside a suitcase suitcase-it was extremely handy.
5. This next tip hurts my heart a little being a rule follower and all but here it is-cut in line! My husband used to be a VIP for Southwest Airlines with an automatic A-List pass which allows you skip security lines-it’s a dream! But with children and lack of traveling for work he lost this VIP status so we followed the ‘fake it till you make it’ rule. Even though he lost this A-List pass we went in the fast line anyways. I know, I know totally an A-hole move, but most of the time they don’t check and would they really turn away a family with two crying kids in an airport? Worth a try! Also some airlines allow you to go through the handicap line if you have a stroller.
6. Ask your airline about family boarding. Each airline has its own rules with boarding so make sure you ask to know all the rules.
7. Gate check strollers– once you get through security you have to go to the counter and get a gate check tag. I didn’t know this the first time I flew and had to go all the way back to the counter and we missed family boarding. Yuck! Right before you board the airplane you can leave your stroller in the gate and they will put it right back there after you land. Buy these stroller and car seat protectors. Germaphobes unite! These are totally worth the money and will keep your car seat clean under the airplane. When you pick up these bags they will be filthy and you will be happy that you bought them.
8. If you have a baby try to breastfeed or give a bottle during take off and landing. This will help with their ears popping. Breastfeeding mamas-if you get a window seat you can get a lot of privacy.
9. This is my biggest tip: just go with the flow! Got a screaming kid? Do your best to calm them down by distracting them with objects out the window. Child doesn’t want to sit on your lap try to convince them buy busting out an iPad or new book, we even read the emergency exit guide in the back pocket of the seat. Or even get creatvie by making a hand puppet out of the airsick bag! But if all else fails just go with the flow, you’re trying your best and you’ll never see these travelers again who cares if they are staring at you with their judgie eyes-you’re doing your best.
In the middle of TSA security my older child had a stage 10 meltdown and my infant had a blowout with both kids screaming all I could do was smile at everyone staring at me and no one helping just staring. Some people even moved our stuff off the conveyer belt to put their stuff on (I know-rude). Then there will be that one mom, who has been there before. Who will kneel down and help try to sooth your screaming toddler. She will point out her Elsa backpack or sing a song-Thank random lady I will always remember your kind face. After this whole dilemma, I got randomly selected for additional screening and that smile quickly turned to tears. Three out of four members of my family were now in tears and two of us were covered in poop. It was a HUGE mess-but I will never see any of those people again and that is life with kids!
Note: super tired parents and toddlers pulling each other’s hair = going with the flow. lol
10. If at all possible give yourself a “travel day” on your vacation. Missed naps + long walks + travel = cranky kids and tired parents. If you have an extra day just to get there it will help elevate stress and actually allow you to enjoy your vacation. If you can afford that extra night trust me and just do it-because you loose a whole day just traveling
Those are my top tips on surviving flying with toddlers and babies! Don’t let the extra little humans in your family hold you back from making a mark on your travel map! Happy summer and I hope you all have great summer vacations! Ps. As much as we have gone on airplanes with kids we’ve never done a car road trip!!! Moms who are masters at car trips please leave some advice in the comments below!
Your Redlocks and Shamrocks Girl,