Traveling with kids isn’t always easy! In fact, it could be one of the most stressful part of your trip when dealing with young kids on long flights if you're not prepared. Being prepared and packing correctly with young children will have traveling much more enjoyable and less stressful.
When traveling with young kids, you'll find that there are many individuals opinions about the subject. I’ve been criticized before about taking my young daughter around the world with me. They say, “ there's no point of traveling with her because she won’t remember it.” “How will she be able to behave on such a long flight?" “What is she going to do all those hours on a flight?” “ How will you take her to a country you know nothing about?’” These are the kinds of people who never get out of the house and/or never traveled before. They are ignorant about the subject of traveling and know nothing about it. What stopped me from traveling before with my daughter was because I listened to these kinds of people. I was really brought to believe it was impossible to travel with an infant! This was only the case until I came across family traveling accounts on Instagram. I didn’t come across just one, but many mothers that traveled solo with their kids and/or with their husbands and kids. Seeing this inspired me and showed me I can travel just as much as I see it online! This is was a lesson to me that all things are possible when you put your mind to it!
Traveling is our way of having family time and being able to share new learnings about the world we discover. We work a lot when we're home so now more energized, we’re able to give our daughter our undivided attention that she deserves on vacation. It was a rewarding experience just to be able to take time with our daughter rather than the little time we have to spend with her after a long working day. Our first "real" travels with our daughter was when she was about 3 months old. We ONLY went to Orlando, Florida from New York, but everything seemed possible after this trip. We discovered it was actually easier traveling with her being this young because she could hardly move & slept the entire flight.
After traveling some time with our daughter we became expects on traveling with infants. The knowledge of how the airports work made it less of a hassle when checking in and learning what you can or cannot bring on your flight. Here is how we learned to travel with kids...
Arriving 2 hours ahead of time is essential when traveling with kids. It doesn’t matter if it's international or domestic. Your not just checking in yourself but another person.
Expect the unexpected with kids. Allow your self extra time for accidents, eating and diaper changes before a flight. You want the flight to as comfortable as possible, knowing you have everything you need before you get on a flight.
Baby bags will get pulled to the side since you will have food and drinks in the bag. This is also why it may take longer to get through security than normal. Security will test bottles/food to make sure all the liquids/foods are what they are supposed to be.
Drinks do not have to be a certain size to take on the plane. The 3.4 oz doesn’t apply to the baby for food and drinks.
Having a harness is a gift from heaven! It allows you to be hands-free. This comes in handy when going through security and for your infant that seats on your lap for the flight! Breaking down your carriage and putting luggage on the security belt while trying to keep an infant from wandering off is a lot to deal with. Keeping your child strapped to your chest will be less stressful.
With a harness, you’ll have a better time falling asleep on the plane because you'll know your child won't fall out of your arms if you start to doze off.
The child's airplane travel harness is the safest and easiest way to travel. This is a portable seat for planes without the struggle of dragging along a huge car seat. The child airplane travel harness supports kids 1 year old or 22 to 44 pounds. The installation is less than one minute. This is an ideal travel item if it's just you and your toddler because you won't have 4 hands to help you carry a car seat and luggage.
(Link for child airplane travel harness)
Packing snacks are the key to traveling with kids.
Pack snacks like cheerios, animal crackers, Gerber squeeze pouches, and pudding.
Bring a bowl for your child to eat out of instead of a ziplock bag to avoid tearing and spills.
Gerber meals are easy and throwable. All you have to do is warm up the meals in the microwave. Before getting on your flight ask the staff at the gate if there is a microwave on the plane. If not go to a nearby food stand and ask for the meal to be warmed up. I’ve never been to a food stand in the airport that refused to warm up a meal. Tell them it's for the baby and/or if your eating/purchasing something from the stand, for sure they won’t refuse.
Pack food that can be eaten at room temperatures such as rice, beans, mash potatoes, broccoli, fruits, and any other foods that don’t go bad if not consumed right away.
Pack a lunch box with a with an integrated ice pack inside. Having a build in ice pack will give your extra space to pack more food and bottles. Your milk will stays fresh up to 12-24 hours in a lunch box.
(Link for lunch box with integrated ice pack)
TIP: Pack water! One bottle for yourself and one for the baby! Remember normal rules don’t apply when you have an infant so take as much water you're going to need on your flight. It's going to save you since airport water is costly!
TIP: Stick to the food you know your child eats and loves! Flights are not the time to try out new foods. Once the plane takes off you’ll be stuck with what you have or meals the plane has to offer. Not all flights serve meals, especially if its an hour flight. An hour flight with no food could seem like a 10-hour flight with a hungry baby! Don't risk it!
TIP: Stash a garbage bag on the side of your chair where your folding tray is, and there is a hook to hang up your jacket. Instead of hanging up a jacket make it your trash bag for easy access to throw anyway messes.
• Night time flights are best with kids. Flights at night won’t disturb normal sleep habits and more than likely they’ll fall asleep much easier than a morning flight.
A Change of Clothes.
Kids will be kids so the unexpected should be expected! Accidents happen but just make sure you're prepared for them with an extra change of clothes.
The airplane can get cold so bring a jacket and blanket to keep your child warm and comfortable for your flight.
Pack at least two outfits or more to be prepared for delays or missed flights. It happens quite often.
Keeping your little one busy on the plane will make flighting a lot smoother.
Pack small reading books.
iPads are a great distraction and will allow you to have time for your self. Movies and games are available for use on your iPad that you won’t have to pay for on an airplane screen that charges you for entertainment.
Pack kids headphones for volume limiting.
(Link for kids headphones for volume limiting)
Building blocks are great toys for the plane. Building blocks are small, easy to clean and cheap if lost.
Coloring book and crayons.
TIP: Not all kids can sit down and color. If your child isn’t into coloring at home, don’t bring it on the plane with you. It will be taking up space if your not sure if your child will color.
TIP: Download as many movies and games as you can before getting on the plane that allows you to watch/play with them offline. If you have NETFLIX, you are now able to download movies for offline use!
TIP: While on vacation try not to let your kids play with the toys they play on the plane with. By the time your vacation is over and on the flight back home, your child might be tired of playing with the same old toys!
Comfort For Pain.
Give your child a pacifier for comfort. Its ideal to let them have a pacifier for taking off and landing. The sucking motion will help avoid ear discomfort. If your child doesn’t use a pacifier give them a bottle of milk or juice.
If your child is really uncomfortable, give them children Tylenol.
If the flights not full, move your seat for extra space with your child. Both of you will be much more comfortable stretched out.
When taking a child on a long flight, be sure to call the airlines you are flying with so they can reserve a bassinet seat for you. A bassinet seat is normally a seat with extra leg room and if you want to bring some sort of travel bassinet for your child to sleep in then you may do so in your space.
Sitting for a long period of time can be harshly boring for kids. Try walking up and down the aisles on the plane a few times. Most passages don’t mind on long flights because you’ll find that others will be doing the same thing to get a quick stretch! Your kids will enjoy every second of that 2-minute walk down the aisle.
Traveling with kids is such a rewarding time to spend with your family. Don't let traveling struggles hold you back from the experience that you could make with your loved ones! Be prepared to pack like a pro to ease up your travel experience with kids!