6. They travel well in the car too (Andrew’s family lives 6 hours away and we always drive)
I’m first going to cover traveling in the car…and then I’ll cover traveling by plane. Here we go…
Traveling in the Car
1. Bring blankets
For whatever reason, my kids are much more quiet and content on a long car trip if they’re snuggled beneath a blanket. They also nap longer in the car if they have a blanket.
2. Try and leave early in the morning or late at night
I find that my kids nap more and are more content if we load them up early in the morning or late at night. It might be more work for you but it will help your little ones.
3. Dress them in comfy clothes
As a grownup, the worst thing is sitting in the car for a long time in tight, uncomfortable clothes, so the same is true for your kids. I let my kids travel in their pjs. I’m just trying to keep them happy!
4. Limit their beverages
I’m not saying dehydrate them but don’t hand them a Big Gulp either. Kids get squirmy and whiny when they have to potty…and you don’t want to have to stop every hour for a restroom break, so limit what they drink and everyone is happy.
5. Pack some candy
6. Bring a ton of wet wipes and plastic grocery bags
Nothing is worse than a big mess in the car while driving 70 mph through the middle of Oklahoma…carry a ton of wet wipes. And carry those plastic grocery bags for your wet wipe trash (or any other trash).
7. Use movies and/or music
If your car doesn’t have a DVD player in it, you can buy one like this for road trips and airplanes…
…or you can use a i-Phone or i-Pad. I’ve learned that my kids like a few familiar things to watch and a few new things. You can buy the headphone splitters that allow two people to use headphones and watch the same movie or of course, you could play it in the car without headphones.
My number one tip for packing for car road trips is this…don’t over pack. If you’re traveling within the US, then whatever you forget at home, you can find where you’re going. Trust me. At first, Andrew and I would over pack to drive to his parents’ house in Missouri until I realized that….hey, they have a Walmart too! If I run out of diapers, or wipes, or baby wash…I can pick some up in Missouri, I don’t necessarily have to bring a year supply from home for my short weekend stay. Don’t fret about not having what you need when you get there…you will be able to find it or something close to it…relax.
Things to consider packing:
1. A pack ‘n play or other type of crib
2. A sound machine (so baby can’t hear others and others can’t hear baby during nap/sleep time)
3. A light weight stroller
4. Garbage bags to bring your dirty laundry home in
5. A few of your kids favorite toys, books, or blankets (it’s good to have a few familiar things)
6. Clothes you can layer for your kids (to accomodate any type of weather)
And if your kid screams for a while in the car…don’t worry…at least your not on an airplane full of annoyed strangers…which leads me to…
Traveling By Plane
4. If your kiddo is at least 3, give them their own back pack of stuff to entertain themselves
My kids love having their own bag on the airplane. We load it full of coloring books and crayons (not markers! Markers will make your life miserable on a plane!), stickers, candy, small toys, and their little blankets (again, bring their own blanket!).
5. Bring snacks, snacks and more snacks
I almost always bring my snacks from home for our plane trips. If it’s not a liquid, you can take it past security. If you wait and purchase your snacks when you arrive at the airport, you’ll end up paying $5 for a Kit-Kat…and who want to do that?! I’m all about eating in moderation and limiting a child’s sugar intake. I provide healthy, balanced meals for my kids every day…but on a plane, when I’m trying to keep them happy and quiet, all rules go out the window! I keep my bag loaded with suckers (because it takes longer for them to finish it than a bag of M&Ms) and candy. In an emergency situation, it’s amazing what a sucker can do.
6. Load up on the $1 aisle at Target
The dollar aisle at Target is the perfect place to buy plane goodies (or the $1 Store). I load up my kids’ back packs with all sorts of stuff the occupy them while they’re in their seat. Don’t spend too much money on this stuff because let’s face it, the odds of you making it back home with everything is slim to none…that’s why stuff that’s only a dollar works best.
7. Bring something for them to eat as a meal
If you’re on a flight that is long enough to warrant a meal, I would go ahead and pack something for your kids just in case the meal that is served isn’t what they would like. (We were on a flight six months ago and my kids’ options were cold fish or Curry something…needless to say, they passed.) Bring a sandwich, piece of fruit, bag of chips…simple stuff that will pack well. Better safe than sorry in the food department.
8. Let everyone know you know flying next to a kid sucks
When my kids were little, the very first thing I would do when we boarded a flight was apologize to the people sitting around us. I would tell them that I know flying with kids is awful and that I’m so sorry that they had to sit next to us…and you know what? Ninety-nine percent of the time, they would tell me how they have their own kids/grandkids/niece/nephews and that they love children and don’t mind at all. I think by you recognizing what a pain it is, makes people feel sympathetic towards you and extra nice about the situation Trust me, try this…it works brilliantly!
9. If you’re flying with an infant, ask for a bassinet
Who knew they had bassinets on airplanes??? Until I had babies, I did not know this! Many, many airplanes reserve seats that have a clip on spot for a baby bassinet. When the plane is in the air, the flight attendant can attach this little bassinet and your baby can sleep right inside. When you make your reservations, ask about this! Now that I know about it, I notice people doing it quite often. This is a great tip if traveling with a baby.
10. The flight attendants will keep your bottles cold
I’ve learned that flight attendants are really great with people and babies…because they don’t want to hear your baby cry either! If you have something that needs to be kept cold, just inform your flight attendant. They will handle it for you.
11. If you have young kids, you can board your plane early
If you are traveling with a young child (even if that child is old enough to have its own seat), you can board your flight when they first start calling passengers (like with the First Class people). You should board early if for nothing else, to secure as much overhead compartment space as possible.
12. There is a changing station in the airplane bathroom
Yes. There is. It folds up against the wall, but there is a place to change your baby on board the plane in that tiny little bathroom. Ask a flight attendant if you need help.
13. Load up on movies and games for your kids (and practice wearing headphones!)
Make sure you bring some i-Phone, i-Pad, DVD player or something with headphones for your kid. Most flights these days even have places where you can charge these types of electronic devices. Also, make sure your child practices watching their movies while wearing headphones because on a flight, they’ll have to. Give your kid a movie and a snack and watch how well they behave.
Ok…and my number one tip for flying with your kids…
RELAX! Yes! You really should! Let’s say it’s the worst case scenario and you take a long flight with your kid and he/she screams the entire way…who cares? You will never see those other passengers again. You might think it’s awful but once it’s over, it’s over, and you’ve arrived. Believe it or not, most people aren’t paying attention to you anyway. If your kid screams, they scream. You just stay calm and keep chanting to yourself, “This is ok, I’ll never see these people again”. The more worked up you get, the more worked up your kid will get.
I have received some questions about medicating kids prior to flights. I’ve tried this a couple of times and it has never worked for me…so, I don’t do it. (You know, given them something like Benadryl before a flight.) I wouldn’t if I were you, just because I don’t think it works well. My hubby always says, just leave them alone. When your kid is on a flight, if they’re quiet and content, just leave them alone. Don’t bother them, don’t try and pull out a million toys for them…if they’re quiet, just leave them alone. I think that’s great advice too.
Things to pack in your carry-on bag:
1. extra sets of clothes for each kid
2. an extra shirt for you
3. 10 large Ziploc baggies (for dirty diapers, soiled clothes, holding toys and books, leaky bottles, etc.)
5. bottles, pacifiers, diapers, wipes (and more wipes…you can never have enough!)
6. Identification for your child (a passport is required if leaving the United States, a birth certificate if you’re staying within the US)
Next week, I’m going to do a completely separate post on just taking your kids to Walt Disney World…because I get a lot of questions about that! At the end of that post, I will answer any questions you might have from this post. So, if you have questions, leave me a comment and I’ll answer it next Friday, April 19 on my Disney post. I will also do a Shade of Shay in a few weeks about preparing and planning for vacations…saving for them, determining which destination you should go if you’re going just with your spouse, with your kids or with friends. Look for that post April 30.
And next week…it’s Fifty Two Shades of Shay: My Fitness Routine 🙂
Here are just a few pics I have of my kids traveling…
Have a wonderful day!!