Alright, there are two kinds of people; those who love flying and those who hate it. I have always loved it! And I've done a whole lot of it. Between studying abroad, a long distance engagement and then moving abroad, I was pretty expert on how to pack for every situation, keep it light and make it through security without wanting to shout profanities.
But then I had kids.
My eldest son is going to be 4 in July and he has been to America six times, and Paris six times also, so he's got a lot of miles for a little guy under his belt. In that time, I've learned a few new tricks. I still love to fly but being prepared and having a perfectly packed carry on has become an indispensible life skill. Let me share some of my favorite tips for traveling with babies and tots.
1. Spare clothes/extra diapers, wipes and formula.
This is KEY. You do not want to be stuck somewhere overnight and not have spare clothes, or have a poonami without a fresh outfit (yes, this has happened to me.) It's good to plan your outfits with layers in case of hot/cold planes and airports, so make sure your spares work with your layers to make the most of it. For little ones always take more diapers than you need, cause it's never bad too have too many, only too few.
2. Travel as light as possible.
Now I know I just told you to take extra clothes, but you need to minimize how many things you're bringing. From limiting the number of toys (bring one easy to keep a hold of, less likely to get lost, and have a limit!) to giving up on your dream of reading a book at some point, it makes a big difference. Personally, I only take headphones for me, and they usually never make an appearance so a book would be a total waste of time. I also make sure my kids have a variety of toys, but only ones I know they love and are quiet for the plane, plus not hard to keep track of. Handling kids AND bags gets to be a juggling act, so keep it simple!
Also, have a small bag that you'll keep under your seat with the things needed during the flight (snacks, toys, wipes) and then put the rest overhead. This bag should be tiny and easy to get in and out of, so you're not frustrated when you have to get it out every 10 seconds. #parentlife
3. Get your kids special travel snacks and bring their favorite bedtime toy.
I'm going to reveal my ultimate parenting weapon here; M&Ms. My kids will do anything for ONE. This most recent trip, my son wouldn't use the potty before the plane. I offered one M&M and boom! Potty problem solved. Make it easy, and have something they love on hand for quick bribes. Also pack favorite filling snacks from home because they will love what's familiar and it'll save you a bundle on airport food. This trip I got a handy snack pot and my son loved it, plus it was so easy. I will be getting another for kid number two, for sure. (Remember to order the kids plane meal if your airline allows you to, you have to do it in advance but my guy loved his special meal!)
4. Don't feel bad for your kid being a kid, but don't be a jerk.
We've all had horrible flights with screaming babies. It happens. And flying is hard, scary, confusing and sometimes painful for little ears. That being said, "Kids will be kids" won't get you very far with me. There's the expectation that kids are noisier, bouncier and just overall full of mischief but that doesn't give us parents the right to abandon ship and not keep order on a plane. So basically don't spend the flight apologizing because your kid is laughing loudly at the game you're playing, but also keep them from kicking the lower lumbar of the person in front to bits. It's the same on or off a plane, balance, but don't let anyone make you feel bad for bringing your kid on an adventure.
I would love to know some of your tips and experiences from your travels with toddlers, and maybe I'll learn a new life hack! Comment below and awesome gadgets or gizmos that help you travel better with kids.
Thanks for stopping by and see ya real soon!