Apr 19, 2012

Flying With Children: Tips and Tricks

As I thought about all the things I do now, flying from Salt Lake to Seattle multiple times a year and from the experiences I have had with children in tow, I thought I should share them with you since traveling season is upon us.

First of all, traveling with 2 kids is much harder than just one, especially since you only have 2 hands.   When flying with both parents it is much easier, but even so I am sure some of these tips will still come in handy.

1. Don't pack lightly.  I never regret bringing extra stuff, but always regret leaving those things I thought we could do without.

2. Make sure your kids are comfortable.  Sometimes I keep Allie in her pajamas to fly, but I always make sure that I dress her in layers.  Some airplanes are freezing cold while others are steaming hot!  

3. Don't be cheap, and use the skycap!!!  Especially when you are checking 2 carseats, 2 suitcases, etc.  It is always worth a few bucks to get dropped off right at the curb and have your luggage taken for you without all that extra hassle.  Worth EVERY penny!  You really only need to tip $1-$2 per bag too, so just do it and save yourself the grief!

4. Use a diaper bag that is easy to carry on your shoulder and easy to get into with one hand.  For example, my "diaper bag," which is actually a purse, has straps that are the perfect length for me to get into with the same arm that is carrying it ans are also leather so they don't slip off my shoulder constantly.  They are attached with metal chain so they can bend easily, and the bag is just open at the top without extra clips, etc. that makes it hard to get into.

5. Organize your diaper bag like you are OCD.  You are going to want to know exactly where everything is, especially on the plane with limited space and time when your kids are screaming and crying and need something :)

6. When you go through security, you don't need to take off your children's shoes under 12 years of age!  This also saves you a LOT of hassle when you are trying to do a million things at once at this time. 

7. You also don't have to take off your baby carrier!  They will have to "swab" your hands to make sure you haven't been handling certain materials, but its much easier and quicker than trying to carry a baby while you are gathering your items and putting on your shoes.

8. Wear flats or some type of shoes that you can easily slip on and off (while going through security)

9. Bring your nursing shield (if you are breastfeeding) and feed your babies during takeoff and landing.  Give your toddlers suckers (and bring a few of them since landing will take about 25 minutes.)  Gum also will work.  These things will help "pop" your kid's ears.

10.  If you are worried about your kids being noisy on the plane, sit behind the wings, as the engines are loudest there and people around you won't be disturbed as much.

11. Make friends with your flight attendant.  They bring your kids snacks, drinks, and sometimes they have changing tables next to where they sit.

12.  If you don't have changing tables on your flight make sure you pack some of these in case you have to change them on your lap.  And also bring a couple grocery bags to put a messy diaper into.

13.  Lastly, I bring a couple things to keep my toddler entertained.  First, snacks.  Second, my iPad.  I download new children's apps, books, and movies for her.  Third, new Dollar Store toys.  These are also great for long trips in the car- bring out a new one every hour!

I hope these tips help and that you all travel easily and safely this year!

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Em and Ms said...

Love the tips. I've learned these things too. I have actually crammed both my kids into the bathroom with me on a plane so both Madelyn and I could go--a fact that she promptly announced to all those sitting around us. I've actually found when traveling by myself with the kids that most people are really nice and helpful. Another tip: use the barf bag for dirty diapers--they're lined to keep the scent in (I usually take unused ones to keep in my diaper bag too!).

Jess said...

That's a great idea Emily. I also put a pull up on Allie this time we flew in case she had to go #1 so I wouldn't have to cram into the bathroom :). Luckily she didn't have to use it.

Elizabeth said...

Great tips! I was wondering about the carrier if you'd have to take them out so that's good to know!

Andy said...

Great tips.

TSA will also allow you to bring a large ziploc with liquids for children...applesauce, juice, medicine, ets. Just get the bag out when you go through security.

Also, one of my favorite travel companions.

Emily Poll said...

Jess, loved this blog post! Now as new mom with a few upcoming plane trips approaching, these tips were perfect for me to read. I don't know how you stay sane traveling with 2 kids...I am stressing out just wondering how I will be able to handle my baby on the flight...I feel better about traveling after reading your advice:)

Jess said...

Don't stress too much about it Em- I think you will be surprised at how easy it is when you are prepared, and even a little fun! Good luck!

Jess said...

That is great to know- I used to bring a bottle of formula for Allie, but Macsen will not take formula so I just bring my nursing cover :) Chocolate milk is Allie's staple so I will have to bring some for her next time to keep her even happier :)

Cranberry Morning said...

Good post! I love all the travel tips. Obviously, it's very different traveling with children, for when it's just my hubby and me, we pack as lightly as possible, using only a carryon, even for international flights. But with kids, I can see it would be WAY different and you'd so regret not having some of those useful and familiar items that you may not be able to easily replace when you get to your destination.