I never realized until recently how terrified most parents are to travel with their small kids. I was reading a post on FaceBook and the sheer number of parents that were posting their fears amazed me, then I started reading how many of them have never traveled with their little ones because of those fears. I guess my husband and I were naive, we hopped on a plane with our first little girl when she was 9 months old. Most of our family live on the East coast so we wanted to introduce our adorable little girl to them. It was a pretty long flight but we managed, in fact I remember that a storm was hitting just as we were landing. A sudden gust of wind had us drop pretty quickly and it was quite turbulent, I looked out the window and we were literally 20 feet off the ground. The pilot was quick and decisive and got us back in the air quickly, because he feared we could get hit by another gust and crash. We ended up having to be re-routed to another airport, refueling, and after an hour on the ground we were back in the air en-route to our destination. Everyone who sat around us marveled at how well behaved our little girl was, she barely cried and while the rest of us were terrified she played and laughed. Our little girl can be pretty amazing, but here are some tips and tricks we used to keep her happy and busy.
1) Sucking and chewing are a must – If your little one is still breastfeeding by all means bring your breastfeeding pillow and feed them on take-off and landing. If not give a bottle or a pacifier. If they have outgrown these as well bring gummy chewy candy or gum. These will keep the jaw moving and help those ears pop. We are getting ready to travel again with our kids and we have started teaching our older girl,who is almost 3, how to pop her own ears before the trip.
2) Movies and TV – Even if you really don’t like to let your little one watch much TV I would highly suggest making an exception during air travel. Bring portable DVD player, a tablet, or a computer and load it with a few movies and shows. Try a mix of new things and favorites to keep them occupied. Getting a pair of kids headphones can work wonders as well, you don’t need to hear their shows and they can hear them better since planes are so loud. We use the Kidz Gear Wired Headphones .
3) Bring something new – Bring a new toy, coloring book, book, or busy bag. Something new will excite your little one and keep them busy for a good length of time. We bought several new little toys as well as brought a few favorites. Busy bags are great for toddlers, they keep them busy and they generally learn something. Alternate between old favorites and new toys to keep them busy.
4) Buy a ticket wisely – They can be more expensive, but take my word for it, buy a non-stop flight. If you have ever had to run to a gate to make your connecting flight because of delays you know how miserable that can make you. Now imagine doing that while carrying a kid and all their luggage that come with them, we had to run once, I assure you that will never happen again. Not to mention connecting flights make for very long days so you will undoubtedly need to hit a restroom or change a diaper, or get food during this short time as well. We always pay the little bit of premium for that non-stop. If you are doing a longer flight look for the over night flight as well. You kids will hopefully sleep for the majority of the flight.
5) Bring lots of food and snacks – Airlines wont feed you anymore so pack as much as you can. Bring lots of your kids favorites, including candy even if you normally don’t give much. It is worth your sanity. You can’t bring beverages anymore so be sure to buy plenty in the airport and keep your kid hydrated.
6) Bring the stroller and car seat – Strollers and car seats can be gate checked at no cost. It makes traveling through a huge airport so much easier when you have your stroller! Bring an old or used one though as they are not always tender and gentle with it. As long as you car seat is FAA approved it is even recommended that your child sit in it during the flight. It is not mandatory though, it is a personal choice and I learned long ago I keep opinions on personal choice’s to myself 😉 Having the car seat and stroller can save you from have to rent these items on your vacation though and those little rentals add up. Most car companies charge anywhere from $10-$25 a day for car seats so beware.
We are planning our trip to DisneyWorld soon, I will be sure to post our planning trips and anything new we pick up. Travel with your kids, every family needs a vacation!