Every now and then us Mom’s need a break, but with little one’s running around – that can be an impossible task.
So, here’s a few tips for traveling successfully with your children without losing your sanity:
- Get Organized. We know that this is a herculean feat already, so don’t be too hard on yourself. However, the sooner you can plan ahead for your kids, the sooner you can relax and enjoy the traveling.
- Long-haul flight? Book early and grab the bulkhead seats; more than the extra legroom, there’s enough room for small kids to sit on the floor and play, without the worries of blocking the aisle (also kids sitting next to the aisle will use it as an opportunity to race up and down the plane). Second, pre-order your kids’ meals. On most international carriers, their food will be the first to arrive (and usually, perfectly tailored for kids).
- Borrow or buy a car seat bag. Perhaps this seems a little redundant, but this is money well spent. You will be able to check it for free, keep the car seat clean, and stuff the bag full of diapers, shows, sand toys, and then dirty clothes on the way back home.
- Prepare with baggies. Keep your carry-on organized; food, electronics, clothes, toys; you name it, there’s a baggie or pouch that will keep your items protected and clean.
- Baby Carrier. If you don’t buy a seat for your baby in a car seat (which is money I can’t bring myself to spend until I absolutely have to), a baby carrier or sling is a great way to keep your hands free and keep your baby nice and cozy.
- Blankets. Muslin swaddle blankets are lightweight, easy to pack and easy to wash in a sink. They’re perfect for snuggling, covering an airplane seat and can double as a perfect picnic blanket.
AT THE AIRPORT
- Consider curb-side check-in. If you’re going to take car seats, strollers, or a pack-n-play, using the check-in outside the airport and walking into the airport virtually baggage free can help save time and eliminate some stress.
- Use the airport as a gym. There tends to be a division on this issue – some parents think it is best for your children to run around and exhaust themselves before the flight, and others are worried that it will keep them wired and unable to relax during the flight.
- Give yourself plenty of time. You’re already stressed about the whole experience in general, the last thing you need to do is to be rushed or miss your flight. If you gave yourself 1.5 hours from your door to board before kids, give yourself three to four hours with them.
- Don’t be afraid of security. When you’re with your kids you can bring baby food, formula, breast milk, nursery water, etc. It will get tested and inspected, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Kids can keep their shoes on, but everything including lovies, have to go through the x-ray, so it’s better if you can plan ahead and use TSA Pre✓™ – there’s a family line, so use it.
- Gadgets are good (I’m looking at you, headphones). If your child is old enough for headphones, then do yourself a favor: Plug. Them. In. They will give you precious time to relax, and possibly even enjoy your flight. Make sure to bring a power bank to charge mobile devices and keep your kids entertained.
- Diaper changing. Most planes have at least one bathroom with a changing table. They’re small and it isn’t pretty – no matter how hard you try. Disposable changing pads are great for airplane bathrooms (and to have on you while traveling in case you’re changing the diaper on the floor or what we like to call the ‘silly stand up diaper change,’) In the rare occasion when a plane doesn’t have a changing table and the only other option is to lay the baby across the toilet.