Everything you need to know about flying with kids

My friend Sarah Tucker (who also just so happened to be our talented wedding planner) is guest posting today on Traveling with your kids! She has been able to travel quite a bit with her children and I wanted her to share all of her amazing tips with you guys! We are planning to go to Charleston at the end of August and possibly an even bigger trip in November so I will be taking notes! πŸ˜‰
Here we go!

It’s summer time!  And that means you may be gearing up to travel with your little one for the first time.  Here’s what I’ve learned from traveling with our kids the past three years – though we certainly still have a lot to learn!  We’ve got a busy summer, filled with planes and car rides ourselves so I need the refresher too.  Though for this post, I’ll just be covering airline travel… so here we go!

Booking:
If you are going on a long haul flight with a baby under two, make sure to call and reserve a bassinet.  You’ll be put in the bulk head row, which gives you a extra room, plus a bassinet for your child to sleep in or stash whatever you want in.  Giving your arms a break!

Book around naptime or bedtime if possible.  This works for us, as the lull of the airplane engine seems to put them to sleep.

Before booking I always check out Seatguru.com and look up the actual aircraft of the flight I’m looking at booking.  This will tell you which seats are best, where or if there’s a changing table, and reviews from other travelers.   If it’s an airline I’m unsure of, I also check their rating airlineequality.com.

Packing tips for little ones:

First check what baggage is allotted for your infant/child on your airlines website.  I’ve had flights where they are allowed their own bag, and some where I just get a diaper bag to carry on.  Their site will also let you know what you are allowed to check free of charge – generally a stroller, and a carseat.

Packing cubes are great or even ziploc gallon bags work well for tiny clothes.  I roll each outfit, including socks, and place them in the packing cube.  I’m on the safer side accounting for two outfits a day for babies/toddlers, and then plenty of pajamas.

I always make sure to pack a little first aid kit that includes a thermometer, some medicines just in case, and bandaids.

I am obsessed with our Marpac DOHM white noise machine, and take it with me on every trip.  There’s even a travel version if you’re often on the go.

Likely anywhere you’re going, they are going to have diapers.  So if you need the room, don’t pack them.  I usually pack mine, and use the space I have left over once they are used for souviners.

Typically most liquids/pumped milk is very easy to get through.  Each bottle needs to be 3.5oz or smaller, and I just put it in a ziploc.  I’ve only had them test it once, and that was just dusting the bottle.

What to wear on the flight:

Wear black.  because– what stains? (; But also wear easy flats, so you can kick them off quick for security.  A drapey cardigan can double as a cover or a blanket, a nursing tank if you are breast feeding, and some leggings.  You can look fabulous when you get there, now is the time for easy and no fuss.

I generally put my babies in footed pajamas at the airport, because they will be sleeping at some point.  Or on a long haul, I pack them with us and change into them at bedtime so there’s some semblance of a routine happening.  With older kids, I make sure all the clothes they have while traveling is comfortable.

Once you are at the airport:
Babies can sometimes give you special treatment and most people are understanding.   But I also make sure to pour on a little extra sugar.  There have been times just being nice and patient has scored me upgrades and better seats.

I put the baby in the carrier when I’m going through security.  I’ll probably even do this on our next flight and he’ll be 15 months old and 25 pounds!  It’s just easier for us.  You can bring the stroller through security, and right up to the gate to gate check.  It’ll be waiting for you when you land.  My goddaughter is one and has been on over a dozen flights already.  She has the Uppa Baby Vista stroller, and that has been so easy for travel.  She has the car seat attachment on it, and on several occasions the flight hasn’t been full, and she’s gotten a seat all to herself in her cozy little car seat she loves.


What to pack in the diaper bag:  

Here’s an actual diaper bag I packed for my youngest son at 8 months for Panama …

 
Do yourself a favor and get a backpack diaper bag.  My diaper bag is my only carry on.  
  They’re invaluable, especially with two.  And definitely while traveling!
pouches for eating on the go
sophie, zoli, – some teething toys if your child is teething
a changing pad 
a crinkly book like the jellycat ones
a couple extra comfy outfits in case of blowouts or just in need of a change
some ziploc bags – I put anything liquid or potentially messy in them, and also use them for a wet bag if something gets soiled.  
some overnight diapers for long hauls and my regular diapers  – more than you think you may need!!  just in case!!
a wubbanub, because even though neither of my sons have taken pacifiers, sometimes they have on a flight
any sort of medicines you may need for your child
anti-bacterial wipes… I’m not a germaphobe, but on planes I turn into one.  Wipe down the tray table, your seat, and anything you or your child may touch.  Planes are dirty.  
a protein bar for me, just in case!
 
If you’re traveling with a toddler you can add in/take away a few things from above… 
Organic lollipops!  now is the time to bend on your sugar rules.  This will help with ascent and descent, and they usually last a while.  
Toddler Headphones and an ipad stocked with movies/shows/games.  I recommend doing a media free couple days prior to the flight so they’ll be even more excited.  
I get a couple tiny toys as presents – sometimes the novelty of something new helps steer it away from a meltdown.  
window clings can be fun, water wow is great, magnetic fun, a new matchbox car have all worked well for us.  
snacks!  lots of snacks.  
Everything you want to know about flying with kids
 
Some additional tips:
For the toddler, prepare them.  Talk about how you are going on a flight and everyone must sit down for safety reasons.  Build it up what a treat it is and what you’ll see when you get there.  The more my toddler understood the rules the better he behaved.  
 
Adjust your expectations of all you want to do.  I sometimes advise people to take their kids to places they’ve already been and thus have seen most of the sites, or places they think they may take a trip back to one day.  Because you’ll be traveling with your children it’ll be slow travel, and you likely won’t see everything.  I love taking our kids to where we lived in Switzerland.  I don’t feel pressure to rush around and see everything, but just enjoy our old haunts with people we don’t get to see nearly enough.  
 
While I feel babies and infants can just go with the flow.  Seriously if you have one that’s not mobile yet, now is the time to travel.  They are the easiest little travelers in my experience.  Toddlers though… they need a little more structure.  I mix in some parks or some children centric activities in with whatever we’re seeing.  
 
My number one piece of advice is make sure to pack your perspective.  Hey you are lucky enough to be on a plane, traveling to some special place on this beautiful world … that is not just lucky enough, that is beyond.  Whatever challenges, or side eyes you encounter, remember how truly amazing it is to have these sort of experiences as a family, and enrich your lives in this way.  
 

Am I missing anything?  I’d love to hear your tips and tricks too!

6 Comments

  1. July 5, 2016 / 4:58 am

    This was a great post. I have travelled long haul a couple of times with my oldest child, but now I have 2 kiddies (4yr old and 1yr old). So there are a few thing you mentioned that I would’ve forgotten! πŸ™‚

  2. July 5, 2016 / 1:44 pm

    I’ve never flown with my kids, but these are great tips! Traveling with kids is fun and doable if you are prepared. Thanks for sharing at the Family Joy Link Party!

  3. July 6, 2016 / 9:54 pm

    I second the water wow! Window clings is a fun idea I hadn’t thought of ! And protein bars!! Moms always neglect themselves, but fueling yourself is so important!! Thanks for sharing at the Family Joy Linkup!

  4. July 8, 2016 / 2:30 am

    Such great tips – planning is so important! Thanks much for coming to Throwback Thursday and sharing!! πŸ™‚

    Mollie

  5. July 10, 2016 / 1:49 pm

    This is perfect! My baby will be 8 months when he takes his first long haul flight to Asia. Saved this post to my favourites, thanks!

  6. July 12, 2016 / 7:26 am

    As the mother of three that has flown 20+ times with young children, you’ve shared great tips. The idea of window clings is brilliant! Thanks for sharing at the #ThisIsHowWeRoll Link Party. Pinning Now.

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