Remember back before you had kids, going on a flight was fun. You packed your headphones, a book, your favorite snack. There was probably one of those blow up neck pillows somewhere in your bag. You were able to fit all the clothes you would need in your rolling carry-on suitcase and had that awesome travel purse – all so you wouldn’t have to deal with checked luggage. You lounged and people watched in the terminal waiting for your flight. Then you wandered on the plane when your boarding zone was called. You ignored the flight attendant giving the seat belt demonstration. Your only worry was if the people sitting next to you would encroach into your space over the arm rest or try to talk your ear off. Those were the good old days. Now you have kids and none of that is going to happen. So I have 10 Tips for Flying with Kids. I asked some experts for their advise. By experts I mean moms who have actually traveled with their kids and survived. There are tips for flying with kids from new born on up, so fingers crossed there will be at least one to get you through your next flight.
Prepping for the Trip
- Get the kids excited: This is a tip from me. When I have to introduce something new to my daughter I get her excited about it. For months we will talk about it, watch shows or read books that focus on it. We have even been pretending to go on flights when we play. She packs her little back pack with what she would need, then we pretend to go through check in, strap ourselves into the couch and watch a movie while flying on a plane.
- Reduce carry-on bags to a minimum: Carly from Mom Of Two Little Girls recommends you reduce your carry-ons to just the absolute essentials. I agree! There is no way you can coral your kid with any kind of authority while toting luggage like a Sherpa. Check out my post on The Ultimate Packing List: Mom’s Carry-on to get a handle on what to pack in your carry-on.
- Change of clothes for everyone: Ashely from Tales of Mommyhood recommends packing a full change of clothes for everyone who is traveling in your carryon. I can’t agree more. Sure, it is going to limit the number of paperback novels you can get in the bag. But you can’t wear a paperback when your kid spills their milk box in your lap.
- Download their favorite movies: Jennifer from You Pinspire Me recommends that you download the kid’s favorite shows before you leave. This is a pro mommy level move. Especially if you do it on the tablets and the phones. You never know when your going to need a distraction and won’t have wifi to run Hulu.
- Book your flights at nap time: Lacy from Lacy G recommends booking your flights to land in naptimes. This is going to be a great help because (fingers crossed) they are going to sleep through as much of the flight as possible. Since our flight is going to be so long I booked it for overnight. Fingers crossed she just sleeps right thru!
While You Are Flying
- Bassinet Seats: Kilraz from Mommy Dil told me about bassinet seats. I had no idea that if you are traveling with a small baby you can request a bassinet seat. I think you have to pay since they wouldn’t be a baby in arms. But a whole seat with a bassinet you can put them down in to stretch, sleep, change diapers would be awesome on a longer flight. If your kid is older you can get a ‘leg up net’. They sell them on Amazon or in baby stores. It is a net that stretches from the kid’s seat to the seatback in front of them. It keeps things from falling to the floor, and gives the kids a way to stretch out a bit when they fall asleep. (From what I can find on these little nets of gold they are not provided by airlines so make sure to buy one and stick it in your purse.)
- Pack Surprises: Jennifer from 1 Heart 1 Family recommends packing surprises. This is a great tip. I had planned on packing all her favorite snacks and a few of her favorite books but adding in some surprises would be even better. Nothing will distract my daughter like a brand new coloring book and a bag of cookies she doesn’t normally get. Save the favorites for when your both at the end of your rope.
- Request bulkhead seats: Lotus from Mommy to Max recommends choosing bulkhead seats for your flight. You get more leg room, so you don’t have to worry about the kids kicking the chair in front of them, or they could stand up for a minute to relieve some of the energy. This one you might have to check with the airline your flying on – incase the bulkhead seat is the same as the escape seats.
- Lollipops: Caitlin from Real Mom Recs recommends lollipops. When the kids suck on the pops it will help pop their ears and relieve the pressure. I was terrified of giving Mermaid gum. We have made it to 4 without her knowing of its existence and I didn’t want that to change. (Don’t be judgy I have 4 pets all with long hair. You want to get a wad of gum off a hundred-pound german shepherd? Because I don’t.)
- Bring their security blanket/ toy: This one is from me. Even though your trying to keep the carry-on luggage down, make sure to pack the one thing that is going to make your little one feel secure when they are on the plane. Especially if this is their first flight. Remember this is a big deal for them and they have no idea what to expect or what is going to happen. Bonus points for you if you can find an identical one to take – that way the original and most important toy is left safe at home.
Bonus Tips For When You Get There
- Use the buddy system: Sybil from Mamas and Coffee recommends using the buddy system when your out and about on your trip. Pair an older kid with a younger one to prevent a home alone moment.
- Be Flexible: Yashy from Baby and Life traveled for 5 months continuously with a 3 and a 5 year old. She says to make plans, but if someone needs a longer rest, or more time at an attraction just go with it. Being flexible is the best way to make sure everyone gets to enjoy the trip.