Our first flight with our son was rough to put it gently. We were hustling through the airport with a stroller, car seat and way too many bags all stuffed to the brim. When we got to the gate, we rushed to get on the plane first. We packed all of our belongings away in the overhead bin and below the seats and as our son started to fuss, we quietly told him shh and bounced him. By the time the flight took off we had a whaling baby who progressively got worse as the flight continued. I learned a lot from that first flight and since our son has racked up quite a few frequent flyer miles which has allowed me to come up with a travel plan that takes the stress out of traveling with kids.
Your Guide to Flying with Kids
1) Organize your carry on bag and only bring what you really need. I organize mine with 3 reusable or plastic grocery bags inside. This gives me quick access to what I’m looking for, helps me stay organized and avoid frustration. Diapers, wipes and back-up outfit are loose but everything else is organized like this:
- snacks, I bring a variety including a special treat (Mini Oreo’s)
- toys (more details on this later)
- small cooler for milk(you can bring milk through security) or if your kids don’t drink milk anymore, bring their empty sippy cup and buy them something once you get through security before you get on the plane.
2) Be the last to get on the plane. If you get on first, you are adding an additional 30-45 minutes to the flight. Instead, let your little one walk laps up and down the airport with you. It’s good exercise for you and this will help burn off some of their energy.
Tip: If you are traveling with two parents one can get on the plane and get “set up” while the other walks the airport with the kid/s.
3) Give them a drink at take off and landing. This will help with the pressure in their ears.
4) Bring a lot of small toys including one that’s NEW. Here are toys that have worked great for us:
- Crayons & paper
- Small books that make noise, have shiny objects or puppets inside
- Play dough and play dough stampers
- Blocks or medium sized Legos
- Stacking toys
- iPad (most airlines have a free kids movie you can watch from your ipad)
- Small race car
- Interactive boards
Tip: For the new toy, go to the dollar section and buy a toy you don’t mind losing under the seat.
5) Be prepared to entertain your kids the whole flight. If you really want to enjoy the flight, you are going to have to engage and play with your kids. So go into the flight with that mind set. Unless they fall asleep, you probably wont be resting, sleeping or reading.
6) Let the little things slide. On the plane is not the time to sweat the small stuff. If they want to stand or walk up and down the aisle once or twice, let them. If they want to open and close the window shade, let them. The other passengers would prefer a little movement over listening to a screaming kid the whole flight.