Traveling can be stressful if you don’t do it often, but traveling with young children over the holidays is a whole new level of madness. My son took his first flight when he was four months old (looking back those flights was easy) and today he has been on 24 round-trip flights in less than six years.
Over the years people have shared tips and tricks and I’ve figured out a few of my own along the way.
My top ideas:
iPad/DVD Player – Even if you normally avoid/limit your child’s screen time, portable electronics come in handy when traveling. Make sure you upload new games and/or shows and I highly recommend bringing a back-up pair of headphones.
Surprise Gifts – Kids love getting presents so I recommend visiting your local dollar store or checking out the dollar bins at Target for some inexpensive gifts. Make sure you wrap the toys so they really feel like a present.
Travel Cups – These are a must for plane travel. Pack a couple empty cups. I really like The First Years Take & Toss cups (https://www.amazon.com/First-Years-Take-Spill-Proof-Straw/dp/B0054YZDWC). These ones are inexpensive, spill proof and you won’t be crushed if you leave them on the plane. Make sure to buy a bottle of water before boarding the plane. Drink service is never fast enough for a child.
Overnight Pull Ups/Diapers – This may seem strange if your child is out of diapers, but trust me and pack a couple. We’ve been stuck on the runway when my son was about to pee his pants and the pull up saved us. Helpful tip - Tear the sides and wrap the diaper around so they can go fast.
Ziploc Bags & Wet Wipes – Don’t pack an entire pack of wet wipes, they’re too heavy and take up too much room. The plastic bag also doubles as a trash container if you need one.
Clothes – Hopefully you won’t need an extra set, but it’s always smart to pack some.
Slip On Shoes & Extra Socks – It took me a while to realize sneakers are a pain to put on and off in airplane seats. I recommend putting kids in sandals or slip on shoes that are much easier. I also always pack an extra pair of socks for cold feet.
Carry On Bag - Invest in a rolling backpack for your child. You will thank me. I’ve been using this one from Pottery Barn for years – it fits perfectly under the seat, has plenty of storage space and it’s easy to roll.
Birth Records - Keep a copy of your child’s birth records somewhere safe.
Brand Your Child – Be safe and write your name and number on your child then seal the area with a liquid bandage (New Skin) so it doesn’t rub off.
Lastly, remember that no matter how bad the flight is or how poorly they behaved or cried, you will land and most likely never see the other passengers again!