Traveling with Kids 101: Flying with babies and toddlers

WHEW!

The holiday season is in full swing. And that means many things for many people, but for our family, it means TRAVEL.

With my husband’s family half way across the country in Minnesota, we have always spent Thanksgiving in CT and Christmas in MN. This year’s trip marked my three-year old’s 8th round trip flight, and my 7-month old’s 1st. I didn’t go on my FIRST flight until I was 6.  These kids will be pros by then!

Traveling with two kids was tough…but was (thankfully!) not twice the work of traveling with just one. Here are the tips we have put together for anyone thinking of making a family journey with little ones!

  • CHECK bags. Even if you have to pay to do so. Before kids, my husband and I took pride in our ability to pack for several days in a carry-on bag and not have to check bags. It saved time and money. Its not worth the savings with kids. We recently got an airline credit card so we can check everything (up to three bags total, since Nate has his own seat, too) for free.
  • Use backpacks only for carry-ons. I once tried bringing a diaper bag on the plane and quickly learned I didn’t have enough hands for a purse, diaper bag, carry-on, and a baby. Backpacks=Free hands!
  • Bring empty sippy cups through security. Trust me, they have juice on the other side 🙂 Yes. Technically, you can bring juice for a child through security (under the “baby food” allowance it’s accepted even if it exceeds the 3.4 oz limit if you have a baby/toddler). But I’ve had TSA tell me to dump it. I don’t want to miss my flight because I was arguing with a TSA agent. You want to see a screaming 18 month old? Take away the sippy of juice he was drinking, take his shoes off and walk toward strangers. Not worth it, in my experience anyway.
  • Bring more snacks than you think you need. We once spent an hour and a half sitting on the runway while the planes were de-iced. Elmo cheese crackers are only appealing for so long.
  • Buy diapers at your destination! The first time I flew with Nate he was two months old. I packed a week’s worth of diapers. Then it hit me- you can buy diapers pretty much ANYWHERE! Just pack enough for the trip (with a few extra).
  • Choose your seat carefully. We always try for the very front of the cabin (first off, so less screaming as your pulling into the gate and potentially waiting on a stopped plane for some time) or the very back (near the bathrooms, and the loud engine drowns out any screams).

I’d LOVE any tips from others!! It’s always an adventure flying with young children…but I’ve learned that even with two, it’s still do-able!