Traveling with a baby is a handful. If you choose a road trip, you are stuck in the car… feeling guilty for the little one strapped into their 5 point harness, stopping every hour to feed or change a diaper, and using every trick in the book to keep him from crying. If you fly, you’re trapped in a germ infested space, praying your kid’s ears don’t hurt, and once again, using every trick in the book to keep him from crying. Either way, when you travel with babies, you better have a lot of tricks.
Toddlers are much easier, they just want an adventure and entertainment. Still, not the relaxing travel of newlywed life, but much less stressful. So, with that, know that there is hope to one day climb on a plane and be able to actually pull out a magazine or order a coke.
When you travel with little ones, the first step is to book a flight that works well with sleep schedules. If it doesn’t work out that way, the day you travel try to readjust nap times for a better fit. I always try to leave in the late-morning or early afternoon to give myself more time to gather all the luggage, car seats, strollers, kids, snacks, etc. On our recent trip, our flight left at 12:30pm. This was great for us, because Jonah was able to take his morning nap in his own bed and needed to eat right about that time (it is best to give babies a bottle on the way up in an airplane- it helps the ears to pop as needed.)
We drove ourselves to the airport because of all of our stuff- it is just crazy all the stuff you have to bring for 4 days with two little ones. If you have someone who can bring you, I would suggest that because it is an extra hand getting everything inside. Otherwise, use your airports parking company. The shuttle drivers collect tips and they are more than willing to help you with all your stuff. We used Fine Airport Parking and they were a huge help! My kids were SOO excited, even Jonah was bright-eyed about our adventure! Norah kept saying, “We have to find the green bus, number 4.” She told everyone that was waiting for the shuttle too, little did they know she was referring to her Dora the Explorer book that we have read only 1,500 times. 🙂
When you check in, you will need a birth certificate or passport for your kids. Ooops, we didn’t bring either for Jonah because he would be on our laps. After a little scare, the Southwest lady kindly told us that she would put him through to our destination but that we would need to provide the documentation in order to bring him home. Leave Jonah on the Mexico border?… No, thanks.
When you go through security, kids don’t have to take their shoes off… but your stroller does have to be scanned. We brought our single BOB since we would be on the beach and Norah loves to ride on the front of it while Jonah plays with her hair, only problem is that a BOB doesn’t fit through the scanner. They had to scan it with a wand, which took a little while. They also have to test any milk/water that you bring for baby. They just have you open the bottle and they wave a little strip over the top of the bottle. Every time, the process has been painless, just time-consuming. Always allow EXTRA time when traveling with a baby.
As far as boarding goes, they do have early boarding for families. When you have assigned seats, I would definitely forgo this so-called amenity and wait as long as possible. It is only more time to keep a baby entertained in a very confined space. We were traveling with Southwest this time, so we got on as soon as possible to make sure that we could all sit together. Norah would have been crawling under seats to find Daddy if she had to sit just with me and visa versa. We were very excited to be able to travel to South Padre with Josh’s family. The kids loved peaking over the seats, pulling Pop’s hair, and visiting Jen and Tori when it was too boring to just sit with us.
This is how you feel when you travel with little ones 😉
Norah’s ears were hurting by the end of the flight and Jen had the great idea to break out the travel tooth brushes to get her to swallow and help her ears pop. Don’t know if it worked, but it was a great distraction and Norah loved it!
As soon as we got off the plane in Houston, I loaded Jonah into the stroller and took off walking. Josh took Norah to get lunch and find a potty. Divide and conquer- can’t imagine traveling with two all by myself. There would have been a lot more tears!
It was nap time and since neither of my kids fall asleep in my arms, the stroller was my only hope of getting him to sleep. Thankfully, he is used to napping in the BOB during our long runs. He was out within 10 minutes and slept peacefully, while I met Josh and the family up for some lunch in the airport.
The second flight went great too, but we did do all of the following in a 50 minute flight: watched Dora, colored, ate 3 different snacks, went potty, listened to music with Daddy’s ear phones, watched Peppa Pig (travel with an Ipad), looked outside, pointed to everything we could see out the window, tried to take a nap, sang songs, colored more, fed Susie (Norah’s treasured baby), put Susie to sleep, looked at airplane magazines, tore up magazines, and went potty one last time. EVERY trick in my bag.
On the way home, Daddy took Jonah for a walk in the airport to get him to sleep and Mommy and Norah got to play. It really was an adventure and it made me so happy to see her excitement over everything! She loved riding the “television”- the moving walkway. We have no idea why she was calling it that, but it was too cute to correct! 🙂 We literally rode it 15 times, and the security guard finally gave Norah a police sticker so that everyone knew she was “authorized” to ride it as much as she wanted. Too precious!
On our final flight into Tulsa, it was all elderly people and families with young children. No polite business men travel on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. As we walked back to our seat, I heard three different elderly people sigh and mutter, “I have NEVER seen this many babies on a flight before.” If you are traveling without children, please keep your thoughts to yourself. You have no idea the preparation, stress, and selflessness that goes into traveling with babies. As you get to sit there, read your newspaper, sip your coffee, and maybe even close your eyes- all the moms and dads on the plane are searching frantically for the next best thing to keep their kid entertained, all to avoid the evil glare you shoot their way when baby lets out a wimper. Next time you see a baby on a flight, smile and look for your opportunity to pick up a dropped toy or play peek-a-boo from across the aisle. You have no idea the blessing you could be!
My two little travelers were wonderful and I couldn’t be more proud of both them and my husband and I :). We actually enjoyed our flights and made it through with zero tears. We didn’t lose any toys or blankies and we made it home with a toddler asking, “Can we go airport tomorrow?”My TOP 10 NECESSITIES for airplane travel:
1. CAMELBAK KIDS– water cup for kids, doesn’t leak at all.
2. MUNCHIE MUG– this snack cup is awesome! I put nuts in it before we left the house and none spilled in my bag.
3.BOTTLE- make sure it is hot before you get on the plane so that baby can drink it on the way up. Or if you’re brave and BF, bring a Hooter Hider.
4. Comfort Items- a favorite blankie, pacifier, or toy. If you bring pacifiers- bring like 4 because they disappear at the most inconvenient times.
5. Diaper/Wipes/Changing Pad or extra Panties- the necessities for everyday life.
6. SNACKS- Plum Puffs or Yogurt Melts were great for Jonah because they take him a long time to pick up and eat- providing additional entertainment. For Norah, we brought “Space Food” because she was convinced we were going to space. This was so fun and made it feel even more like a great adventure.
7. Buy a WATER for yourself- you most likely won’t get to stop at Starbucks or get a Coke on board, get your caffeine fill at home and gulp some water down for whenever you get a chance.
8. SANITIZER- planes, airports, public restrooms are all yucky.
9. Ipad or Iphone or Ipod Touch- something with favorite TV shows or interactive games. It is worth paying for a couple of movies or games to download!
10. CAMERA- it is an adventure, be sure to document it!