Hear from a few ladies who have rocked the airport scene with toddlers in tow. Joining me today is Carrie from the blog Waiting with Joy - launching in January! Between Carrie and I, we have taken nearly 100 flights with our children. Below are just a few tips that make it work for us.
Food - a key to keeping everyone happy is making sure no one is hungry
- Map out any airports on your trip and even print out a terminal and restaurant map. This will help you quickly get a meal for your family, including bottled water, chicken nuggets, or even frozen yogurt as an extra treat to ensure a smoother time in the terminal. - Shannon, The Scribble Pad
- My husband and I have always brought with us snack foods, including crackers, fruit, etc., and also brought extra drinks including milk, juice and water. We try to make anything we bring easy to unpack, something that isn't messy. - Carrie, Waiting with Joy
- Bringing liquids through TSA - I have had the best luck when all of the baby/toddler items are backed in their own insulated lunch tote (with an ice pack) and placed in their own bin on the security conveyor belt. Any time I have deviated from this plan, I have faced trouble. - Shannon, The Scribble Pad
- We don't bring the carseat on the plane because it was MUCH too difficult to carry with us. My daughter rotated between sitting next to one of us or in between us. We try to stay close to the middle or back of the plane and we wait until others have deplaned before getting off because it is an EVENT to get three of us, plus all of our gear, off of the plane. - Carrie, Waiting with Joy
- I once learned the hard way that not all flights pre-board families. I was flying solo with my son, loaded up and standing at the gate (basically blocking traffic) and was the last section to board. Now I always ask the gate agent if they plan to pre-board families. - Shannon, The Scribble Pad
- Even when our son has his own seat, we hold him for take off and landing. Note: we have not yet tried bringing the car seat on board! - Shannon, The Scribble Pad
- First, don't try to keep your kids silent. Accept that the people around you are not as offended as you likely are mortified. Most people who travel frequently, have done it with kids before or seen kids far worse than yours. - Shannon, The Scribble Pad
- Coloring books, DVD players, iPad, games....you name it, I would bring it. I always want a variety in case the unthinkable happens! - Carrie, Waiting with Joy
Carry-ons - strollers, car seats, suitcases, oh my!
- We have always gate checked our strollers and we have a couple of large carry on bags that my husband and I both carry. We always have snacks, drinks, extra clothes, extra diapers (when she was in them), lots of baby wipes... - Carrie, Waiting with Joy
- We have learned the value in checking bags (and having less carry-ons) in our recent trips. As our son has become more mobile, we have found less bags to be helpful, so any time we can fly JetBlue we take advantage of the first bag flying free. We also have packed a larger piece of luggage to check instead of two roller carry-ons even when we had to pay for them. Containing our gear to what fits on/around the stroller is a huge perk for me. - Shannon, The Scribble Pad
- The most valuable item I now pack is a change of clothes for me - typically just leggings and a t-shirt so it is compact - because having a toddler on your lap or in arms for a cross country flight leaves you messy, disheveled, and even a bit sweaty, not to mention the potential for spills and accidents. A fresh shirt can make all the difference when you land. - Shannon, The Scribble Pad
Thanks for reading. I hope this post has helped a few of you prepare for upcoming holiday travel. If you have any other tricks up your sleeves, I'd love for you to continue the conversation in the comments!
Our family has traveled quite a bit with Behr. You might want to check out our baby travel and airport food guides. Psst - check back later this week for a post about my favorite iPhone/iPad apps for kids and next week for the road trip edition.
Other helpful posts about flying with children:
and one more, less about the flight, more about what to pack, and how to survive at your destination: