Most people cringe at the thought of flying with their kids, especially if it is a long flight. I knew that when I moved to New York I would be making frequent flights to California to visit my family. I dreaded the day that I would have to do it with a baby, but within a few years baby number one was here and became a frequent flyer by two months.
I learned quickly that I can’t worry about what others may think when they see me push stroller to the gate. I would smile and tell myself to just do the best job I can.
My little guy has more sky miles than the average grown adult. I made a strong commitment to my family, myself and my kids that they would know, and I mean really know who all their family members are. My four-year old has an incredible bond with his two California cousins. When they get together, it as if no time has passed.
The time came and now I have two little ones to fly back and forth on this flight and have done it by myself several times already.
To me it is so worth the headache of packing, traveling, adjusting to the time zones and the financial costs to see my kids grow up and have solid relationships with family on both coasts. My fourteen month old is starting to recognize his west coast family. He even said, “bra yen” when he saw his cousin “Brayden” last week. It melted my heart.
So how do I do it? Here are some easy tips that will make traveling less stressful for everyone involved
Prior to flying
- Book a nonstop flight or limit layovers if possible.
- Pick a time that will coordinate with naps or bedtime.
- Go to a free website such as Yapta.com to check rates of flights. They will send you an email if the price has dropped, you can either book then or get a credit from your airline for a future flight.
- Sign up for frequent flyer miles or reward programs for yourself and the kids.
- Buy a seat for your child. If you think it will be too difficult to have a baby or toddler stay on your lap during a flight than just buy them a seat. The cost may be worth your sanity.
Packing a carry on bag
- Snacks, milk, formula, baby food, etc (You don’t want to be stuck on the tarmac or on a long flight without food.)
- Blankets, pillow, stuffed animal, something comfortable that the kids can lean on a snuggle up with.
- Extra clothes for both the kids and adults (Trust me, having a leaky diaper or vomit all of yourself isn’t pleasant.)
- iPads, DVD players, hand-held games-fully charged and with headphones (Put a new app on the tablet or buy a new movie, it will keep their interest)
- Over the counter medication. Kids can get sick anywhere, anytime.
- Lollipops, gum or pacifiers. This will help their ears during take off and landing.
- Cards, coloring books, small toys and games, to help keep them occupied.
- Antibacterial wipes. This is a must! I wipe down the entire seat, table, arm rest, window and seat belts. You don’t want your kids to pick up some awful germ and be sick during your trip or on your flight home.
- Strollers and car seats can be checked right at the gate. You can put it in a protective bag if you worry that it may get damaged.
- Baby carriers are a great way to be hands free while juggling the carry on bags and kids.
- Give your self extra time to get through security. You will have to put the stroller, car seat and all carry ons through the screening. They will also more than likely check your liquids (milk, formula, juice).
Children may have meltdowns, cry or have a hard time sitting still for a long period of time. Walk with them up and down the aisle and distract them with their surroundings. You will be surprised as to how many people love seeing kids and will try to make them laugh or smile with a silly face or a wave.
So be brave and book a trip with your kids. Make new memories with family and friends.