And we’re off!
Well, we will be soon anyway.
This time all of us together… on an airplane. But it’s something we’re pretty used to. Each of our little ones have been riding those big metal crates in the sky since they were six weeks old. There are so many people who go flying with their young children, they even manage long flights with them as well (you can check out the top 10 longest flights in the World here if you are interested), if they can do it, then so can you. I’ve had them solo and we’ve traveled with others. And though I’m far from any expert on traveling, I do have a few little gems I can share with you. Gems that have helped wrap a cloak of sanity tight around us, insuring that we live and love to travel once again.
It’s helpful to note that children under two fly free. This doesn’t mean that they have their own seat, but rather, they are small enough to cuddle on your lap during the flight.
Know where you’re going.
Ok, it sounds a little strange, but what I mean is… Are you going to have a car where you’re going or are you going to be walking/using public transportation? It makes a difference. If you’re going someplace where you will have a car, then bringing a car seat with you is essential (renting them is an option, but a very expensive one.) My solution? I use our car seat/stroller combo and wheel it all the way up to the gate. This serves a few purposes. First, it serves to help carry our load of carry-ons while walking through the airport. Second, when you check it at the gate, you’re avoiding the fee for checked bags. Third, we usually ask if there are any extra seats available on the plane, and ask to be seated there. If there happens to be one, and your car seat is approved for flight, your babe can chill his way through the flight safely strapped into the seat next to you. But mostly? I just like having my stroller available up until we board the plane and the ability to use it again the moment we step out of the plane, and not pay a pretty penny to have it with us.
If I’m going to a location where I won’t be using a car, I still take the stroller and push it on my merry little way… all the way to the gate. I just leave the car seat at home. When I get to the gate, I ask the attendant at the counter for one gate-check tag, instead of the two I would use if I had the car seat and stroller, and leave it on the jetway as we board only to find it waiting for us as we deplane at our destination. (The gate check tag is just to make sure that the stroller get’s to the same location you do and back into your hands.)
Feed, feed, feed.
Feed your baby upon take-off and again upon landing if they’re awake. If your baby nurses, then nurse him. Takes a bottle? Then give him one. The sucking and swallowing helps to keep his precious little ears pressurized correctly and pain free. An added benefit is that it’s almost always put my babies to sleep, and many times they sleep through the entire flight due to the constant hum of the engines! If your little one is too old to nurse or for a bottle, try giving a sippy cup to drink or a piece of gum… I usually use the gum trick on myself. There’s nothing worse than ears that don’t pressurize correctly. Ouch! If you do find yourself in this predicament, try asking for a cup with a very hot, wet paper towel inside and hold the cup over your ear. The steam can sometimes help ease the pressure.
Choose your seats wisely.
Many times, once you book a flight, you can choose your seats online. Our favorites happen to be one of two choices. The bulkhead seats are great for giving extra room for lively littles. Bulkhead seats are the first row right behind First Class and usually have a carpeted wall in front of them. There is also usually more leg room, and if we sit here, I throw a blanket down on the floor once we’re in flight and give the kids a little play room at my feet. Plus, you can get off the plane just about as soon as it lands… you know, in case you’re ready to leave that trip behind you as quickly as possible.
Our other choice, and usually best for sleepier babes, is the very back of the plane. There’s a good chance that if there are any extra seats, this is where you’ll find them. And it’s loud back there, you’re right by the engines. A perfect place to help lull your little one off to dreamland… or drown out their cries.
Take a deep breath… and take your time.
Take your time making your way through all the checkpoints. There will be lines. There is a lot to take out, take off, fold up and place on a long rubber belt while you head through security. But remember, when you travel with little ones, it takes time. And a stressed mama stresses everyone out. Take a deep breath and then get in there and do what you need to do. People will help you. People will understand that you have to balance a babe on your hip with one arm while your free hand slips off your shoes and folds up the stroller. You’ll get through it, and hopefully with all of you smiling.
Wrap it up.
This tip comes straight from my travelin’ mama. Before you traipse across the country, raid the dollar bins at Target, or anywhere you can find a cheap gadget or toy, coloring book with crayons, or notepad and stickers, and wrap up a present ONLY TO BE OPENED ON THE PLANE. I like to give the present as we’re getting ready to leave the house, and the excitement and anticipation over a present in the hand can keep a smile on those little faces for quite some time. Want to take this tip to the next level? Wrap the gift up in a pillowcase that can add a little home comfort to a long flight or stale hotel room.
Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be hard… make it fun, laugh at inopportune times, sing silly songs. The more fun you pretend to have, the more fun you’ll start having, and your kids will have fun too!
And I’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg. There are so many amazing traveling mamas out there, who can do it so much better than I can, so I’ve rounded up a few links with some super hot tips:
Simple Mom ~ Traveling During The Holidays? 10 Tips For Making It Easier With Kids
My Charming Kids ~ Leaving On a Jet Plane
Simple Mom ~ How to Travel Long Distances with Little Ones (and not go insane)
Parenting.com ~ 18 Tips for Traveling with Baby
Oh! And don’t forget to order your very own FREE photo book by Monday! I just ordered mine.