Since we’ve survived road trips and plane rides with two under two, I’ve come up with the best tips for traveling with children that will leave you feeling at ease. I now consider myself an expert mom traveler since everyone survived.
Perk number one of flying with kids- no one wants to sit by you on the plane!
This summer our family had to travel from St.Louis to New Jersey, this trip meant a 3 hour plane ride + a two hour drive. Our travel day fell on this little guys 1st birthday -bad mom but we were going for a family wedding. His big brother had just turned 2, two months before.
Plane Travel Tips
- Before you Board
- Bring birth certificates (but check with your airlines for any other requirements)
- For the busy toddler- Have a backpack filled with their favorite goodies that they can wear. I always put their name, age, and my phone number on a piece of paper and stick it in the front pocket. This is a great idea for an emergency type need.
- If you have a little one who can’t walk I would definitely baby-wear- you can wear your baby through the security lines. Plus if you need to get up and walk around on the plane it can keep you hands free and give your little one comfort being close. I love our Ergo 360 because the little can face out when awake and happy or towards mom if they need a nap.
- Check your car seats & use these backpack bags to cover/carry. You can rent, but I felt better knowing ours were accident free and clean!
- Gate check your stroller – I purchased this large bag that fits our double City Select so the stroller wouldn’t get damaged-if you need a good stroller this is it
- Carry On
- This Logan and Lenora is my favorite mom bag- its stylish, waterproof, huge, has pockets and you can toss it in the washer. I’ve had about 10 bottles leak in here but the milk is safely trapped in the pocket! AMAZING! If you want something smaller this is my favorite back pack bag!
- Pack all the snacks you can possibly fit in your carry on.
- Bring a water canister so you can just refill at the airport- you can also get warm water before you board if you need it for a bottle.
- Pack an extra set of clothes for everyone traveling in your party – yes everyone! In a small space a blowout can take out the whole family! I had the hubs bring a backpack for the clothes.
- Activities we packed had to be small and not make any noise. More on this below.
- Take Off & Landing
- If you are flying with a baby try to feed them a bottle during take off and landing – this will help with their ears popping.
- For older kids (gum) but with our toddlers we gave them something to drink and offered food. Anything to keep them chewing and swallowing will help.
- My mom is the most prepared person on the earth and ordered us these heat packs for the boys if their ears hurt you put it behind them.
- Keeping the Kids Busy
- For this trip we purchased this tablet and headphones- make sure to charge and download shows before you leave for your trip. My son had never used a tablet before and loved it!
- Two and older need a seat so we had 3 together, but take advantage of boarding early so you can all sit together if your seats aren’t assigned.
- I loaded up on NEW inexpensive toys for the boys so they would be excited for something they haven’t played with before. A MUST HAVE IS THESE for toddlers – just ordered because they are mess free and look so fun!
- Reusable stickers
- The Rest of the Plane
- Everyone has heard a baby cry, and no one hates you! They will survive its only a few hours out of their day!
- Both times the boys flew for the first time we made little goodies bags for passengers around us and the flight crew. Its an easy way to break the ice with everyone around you! Here is the note we included!
- Biggest tip for the plane is – DO NOT STRESS. This picture was taken by the passenger behind us ha – He sent it out on Snapchat.
Car travel tips
- Leave either at night or 30-60 min before nap time.
- We only like to stop if we have time to get out of the car and play/run for at least an hour, if not its like wrestling an alligator to get them back in their seats.
- If we do have time to stop- my husband will drop us at a park or school playground, then he goes to get food & gas. We have a little picnic and burn some energy before getting back in the car.
- Make sure you have sun shades and mirrors on the back of their seats.
- If you have a third row, put one adult back there or between the kids. Now this person is obviously going to have to be the most patient adult on the trip.
- What to Pack
- A cooler even for short trips and load up on drinks and snacks. I would rather push through a trip than stop for drinks.
- Anything special that they sleep with.
- Cookie sheets to use as a tray for drawing. You can also pack magnets to play with on these!
- Kenentic sand for the cookie sheet
- Reusable stickers
- Crayons and paper
- Lots and lots of books. I think we read 100 books during our last trip 4 hour trip that turned into a 7 hour trip with traffic and a few wrong turns! Here are our favorite books!
- Water Wow is a huge favorite with our boys!!
- Balloons – ladies load up on these! I always have these in my car and stroller. We blow up and let them go then you can tie them to play with and easily toss them when you are done!
- Water bottles filled with glitter, buttons, etc are fun inexpensive toys to make last second that will help keep them entertained.
- Sing your heart out- my boys think my singing is HILARIOUS so download all your fav toddler songs and sing them on repeat!
- We recently got to borrow tvs from my brother and sister in law- game changer! We also have one of these tablets but being on the headrest is easier for little ones. That Amazon tablet always goes on sale- comes with some crazy replacement perks and freebies!
Just remember that everyone will survive the trip…hopefully!
What are your best tips for staying sane when traveling with littles?