You know what’s awesome? Traveling. You know what’s a little less awesome? Traveling with young kids.
Yes, they’re sweet and cute and all the good things, but let’s be honest, getting from Point A to Point B with young kids in tow can be tough. Especially on airplanes.
We just got back from our yearly Pittsburgh pilgrimage so the kids could check out mom’s hometown, and boy oh boy, it was an adventure.
There’s no one way to do it right, but I thought I’d share some simple things that work for us.
So today let’s talk toddler (and baby) travel tips!
1 – First things first — and this is the most important — keep you expectations low.
I promise you, the whole plane sees you carrying that 6-month-old baby down the aisle and they know what babies do. They cry. And they poop. Sometimes at the same time. So lean into the reality of the situation and take it easy on yourself. You have a baby on a plane! It could go really well! And it could get really hairy. So drop the expectation that you have to have a perfectly-behaved young child on a flight. I find most people to be pretty understanding… and even if they’re not, there’s nothing you—or they—can do about it.
2 – Snacks. Allllll the snacks.
As a rule of thumb, I pack about three times the number of stackable foods I might think we need. Then I add more. For us, with three kids, this usually is two Ziploc bags full of fruit snacks, animal crackers, lollipops, kettle corn, and beef jerky. Pretty much the grosser YOU think it is, the better your kids will think it is.
3 – Download *before you go. (And download lots.)
If you have an iPad or another device your kids are going to be using on the plane or even in the car, make sure you download several episodes of their favorite TV show as well as some movies, because airport WiFi is about as reliable as a pleasure cruise on the Titanic.
And when it comes to what you’re downloading, too much is never enough. There is a time and place for enforcing restrictions on electronics….. and this is NOT the time. And don’t forget the headphones!
We’ve found this case to be best for little hands–it’s easy to hold and protects the iPad if it drops. Because let’s be honest, it will drop.
4 – Make friends with the flight attendant.
They are the guardians of the pretzels. And the bathrooms. Just sayin.
5 – Do the shuffle.
If you’re traveling with your partner, switch up seats at some point during the flight. Kids like a change in scenery, and that includes the face that is sitting next to them the whole flight, telling them to sit down.
That’s it! My simple tips for flying with young kids.