Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Needed: Advice On Traveling With Kids...

Oh my lands, are we completely nuts?

I've just booked the flights and condo reservation for our very first voluntary destination family trip. That'd be my husband and I...and our 3 yr old and a 19 month old.

Are we completely nuts?

Yup, but we are bound and determined to have a grand ole time making memories as a family of four. We're going somewhere sunny so I'm hoping for days playing in the pool and catching rays, early bedtimes for the kidlets and take-out 'n DVD date nights with the hubby. There are also a few family and friends we will also hopefully see and maybe maybe I'll get some shopping in!? One can only hope.

SO, being that this will be the very first time our kids are on an airplane....I need your help. Your advice. Your warnings.

So lay it on me folks. Please give me some practical advice on flying with young kids...



  1. Oh good heavens, girl. No, totally kidding. We went to Hawaii when my oldest was 4 and my middle was 19 months, and we had a ball! Lots of sun and sand, and we knew ahead of time that we would need to be flexible around naptimes and such. Our flight was 5 hours {I think}. I packed the DVD player, mini puzzles, crayons and coloring books, etc. and they still got a little antsy. But that's to be expected, no? You are going to have so much fun!!

  2. I've flewn overseas with both kids when they were 1 1/2 and 7 (altogether it took over 14 hrs including layovers from SEA to Germany). Both kids had busy bags and I loaded up on juice boxes, snacks etc. Depending on how long your flight is you might want to think about bringing a portable DVD player. Also, check with the airline if they can give you a family friendly seat (I was able to get a fold-down "bed" for the little one and a seat with extra space to move around in). Needless to say it was hard on me but altogether the kids did alright. Special blankies and cuddle buddies are a must! I bought them special goodies that they were allowed to open as soon as we were waiting to board - worked wonders. Have a great trip (breathe a lot and keep adult beverages handy).

  3. DVD player and LOTS of snacks to eat:) Try to sit where your kids can have the window seat and you the aisle (or middle) that way they are a little more "contained" and can look out the window:)and the sticker books from Costco are awesome (I know I don't have to twist your arm to go to Costco:)Also, last time we flew I was going to take our carseat on for Max to sit in, I thought it would help him sit still better, but they would NOT let me take it on (they were actually pretty rude about it):(

  4. I've flown 4 times with my 18 month old - and this last was the hardest! Here's what I've learned:

    1. Sit in the back. There's more white noise, which makes it easier for the kiddos to sleep AND when the seat belt sign is off, there's more room for them to stretch/walk about by the restrooms in the back!

    2. Schedule a red eye if you can or one leg of your trip around nap time.

    3. It's not a crime to give your child Benedryl before a flight. It helps them sleep and actually helps their ears.

    4. Make a big deal about drinking juice/eating when your take off - it reduces ear pain!

    5. Quiet books rock - noisy music toys do not.

    6. Take a stroller to the gate! It helps so much traveling between gates during can put the kids in, OR the baggage. Also, get a stroller you don't mind being destroyed if you can afford it. We have a second hand stroller for the express purpose of travel. (My husband's family is all way far away out of state - so we'll be traveling to see them a lot)

    7. Don't be afraid to ask at the gate if their are any empty seats. I asked once and we were able to put our 1 year old in a seat on her own -- without paying for it! Not to mention the wonder of having their own seat will occupy them for AT LEAST 7 minutes. :)

    I think that's it. If I think of more, I'll let you know! :) It's a tad intimidating, for sure!

  5. Pack a bag of surprises. The books that have magnets are awesome.
    Just make sure they don't see it beforehand!

  6. We are flying out to Seattle over Labor Day, so let me know how it goes for you! I think Nolan will still be pretty easy but it's still an adventure!

  7. My best tip is to push your biggest stroller right up to the gate and check it there. They let you push it right to the very door of the plane, you grab your kids and carry-ons and you're good to go! I ALWAYS travel with my big double and it makes me so much more relaxed when I'm not carrying everything. Seriously. If you have seats for them, like purchased separate tickets, I'd even consider clipping the carseats by the top buckle to the stroller and then your kids will be STRAPPED DOWN. Done that, too. Makes for a calmer flight if they're not constantly in your lap. And then all the stuff to interest them - new small books and toys, cups and snacks. It really is fun if you prepare well and don't stress and relax and just enjoy it.

  8. Sadly, I don't have any advice because we've never been crazy enough to undertake something like this but... ;=) I see a LOT of great advice here and I'll be waiting to hear how it goes! Oh, and I'll send up extra prayers for you when I find out when you're going, too. ;-)

  9. We fly with all 3 of our regularly. Hubby's parents live in MI we live in OR. We had 3 kids within four years, so we always get lots of looks. Here are my tips:

    1: If you have an ergo, USE IT. Little chick can be in this when you go through security and until you get into the plane. We are still using ours when we fly with a 35lb 2 year old.

    2: Fill special carry ons for each of your kids, snack, colors, DVD's, stickers, ect. Don't let them look in the carry on until the flight takes off.

    3: Don't expect too much from your kiddos. They are kids and are going to act like kids. Their behavior is never 100% predictable so don't expect more than you normally do.

    4: Fly with drugs, Benedryl, Tylenol, Dramamine(if they can have it). It's better to have it and use if need be, than spend 5 hours wishing you had something.

  10. My two "bits"...

    They will be how they will be.. good or bad.. no matter what "stuff" you bring. There's not a whole lot you can do about it at 35,000 feet. Keeping a positive attitude is KEY!!

    COMMUNICATE with Lance A LOT! Having you both on the same page when juggling things at the airport is key, too! You can't be over planned when traveling with kids!

    HAVE FUN!! It will all be just fine!!

  11. A lot is gonna depend on your kiddos personalities, how much sleep they've had, what time of day and how long your flight is. Oh, maybe attitudes too? Ha ha. Luke will sit and watch movies, but Natalie will not.
    Last September we flew from Portland to Disneyland. Not a long flight but long enough. My kids LOVE to eat. Bring food. Not just snacks, real food. We did that on the way home and it was soooo much easier than the flight down.
    Girly didn't nap on the way there. Even though it was naptime. Too much going on. I made friends with the flight attendants 'cause I stood in the back for like ... 45 minutes! One of the flight attendants had 7 children. He totally got it. Super nice.

    I used my double stroller to the gate. DVD player. Food. Tylenol.

    And ... decide if you wanna board early or not. My girl is so active I wanna keep her moving around until I HAVE to sit.
    Just remember - eventually your flight will end!
    There's tons of great advice in the previous comments. We don't fly with our kids much, so I tend to get a little nervous. But, our trip was SO. MUCH. FUN! It was completely worth standing in the back of the plane holding a tired and squirmy one year old :)

  12. We haven't flown with our boys for quite some time, but we do 18-hour-drives back to Washington with some regularity, so we know a little about traveling! My kids' favorite part of traveling (besides the DVDs, of course) are the snack bags I pack. They each have their own small backpack that I load up with lots of mini-ziplocks with different snacks -- one with goldfish crackers, another with raisins, another with m&ms -- and I let them choose a bag every so often so that the supply lasts until arrival. You could also do the same with a toy bag. Good luck and happy travels!

  13. I've never flown with my kids, but did just move and drove 10 hours in the car by myself with them. I found sticker books and fun things to keep Isaac entertained at Target in their $1 bins. There are a lot of deals on crayola stuff right now since it's "back to school" time. As other have said, I'm sure DVDs would help. My friend, who just took her kids on a 2 week road trip, creates activity binders for her kids. They are a little older, Kindergarten thru 4th grade, but they were really cool. All about the sites they were seeing, pages to color, journaling pages, etc. I hope to do that when my kids get older. Sorry, I didn't help much with the advice thing. Hope it goes well and you guys have a wonderful family vacation!

  14. Agree with the aforementioned - my top notes:

    1. Can't bring liquids, but can bring two empty sippies to fill with water once inside the airport. As mentioned, drinking (and chewing/swallowing snacks) during take-off and descent ease ear pain.
    2. Bring that stroller, but FYI, you'll probably have to fold it up to put it through the x-ray machine, along with everyone's shoes and everything else that you bring; DVDs, laptops, knives (;-) must be taken out of cases to be run through the machine separately, so don't bother to *carefully* pack them until after you've gone through security.
    3. Snacks. Specials snacks. Lots of them. But beware those that melt or get messy ;-)
    4. Carseats are allowed and encouraged, but some carseats don't fit in the seat. Check the website or your carseat to see if it's airline approved. It is much nicer to strap them in because holding a wiggly kid gets old fast.
    5. Do ask at the check-in if there's an extra seat for your "lap" baby. More room is always good.
    6. We prefer seats closer to the front because those are the first to get OFF the plane, but yes, the bathrooms are in the back, and it seems like there are more kids in the back than the front.
    7. Check the airport itself for a kids' center - Seattle is AWESOME.

    It's not so bad - I take Peyton and Lauren once or twice a year and we've never had a bad experience. Yeah, there were moments, but overall it always goes fine :-)

  15. My daughter is nearly 3, and I've flown a couple times per yr with her, usually by myself. Be careful of the expectation that your kids will sleep during normal nap/bedtimes. I've known a lot of people who that hasn't worked out so well.

    Cut down on potty breaks by packing snacks like fruit rather than crackers and salty snacks that encourage drinking.

    A DVD player is a must for us, stickers are great. Maybe take them to the Dollar store and let them pick out a few small special toys for the plane.


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