Friday, May 2, 2014

Tips for Traveling with Kids

 We love traveling with the kids, but I know it can be stressful for some, so I thought I would write a post about my top 5 tips for traveling with kids.

A friend told me about these when we were going to Ireland, and I have been using them ever since.  I love them for the airplane because you can put them on the tray table, and you don't have to worry as much about germs.  They are perfect for eating or playing.  I got a cars one for Jack a few years ago (it had a picture of a road), brought him some cars,  and it was a easy way to keep him busy on the airplane.  The edges are sticky so it will stay in place and when you are done you peel it off and throw it away.  They are also great for restaurants, it helps to minimize the mess babies and toddlers can make while eating :)

2. Bring everything you need!
We used to always fly Frontier, but with the amount of stuff you need to travel with kids, we only fly Southwest.  They will let you check 2 bags per person for free! (once your child turns 2 or if you decided to buy a ticket for a child under 2, they also get to check 2 bags).  
Baby items like a stroller or pack and play don't count against your 2 checked bags :)  

I always bring the kids carseats instead of renting them.  For Jack's, I will check it with our luggage, and Ella's I check at the gate.  I leave it right outside the plane door with her stroller and when we land, it's there waiting for us!  

Sometimes if the plane isn't too crowded the flight attendant will let you bring the carseat on the airplane and put it on the seat next to you.
They let me do that on Ella's first plane ride.  I wasn't planning on having my hands free since she was a lap child but she ended up sleeping in her carseat the entire time so I had nothing to do.  Traveling with a baby is way easier than traveling with a toddler or preschooler.

3. Snacks.  I always bring more snacks than I think Jack will eat.  You can never have enough!  Traveling takes kids away from their regular schedules, so even though he might not usually eat at that time, as long as I have food I know he will stay busy and happy.  Kids aren't used to so much walking and the huge airports can be exhausting.  Plus you never know with air travel, you could be delayed on or off the plane.  When you are on an airplane for over an hour more than you thought, you will be glad you had extra snacks.  I usually try to make sure Jack eats healthy, but when we travel I will allow him to eat junkfood. I know it isn't the time to test out Jack on sugar, but he did have Cheetos for the first time on an airplane :)

4. Backpack.
Jack was given a this rolling luggage a couple of years ago.  We only use it for traveling.  If I tell Jack we are going out of town the first thing he does is pack this bag :)

I let Jack pack whatever he wants in it (usually we end up bringing the most random things through security - so far no problems).  He brings toys and books to keep him busy.  If your child is too young to bring their own bag, and you are packing for them, try to bring new toys, or borrow toys from friends.  I think toddler aged kids are the hardest to travel with, because they want to get moving and won't sit still for too long, so new toys will keep them distracted longer than the toys they play with everyday.

5. Hand Sanitizer.  Airplanes are so dirty.  I always bring plenty of hand sanitizer and wipes.
I have been using these wipes for years.  It's so gross hearing people cough on a plane and really there is nothing you can do - especially if you are traveling around flu season.  Just make sure those little hands are clean, because they touch everything. 

Remember to Have fun!
 You are making memories.  Try not to stress too much, but enjoy your time traveling with little ones.  They will be big before you know it!

The best part of traveling with little kids is everything is so exciting for them.  When else do kids get to ride a bus, a train, and a plane in one day? 

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