June 22, 2011

When Traveling in Planes with Small Children

We're sitting on a plane traveling from San Diego to Colorado Springs with Danny sitting between the two of us (well at least we were when I composed this post) and my mind is on all of the tricks and tips I've remembered from our many travels so I thought I'd share them with you. We're a travelin' family. We take road trips, plane trips, camping trips and international trips as often as is possible so I've gotten pretty stinkin' good at packing for said trips. Here are a few things I've learned.

(1) Always travel with a ziplock bag filled with no less than half a package of more ziplock bags in your handbag. You WILL fill these bags with dirty diapers, wet socks that got juice on them during the flight, a million tiny pieces of trash your small child creates and collects, liquids you forgot you had and find right before going through airport security, leftovers from lunch and a whole host of other things.

(2) Make sure you have enough wet wipes to wipe the dirty bottoms of an army of toddlers. You will use these for much more than tiny tooshies. I've even found they are great entertainment (with no mess) in a pinch.

(3) Keep a few Tylenol (kids' and adults) with you always.  You JUST never know when you might need it, and I promise you'll always need it when you least think you will.

(4) Before flying, make sure you call the airline and ask how many bags each one of you (including the lap-traveling infant) are allowed. Ask detailed questions about what's free and what's not.  During our recent trip to California for 4 days, we traveled with only carry-on luggage!  I've also found that if you maximize your carry-on luggage capacity luggage carrying capability, flight attends will take pity on you the other people who have to make their way around you and they'll offer to check a large carry-on bag for free.  Gotta' love that!

(5) If traveling by plane, get thyself one of these.

It's like a dolly for car seats. It attaches onto any car seat and turns it into a stroller.  I get comments like, "That thing is SO cool!" every single time I fly with it.  It rocks my socks off.

It also makes an easy place for Danny to hang out or snooze while I work on the computer and we wait during our layover...  At least that's what happened when I flew to Albuquerque on my own with him this winter.

You can check it for free at the gate with the Go Go Babyz carseat dolly*** still attached. Before you do though, ask the airline staff at the gate if the flight is full. If not, request to take the seat aboard with you and let your little one ride in it during the flight on an extra empty seat. You'll probably be placed at the back of the plane, where the engines will drown out noise and the rumbling will likely lull your small one to sleep. Ahhhh... peaceful flight!

(6) If you don't need a carseat at your destination, get thyself one of these. Depending on the size of your kiddo (the Ergo*** holds children up to 40 pounds) you may or may not have to take them out of the carrier before passing through security.

(7) Fill a small mesh bag with a few new toys for the flight and don't allow your child to play with them for a week before traveling. We put cars, keys and an old cell phone in Danny's bag this time.

Better yet, wrap them like presents individually and let him open them on the plane. Don't forget to save some in your check-in for the ride home!

(8) Adults have limits on the number of small containers of liquids in a ziplock bag they can get through security. Infants traveling on a lap do not. This trip we made it on board with 3 ziplocks full of small containers, and 6 juice boxes. I needed some of those containers (like the hand-sanitizer) on board with me but not all (like the shampoo) so I separate the ones I need in one ziplock and the ones I don't in another. Before security, all liquids go in the diaper bag for easy access. Then after we go through security, most of my liquids get put away into a suitcase that I'm rolling while one small bag of liquids goes back into my diaper bag.

(9) Plane phones (the ones in the backs of plane seats that you swipe your credit card to use) make great toys. They're impossible to break and can't get lost and they have interesting buttons. Plus, they're new!  You might want to wipe it down with a wet wipe before giving it to your child, though, and I don't recommend this toy if your child is still putting all things in their mouth.

(10) Last but far from least, make yourself comfortable. Wear your comfy-est clothes and shoes (and the biggest ones so they take no suitcase space). Dress you and your children in layers. Smile and say thank you. A lot. Few things will get you as far in terms of a pleasant experience and help from the airline staff.

There you go!  My best tips and tricks for traveling in planes with small children!  Happy Traveling!

***I am not receiving any compensation of any kind for promoting these products. I just really do love them!