Have Kids, Will Travel
I did not set out to a be a mother who specialized in travel with small ones, particularly travel of the international sort. I don’t really like flying, and I probably did it half a dozen times by the end of college. Fast forward to my present motherly self and I’ve probably logged 50 or more flights, many of them with children, in as many years as I’ve been mothering them, which isn’t all that many. I’ll tell you right now, it doesn’t get any more pleasant the more you do it, but it does become more tolerable and certainly more predictable, as in, “I predict that one will freak out at 30,000 feet approximately 90 minutes into our 4 hour trip.” And then bing bing bing, you’re right! And your prize is a 400 calorie deficit and sweat-soaked underwear after wrestling a bear cub on a sugar high in a confined 12×12 inch space.
A few more parenting life hacks:
- Bring all your children for an ear exam the week before you fly, symptomatic or not. Better safe and on antibiotics than sorry and screaming at altitude.
- Put your ‘potty trained’ preschooler in a pull up. Just do it.
- Bring a spare onesie, tshirt/shorts combo for each small passenger in your carryon
- Take your stroller all the way to the gate and make sure the airline ‘gate checks’ it if you’ll need it during a connection, during which time you will pile it with children and carryon baggage and race across an unfamiliar airpot in record time.
- Bring enough snacks. Or a fistful of twenties.
- Carryon your laptop charger if you have a connection. Trust me.
- Download some actual movies to your physical hard drive. Netflix don’t stream in the stratosphere.
- Run races up and down the terminal and in the gate area. Choose to board first if you have carryon that needs to be stowed and you’re worried about space. Board last if you have nothing but a baby on your hands and you have assigned seating.
- Let the flight attendant/random old lady/friendly business traveler hold your baby while you pee if you’re flying alone. There’s nowhere for them to run if kidnapping is your fear, and they are secretly dying to hold that little cutie.
I will have to share this with Rob since he’s flying solo with James next month. Also, you can bring plain old cow’s milk in a sippee cup. I have done it a gazillion times because it’s impossible to find anything but over-priced skim milk in the terminal.
Super helpful tips! We’re flying from Seattle to Orlando this summer, which I’m pretty sure is the farthest you could possibly fly in the continental US. I’ve wasted so much mental energy over the last several months strategizing about how we’ll cope.
Prayers for you guys this week. I hope it’s an amazing journey!!
Very timely–I just started reading your blog and am gearing up for an international flight with my husband and our 9 month old daughter in a couple of weeks! Been very stressed out about it but trying to just be calm and prepare. Just out of curiosity, did your boys engage with watching a movie at that age(and if so, any particular recommendations)? I’m not sure if she really would for more than a few minutes but then again I haven’t really tried it.
Kayla @ Number One Petersons
Love it! I’ve traveled with my daughter several times in her 9 month post-womb existence and all of these tips are so true. I have been blown away by how kind others are when a cute baby is involved.
Fun story: I once boarded a plane with a fully dressed baby, wrapped in a Moby. I deplaned with a baby only in socks and a diaper, Moby in sealed plastic bag. The extra outfit was in the carry-on above the seats! It’s a good thing everyone loves naked babies!
I once flew solo with 3 kids, 22 hours, from the middle east back to the U.S. Not anything I care to repeat, but not a nightmare either. It’s doable – and you’ve got this!! Beside – Italy, cappuccino, JPII…, etc., etc..!!
I completely agree with all of your suggestions, although I have only flown with my now almost three year old we have flown seemingly a million times. My suggestion is to bring a new book for littles, something with a lot of pictures, like a Richard Scarry book. There is a lot to look at and point out, and the novelty of something they haven’t seen before + lots of stuff to look it usually will buy you a few minutes. 🙂 Also, crayons (but you be in charge of crayon distribution because it both kills time and prevents crayons from going all over the place). Don’t be ashamed to give them the in flight magazines either.