Picture this. You roll up to the airport after the most bonkers morning packing everything into the car, and you’re THOSE people unloading their entire life’s belongings onto the luggage cart. One kid crying, one running around like a maniac, husband looks like a pack mule. And here we are. Traveling with kids. Let’s NOT let this be you when you travel with your littles.
Evie had her first ever flight when she was 7 months old and Grayson when he was 2 months. Now, Evie has close to 15 flights under her belt and we have mastered the “traveling with kids” impossibility. I call it that because, really, it seems impossible when you look at it from the outside. You know how much work your littles are at home, let alone packing them up, taking them to the airport and onto an airplane all in one day.
The things that work for me are super easy to incorporate into your travel routine, they’ll feel like second nature in no time.
This can sometimes be a hard thing to do when you have kids, but there are a few ways you can do this. Ask your hotel or your destination if they have items that you’d normally need such as a crib, sound machine, cozy blankets, extra pillows, etc. This will keep you from packing things you don’t need. We even borrow a friend’s car seat for Evie when we travel home to see our family.
Take mix and match outfits for yourself and the kids. Plan to wear things twice and/or do laundry if needed. If you’re traveling to see family, this part is easy.
Take the stroller
I know, I know, I just said to pack less. But this piece is a non-negotiable for me. There is no way my two year old is going to want to walk the entire time through the entire airport. And now that I have another baby, I am even more emphatic on the fact that this bad boy comes with me wherever I go. You need your hands more when you travel than you usually do, so let the stroller do the work for you. You can also stuff all of your carry-ons under the seat so you don’t actually have to carry them. For me, this is the main reason I bring the stroller. It’s like pushing a much more convenient luggage cart around the airport – one that can hold your kids for you too. Win win.
Get/Take a GOOD baby carrier (depending on age of your kids)
I swear by my Solly Baby wrap as a way to keep my baby happy and keep my hands free. This has worked for me from 2 months to about 8 months or so. We didn’t fly for a while there between the time Evie was 8ish months until about 1.5, and once she was 1.5, she wasn’t into being worn anymore in general.
Check everything that you can.
Research how many bags you can check for free! Even if it’s a smaller bag, it’s worth checking so you don’t have to carry it around during layovers. And a checked bag means you can bring more of the necessities. We usually check the car seat and the car seat base if we have to travel with it.
You can also do the gate check of your car seat and stroller. It’s super easy! They will just give you a tag for it and check it right before you get on the plane. Then you pick it up when you get to the next destination.
Fill your carry on with things for the kids to do.
This is kind of a no-brainer except you want to do it to the extreme. Traveling is no longer a just relaxing thing for you, now it’s just keeping the kids happy til you get there. That’s when you get to fully relax. Bring activity books, bags of crayons and markers (but not too many), things you know keeps your littles attention well. Fill a bag with this stuff. Really all you need for yourself is your ID and a bottle of water. The rest of the bag is for them. Believe me, you’ll thank me later!
Pack snacks, more snacks than you think you need.
This flight will inevitably be the place where your child becomes the most picky person ever. Have lots of options for them, offer them one at a time so they dont get overwhelmed. Likely they’re just going to want part of whatever you’re having, so bring snacks for yourself too 😉 This you get to enjoy!
Go to the store without your kids and grab activity books, trinkets, small puzzles, silly putty, stickers, things to tinker with, etc. Because they’re surprise toys that they’ve never seen before, it’ll buy you more time. Evie played with a $1 sticker book from the dollar bin for 30 minutes on our last flight just because it was new. I also sacrificed my entire leg for her to cover in stickers to keep her entertained haha.
Don’t stress too much
Have fun with it, as much as you possibly can. Your stress emminates and the kids will pick up on it. Relax, grab yourself a coffee if you have a spare hand or cup holder somewhere. Make it fun for the kids and they will behave better.
I hope these tips work for you and help you make traveling just a little less stressful. Keep in mind, you’re only doing this for a few hours. Anyone can do anything for a short amount of time. Push through and know that your vacation (or whatever it is) is at the end of the flight.
Youve got this!