Must have items when flying with toddlersJun 19, 2021
The ability and freedom to travel is something that we prioritize as a family. When we were first pregnant with Bailey, my husband and I promised to always continue to travel as our family grew - no matter how hard it got.
Bailey came and we learned just how hard it really was to travel with a kid. But we learned some tricks to make it a little easier. We also learned to embrace the adventure as well as the groans from our mile high neighbors. Then Bailey turned two and we had to start paying for her ticket. Then came Beau, and traveling with two kids. Then covid… you get the drill.
The truth? Travel is just hard. The day of travel itself is usually a dumpster fire of emotion for everyone - stress to get out the door, to get there on time and getting unpacked and repacked through security, all while making sure we are not licking too many surfaces, and then the vacation (or working trip) itself is rarely relaxing - routines get thrown off, maybe a time change, and then the childcare sanity blanket is nowhere to be seen.
BUT, in the end, I always look back and am so proud of us and sooooo thankful we did it. I leave each experience feeling like we are really building memories for our little fam. Ones that we will remember forever, even if the kids might not remember every detail right now.
Below are my top tips for traveling with toddlers, as safely and stress free as possible.
(Tip: stick through to the end for fitness tips for how I stay sane during travel)
1. The Week Before I Fly:
I make a google doc of what I will be packing in our carry ons. I get really specific about this depending on things the kids are currently interested in, what they need to eat depending on the time we fly, and anything we might need if they get motion sick.
2. The Day Before Travel:
I pack our carry-on diaper bag. I wait so I make sure I have alllllll the important things (usually the things my kids use daily and can’t pack in advance).
Some things we always pack:
Ipad with a kid protector- I get this one
Kid headphones - We have tried a ton. I love these ones.
A board book for Beau
An activity book for both kids with crayons, not markers
A change of clothes for each kid and a shirt for myself and Kent (been barfed on a few too many times… you live and you learn).
Sanitizer wipes for hands (we use this brand)
Sanitizer wipes for seats etc.
Empty kids water bottles
Kids meds (Tylenol etc)
- most important - kids straps for plane (read further).
3. The Day of Trip:
When we fly we always travel with our YoYo Zen stroller and ride board. I can’t tell you how much of a game changer this has been. It folds into an overhead bin, is light, and both kids will use it. It’s an investment but worth every penny in my opinion. The flight attendants are even starting to recognize the YoYo parents as experienced travelers.
Back in the day, we used to try to check as little as possible - get in, get there, and get out as quick as we could. Now that we have kids we check everything we can, keeping out only what is vital for the kids on the plane. It’s a pain at the end when you land, but when you have a connection, not having bags weighing you down is a game changer.
When we get to the airport we give ourselves time for the kids to run around and get the their wiggles out. I also make sure to change Beaus' diaper and try to have Bailey use the restroom right before we board.
When the airline calls for “people that take longer to board”, we always send Kent on board with the diaper bag and cleaning supplies. Kent wipes everything down in all our seats. This includes the head rests, arm rests, window/window shades, AC controls and tray tables. Don’t underestimate how many random areas your kid will find to touch, lick, or rub.
The kids and I wait behind with the stroller for ten minutes and then go on.
We have tried bringing car seats to buckle toddlers into on the flight and found it's not worth the giant hassle in lugging them around to us. Instead we have found these kids seat buckles that are super easy to use and have the same effect of strapping a kid in. We love them and Kent puts these on the seats when he is cleaning everything, so they are ready to go when we get on the plane.
When the flight takes off I try my hardest to keep the kids strapped in as long as they can handle it. Once they are out it's usually really hard to get them back in.
4. After The Flight:
Because of Covid, we decided to add a few extra steps.
When the flight ends we go into a family bathroom and all change our clothes into the extra “throw up backup” set. It just feels a little safer to be in clothes that weren’t on the plane. We also make everyone wash their hands and change their masks. Sure, this is excessive, but it's a simple extra step to put our minds at ease, a little.
5. Before Returning:
The day before we leave I make sure to re-pack the diaper back and load back up on snacks. I also schedule groceries to be delivered to our house (we get the milk our kids need for bedtime and something special for the first morning back breakfast). And we have it arrive about an hour after we are supposed to get back...Just in case of delays. In case of delays, we have a friend or neighbor that we can text in a pinch!
Bonus: Staying fit while traveling:
Vacation is certainly a time to miss a workout or three, but checking out new classes, new studios, and new ways to train is something I enjoy, so it is something I prioritize on my trip. Before we head out, I always google the area I am going to to see what fitness classes will be available. Additionally (especially during covid) I always pack a few pairs of workout bands, gliders, and even sometimes my ankle weights so I can put my own workout together if I cant sneak away for a class.
Traveling always involves trying new foods and restaurants, so to keep up with my personal goals while traveling I always try to stick to at least one meal at home (yogurts at hotel for breakfast etc), make sure I walk a lot, and drink a TON of water.
View the full list of everything I recommend here
I hope this was helpful! Happy flying!!
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