Flying with Kids

Traveling with kids is always a bit of a challenge.  Flying with them turns the difficulty up several notches.  Because we live in Montana, much of our travel is done via aircraft.  Here are some tips you might find useful, especially as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach.

  • Fly with a car seat - Many car seats are approved for use in planes.  It's worth the extra money to have that extra seat, for children under 2, rather than dealing with the up-down-all-around movement.  It also makes sleeping much easier. 
  • Buy a rolling cart for your car seat - We have a Britax car seat travel cart and it has been a life saver.  You strap the car seat to the cart and strap your child in.  Rolling through the airport is a breeze and it fits up the aisle of most planes.
  • One bag to rule them all - With kids who need diaper bags, combine your purse contents with the bag.  That way you only have one to carry on. 
  • Carry your own - Children old enough to have backpacks can do their own carry on.  Make sure that it's tagged with contact information.
  • The Potty - Take a potty trip as close to boarding as possible.  Don't be surprised if your child doesn't want to go potty on the airplane, at least initially.  It's a new setting and may take several trips.
  • Seating - If you can request seats, try to choose ones that will be the easiest for your to navigate in and out of.  It's difficult for people to move past a car seat so, if you're flying with one, choose accordingly.  If you're flying with a toddler, try to choose seats near a bathroom.  Also, try to keep your family as close together as possible.
  • Food - Airplane food is notoriously expensive and, quite often, not great for you.  Pack your own snacks: crackers, nuts, granola bars, dried fruit/fruit snacks, etc.  Keep is healthy, quick and simple.
  • Hydrate - Travel can often cause dehydration, especially with the dry air being circulated on planes.  Let each child pick their own, special water bottle.  Pack it empty and then fill it at the nearest water fountain, after going through security.
  • Air Pressure - Pack something chewy for kids to eat during take off and landing.  If the child is too young, a sippy cup or bottle work well.  Nursing during take-off and landing is also excellent, if you have a "baby in arms."
  • Distraction - Choose some special, new items to take along and don't let your child/children see them until you're in the air.  We do a new book or toy, sometimes a new show. 
  • Headphones - If you're using an iPad, or similar device, invest in a good quality pair of headphones.  The noise from the plane makes hearing difficult.  I'd recommend ones that cover the entire ear.  Practice with them before traveling.
  • Tape - It's going to sound strange but the best advice I was given was to take a roll of tape.  It works!  Henry was fascinated by the tape for hours.  I do recommend painters tape, as it comes off a little better than Scotch (R).

Do you have tips you'd like to share?  Please feel free to comment below!

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