The holidays are coming and one of the more difficult things for new parents is traveling with young children. Flying anywhere takes a lot of patience for an adult with waiting in lines, sitting for long periods of time and generally being uncomfortable, so imagine trying to do so with one or more children who have shorter attention spans or patience for being uncomfortable as well as regular sleeping and eating schedules. To help you get through your holiday travels, here are the best tips for flying with young children.
- Bring empty water bottles. I hope you do this as an adult anyway, but it’s so much easier to fill up your kid’s favorite water bottle once you get through security rather than have them spilling a regular (and expensive) bottle of water on the plane.
- Download movies ahead of time. Whichever electronic device you have, make sure to download several movies while you’re at home before you even leave. This way, you don’t need to rely on Wi-Fi and won’t run out halfway through your trip.
- Pack changes of clothes in plastic bags. Yes, even you may need a change of clothes if someone has an accident. This way you can put the dirty clothes in that plastic bag and your kids won’t smell for the rest of the day.
- Decide if it’s worth buying your child a seat. If your kid is young enough to fall under “infant in arms,” you may immediately think to save money you shouldn’t buy them a seat. However, if you have a particularly fidgety kid, know they won’t be sleeping during your flight time, or if you’re nursing (especially if you’re flying alone) it may be worth the money to buy your child a seat for extra space.
- Ship diapers to where you’re staying. Instead of packing a mountain of diapers, get on a service like Amazon, order what you need and have it shipped to wherever you’re staying. This is especially helpful if you won’t have your own car or the time to head to the store.
- Pack ALL THE SNACKS. While you may think to plan ahead and pack what your child would normally eat during the amount of time you’re traveling for, you never know what’s going to happen. The last thing you want is to be sitting on a plane that’s stuck on the runway for two hours with a hungry toddler.
- Don’t bring toys that roll. Remember that when (yes when, not if) your child drops something, it will most likely roll and you may never find it again. Choose toys that have few pieces and won’t likely disappear under the chair three rows behind you.
- Email the airline for seat arrangements. If you can’t pick seats that are together ahead of time, try emailing the airline to ask for help. This will not only give you peace of mind and keep you from worrying about it beforehand, but it will also save you and everyone else on the plane time since you won’t be trying to shuffle around with other passengers.
- Prepare yourself to deal with meltdowns. Traveling is tough on anyone, but for kids who aren’t used to the long, boring hours, it’s likely they may have a meltdown. Know that it’s coming and prepare yourself. First, keep a “bribe” hidden away until you desperately need it. Second, don’t worry too much about what other people think. Most people in the airport know what it’s like to have kids. If they don’t, try not to worry about what they think—just do your best.