We have done road trips and taken quite a few flights in the four years we have been parents.
In another life I worked for an airline so we were used to the basics behind air travel. But of course traveling with an infant or toddler and adding more luggage to the mix is a whole other board game. If they freak out on the plane, then it happens. I can’t stress out worrying about that and you just have to deal with it in the moment like you would any other meltdown. Instead I try to prepare as much as I can so that doesn’t happen.
The key to keeping things calm for us has been snacks and activities.
If you’re traveling with an infant, the snack part can be rough. However, having breast milk or formula available (even if that means they may have a little more than normal), a pacifier if they’ll take it and they’re favorite toys can do wonders. If you can plan a flight so it falls in the midst of their nap or bedtime that can help!
As they get older, it’s good to have sippy cups available for water or milk, small snacks (what kid doesn’t love Cheerios?) and having activities can be a huge help.
Having things from home is great, but I know my kids get pretty excited by new “surprises.” I mean, I like to get some new clothes before a vacation so it makes sense they like something new and exciting too, right?
Trust me, I don’t go crazy with these surprises. The dollar section at Target and the kids aisle at The Dollar Tree are my jam. In my garage I have a bucket of surprises. Items I’ve collected during errands that I save for traveling or in some cases…bribing.
We kicked off June with a long weekend trip to Disney. We’re kind of Disney freaks. This was ‘J’s’ 7th trip and ‘Baby J’s’ 3rd. I did “splurge” a bit for this one and got them new backpacks that will hold the surprises. ‘Baby J’ has never had one and ‘J’ normally travels with a Dr. Seuss one that I’ve upgraded to his current love of Spider-Man.
Both were a hit! They liked wearing the backpacks and checking out what was inside. They came in handy on both plane rides, time in the airport and in between.
Are all trips painless, care free and tear free? Yes, of course!
Just kidding – not at all! But making a few preparations along the way has helped with any of our road and air trips so I’ll keep that going for as long as I can.
If all else fails, there are always electronics as a backup. But honestly I’ve sometimes made it through a 7 hour car trip without breaking them out until the final hour when they just couldn’t deal anymore. But no judgement to those who use them for the entire trip. You gotta do what you gotta do. I’ve spent many meals with my phone coming out in the first 5 minutes.
Traveling with kids isn’t always easy and normally it’s down right tiring. But I gotta say, the journey to the destination and making memories along the way is completely worth it!