Since today is our travel day I thought I would share what we have learned flying with our kids over the last six years. Today we have a red-eye flight from Denver to London then a short flight (tomorrow) to Paris.
Our flight to London is about 10-11 hours but much of that is overnight so that makes the time go by much faster. We are by no means experts but our kids travel pretty well and we’ve taken them on short and long flights over the years.
When kids are too little to walk through the airport on their own (without trying to run away) use a stroller and check it at the gate. We have taken our giant double and umbrella strollers on different trips it just depends on what we were doing when we get to our destination.
Also if your kids are in a stroller in the airport then pack their stuff in your own carry on to make your time in security easier. Once they are old enough to walk through the airport they can carry their own backpacks.
If you have a baby that isn’t sitting up on their own yet you can have them lap sit with you on shorter flight. When Emmy was 9 months old we flew to California and we just took turns holding her. If it was a longer flight I would suggest buying them their own seat and having them sit in their car seat. That being said when Emmy was 18 months old and we flew to Germany she did have her own seat but she basically never sat in it, she mainly shared with Cannon.
At 3 and 1 they easily both fit in one seat.
For take-off and landing the flight crew gave us a seat belt addition to strap Emmy in during that time.
We have always just checked our carseats for travel and now that both kids are over 4 years old we bring our travel car seats and LOVE them. We put them in our carry on bag just incase our checked bags get lost!
If you want your kids to sleep on the plane (nap or overnight) bring comfort items that they use at home like a special stuffed animal or blanket.
If your flight has a meal request a “kids meal” if you can. We forgot on our trip to Germany and we got some unfamiliar food for the kids. They mostly ate it but enjoyed the kids meals on our future flights better.
Also bring lots of snacks for the flight. I like to take the kids to the grocery store during the week before our trip to buy snacks that are different than we normally have. Also we have found that suckers can help little ears with take off and landing.
Whenever we travel I put the kids in really comfortable clothes that can double as pajamas like sweat suits and warm socks. Planes can be cold so even if you are going somewhere warm remember layers for on the plane. Also be sure to pack at least one full change of clothes for everyone, even the adults! Kids can have potty accidents, get motion sickness or spill a full drink on themselves and you!
This next one might be controversial but we don’t limit screen time on flights.
Our kids do bring little toys, activity books and games but they aren’t old enough to read to themselves yet. We let them watch kids movies provided by the airline and/or play on their tablets. I figure they are stuck on the plane so let’s just make it easy on all of us.
If your flight is delayed grab some fun snacks or a meal then find an empty gate. That way you can spread out, let the kids run around and kill time until your flight is ready to go.
If you are flying a long way know that your kids will be tired and might act out, remember that you are all a team and you will get there together!
We are off to Europe now, what are some of your top tips for flying with littles?
Some travel favorites: