Flying is stressful with or without kids. Our first child has traveled domestically many times and although it is not always fun, it got easier as she got older. The most challenging flights are the ones halfway around the world. We have traveled to Asia twice with one kid and will soon be taking a trip halfway around the world with two kids for the first time.
Since it’s getting close to the summer travel season and we are starting to prepare for our upcoming trip, I thought I would share what I have learned from our travels so far.
Car Seats. We use separate car seats that are designated as our travel car seats. I have heard horror stories of people’s car seats being in pieces by the time they get it back after checking them in that I don’t want to risk it with our everyday car seats. We prefer to check our car seats in with our luggage but we have also lugged our car seat around the airport with us before and gate-checked it. We used bungee chords to attach the car seat to our carry-on luggage so that neither one of us had to hand carry the heavy car seat throughout the world’s busiest airport. Make sure that the car seat is FAA approved for air travel if you want to use it on the plane. Some kids travel better in their car seats. I have thought about getting the GoGo Babyz Travelmate for the car seats to push the kids around the airport but I didn’t want to spend the money for it. For in-flight, we use the Child Aviation Restraint System (CARES), the only FAA-approved child harness for kids 22-44 lbs.
Stroller or Ergo. We don’t usually bring a stroller with us. There is usually one at our destination for us to use or we buy a cheap umbrella stroller when we get there. We use the Ergo baby carrier to carry the kids around the airport. Ergos are useful whether or not you decide to bring a stroller or lug your car seat throughout the airport. I always bring the ergo with me whenever I travel. You can use it when the kids get tired or those times when you just need to keep them contained. The Ergo is one of the most comfortable baby carriers I have used – it doesn’t hurt your back like some of the others. It can be used from infancy to pre-school age (the weight limit is 45 lbs though it’s been tested up to 90 lbs).
Carry-On Bags. Each kid carry their own little bag with some lightweight toys or snacks. That frees up a little bit of space for us in the adult bags. We pack our bags with snacks, water bottle (without water), entertainment for the kids, extra clothes, medicine (Tylenol and Benadryl), wipes, lotion, hand sanitizer, grip liner, more entertainment for the kids, lip balm, CARES harness, light jacket for everyone, and entertainment for adults.
The water bottle is for you to fill up with water after going through security. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Tylenol is for any sudden fevers. Benadryl is just a precaution. I don’t want to discover that the kids are allergic to something on the plane without anything to alleviate their discomfort. I pack the chewable tablets of both medications. Lotion and lip balm because it is very dry on the plane. Grip liner is for the kids’ drinks, food, dvd player, or other electronic device to stay put on the tray tables. Light jacket because it is always cold on the plane.
In my next post (in two weeks), I will post about what we bring along for entertainment for the kids and what types of snack we usually pack.
Do you have any advice for how to make air travel a little easier with kids? We would love to hear your tips!by