My husband and I have been busy planning our real honeymoon in a few weeks (Alaskan Cruise…woo!). We don’t have kids yet, but you know when you’re on an air plane and you hear that frantic mom or family with the really fussy baby? I think we all do.
When I was traveling with my brother and his 8 month old son this was particularly hard for them. One time our flights had been first cancelled, rescheduled for 8 hours later (!) and then delayed on a trip from Florida to Kansas (yes Kansas, I’m from there!). Inevitably because of our long, long, LONG time in the terminals, we ran out of diapers and really exacerbated the horror of travel for an 8 month old!
Someone needs to seriously jump on that selling baby items in airport terminals thing, you could make a killing!
Anyways, here are a few tips for traveling with your child (I got a lot of these from Alice at the Science of Mom blog, but I came up with a few from my travel experiences with my nephew and consulted with the mothers that work on our Help Me Grow team).
- Pack way more diapers and snacks than you think you’ll need. Layovers, delays….oh dear it can get bad. Traveling can also just be hard on a kids body, and you never know if that could mean a case of the runs.
- Try to avoid giving your kid a natural diuretic during a flight (like apple juice). We made the mistake of giving that to my nephew…it. was. HORRIBLE!
- Pack a few toys your kid has never played with before, or may have not seen for a long time. The novelty could entertain them for a while.
- Also, let your child take their favorite toy if they want. This will help comfort them when their world is changing so much around them (remember, travel is really new and hard for kids!).
- Go with the flow of what your child wants to do, especially during a layover. If you and a travel partner are standing on either end of an isle while your kid runs back and forth, hey, they’re happy! That, and maybe you’ll wear them out enough that they’ll sleep during the flight!
- Longer layovers are your friend. Moving around on a flight is kind of hard, but you’ll have time to let your kid eat, have a diaper change, play, etc. when you have an hour rather than 20 minutes.
- Having said #6, avoid multiple stops unless you’re going really far. Then you’ll only have to do the altitude change once, and it gets over with quickly!
- Use one of those baby carriers that straps your baby to you instead of trying to manage a bulky stroller.
- I thought this was a genius idea: Get a small travel crib (Science of Mom suggests KidCo's PeaPod). Hotel cribs are sometimes sketchy. I want one of these for when we go camping (when we have kids, that is)!
- With a kid, I think it's worth it to pay a little more for the seats with the extra leg room. We were passing my nephew from one to the other and knocked his head really hard because of the lack of space.
- Travel at the best time for your kids! If they sleep in later, then take a flight in the afternoon rather than the morning. The day will be easier for you and your child if you work around their typical schedule.
- If you’re traveling in a car make the time to allow yourself frequent stops. Your kid/s will make it through easier if you let them get their wiggles out!
- Last, if your child is screaming their head off on a plane, don’t let the other people around you make you feel bad. Often you try your best to do everything right, and it just won’t work. Listen to their needs, but know that sometimes it’s just hard for them and they need to cry.
I hope these tips help you on your next trip, and good luck!
What has worked for you when you travel with your kids?