Written by Lisabelle Panossian, BabyQuip Family Flying Specialist
There’s no avoiding it: traveling with toddlers (we’re looking at you, terrible twos) or babies, can be a total hassle for everyone involved. However, the moment your family reaches those beautiful sands and ocean breezes, all the fussy fits and mid-flight meltdowns can hopefully be left behind.
Until then, here are some tips and tricks to keep everyone sane, happy and stress-free until finally reaching your DESTINation:
Take an early flight
Getting everyone out of bed will be a struggle. However, after boarding the plane, you’ll be pleased to find your little one opting for a nap as opposed to a making a fuss once you’re all in the sky. There’s also the added bonus of less packed airports and planes, and early flights are usually cheaper anyway.
Pack light and rent instead
Traveling with children in and of itself will already make you feel like you have your hands full — the last thing needed is the added struggle of lugging bulky baby gear through the airport, trying to stuff it all into those tiny overhead bins or retrieving it from baggage claim while holding exhausted toddlers. Renting baby gear from trusted sources around your destination can ensure at least one layer of stress is taken off your shoulders during the air travel process. Take extra careful steps to make sure all the gear is reputable, safe, clean and insured. Websites like BabyQuip have great options for rentable gear that will hit all your criteria, no matter where in the U.S. you’re traveling to.
Speaking of packing, snacks and sandwiches are key
If (and we should probably be realistic and say “when”) the inevitable meltdown happens, you’re going to need some bribery on hand. Packing some surprise treats will capture your children’s attention and hopefully bring them back down to Earth before the plane does. Also, chances are the “roast beef and carrots” option in a tin plate won’t be anyone’s first choice for food when the flight attendant’s cart rolls by — so be sure to snag some sandwiches and snacks from a grab-and-go station near the gate, or pack their favorites from home.
Comfort items and entertainment options are also a must
Even adults start to get antsy and cranky after sitting for so many hours doing nothing — so there’s no doubt your little ones will too. Bring along their favorite blankets or stuffed animals, as well as an iPad or laptop loaded with movies and games. A headphone splitter additionally comes in handy when you only have one device, but more than one child. A back up pacifier will also be useful after the first one gets chucked on to the floor.
Cut the TSA line (ya, you can!)
Running late or just don’t want to deal with the hassle of calming your toddler while taking out your laptop? We don’t blame you. Luckily, if you catch a TSA agent’s attention, they should let you cut the line once they see you’re traveling with small children. Some airports even offer a special family lane for traveling parents, so look out for it before opting to stand in the general line.
While you’re at it, cut the boarding line too.
As boarding begins, you’ll hear the sweet sound of “parents with small children may board the plane” reverberate from the flight attendant’s microphone — take advantage of it! Especially on flights without seat assignments, grabbing seats next to your little ones will be crucial.
Seat your little ones away from the aisle
When you factor in hot water pitchers and sharp metal corners, those flight attendant carts start to look like a real safety hazard for any small child to be close to. Save the flight attendant and yourself the anxiety of the cart barreling down the aisle close to your little one, the middle or window seat will do just fine.
Be ready to stop air pressure ear pain in its tracks
Most of us can recall that time when the plane was about to land, and that terrible shooting pain started developing in our ears. For small children, that’s usually when a lot of the crying begins — and seeing your baby in pain can be torture in and of itself. Luckily, keeping your baby hydrated throughout the flight, or keeping a pacifier handy, are great preventative measures for stopping the pain before it starts. If traveling with toddlers, you can also tell them to take deep breaths. Both takeoff and landing are ideal times for nursing or bottle feeding infants too.
Now you can fly easy with these family friendly travel tips. Vacations are all about the experience and the travel itself can be a positive part of that experience. Before you know it, you’ll be opening the doors to a beautiful rental, and a stunning beach-side view!