Friday, February 24, 2012

Flying with Tots

We just got back from a long cross-country trip.  We had a long layover both ways.  I think that each time it gets a little easier to fly (we fly about two times a year with our boys, ages 3 and 1).  Here are some things that worked (and some that didn't) from this time around.

  • Put all the things you need to separate during security in one bag: electronics, liquid, belts, etc.
  • Find a child-size rolling suitcase and give your child complete charge of his/her own things (thrifted!).
  • Make up a game as incentive for the 3-yr-old to not drop said suitcase
  • My best thrift-store find was a huge sticker book (350 Pixar stickers!).  The boys loved it!  
  • It was V-day the day we left, so I wrapped up little treats and books they could open together every hour.  That helped the time go by smoothly.
  • Lots of (skinny) books are always a necessity.
  • We kept all our fleece jackets with us and used them for blankets and pillows.
  • Ask if your airline lets families with kids 3 and under board early!
  • Use a stroller in the airport!  If you do, you'll probably get to go through the wheelchair (fast track!) entrance for security.  Not only will it make things easier for you, but you'll probably be running late if you are traveling with young children.  We use the stroller to carry all our bags.
  • Bring your own (empty) water-bottle.
  • Coloring books and crayons or pens can be fun, especially if you draw with them.
  • Save the electronics for last for when everyone's frayed.
  • Sit in the row in front of an exit.  Not only is there no reclining, but the seats are tilted slightly forward and you have less leg room.
  • Forget to take pictures!  It's an adventure!
  • Be embarrassed if your kids act crazy and run around in the airport.  It's much better than having energy to burn when they get on the flight.
  • Forget to take everyone to the bathroom before you leave for the airport, and before you board the plane!  (Those airplane toilets have been too scary to use in the past!)
  • Think you can go forever without investing in a rolling carry-on.
  • Pack food for more than one meal.  If you're gone that long, just get something at the airport for meal #2.  That Quiznos salad saved us.
  • Homemade trail mix
  • Bagel sandwiches
  • I always order Bloody Mary Mix for my drink.  It's like a tasty Spicy V8.
  • Sliced fruit and veggies
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Pez
  • Spicy anything gets spit right out.
Don't forget to watch for wildlife!  There were lots of rabbits on the Denver tarmac.
Happy travels, and good luck!


  1. We have a long flight from Maryland to Las Vegas this summer with our 3 girls. Thanks for the tips!
    Additional tip: chewy snacks for take-off and landing for kids to help with ear popage.

  2. Good idea on the ear popage above. Drinks at that time can be helpful, too.

  3. These are great suggestions, Ariel! Traveling with littles is not the easiest thing in the world, for sure. I especially loved the stroller suggestion. Carrying a babe, and luggage is difficult!

  4. Thanks for the helpful list, Ariel!

    It definitely helps to have enough space. Last time I flew, I was by myself with two little boys. Originally there was someone next to us, but I spotted an empty row, and the stewardess gladly helped us resituate ourselves back there. Also, I'd add DON'T be afraid to stand up and move around the aisles if it will help calm an anxious or tired child.