Plan and plan as we do, unless you fly frequently with your littles it can seem like you never get it just right. You bring too much of this, not enough of that. Well I have flown a few times with my babes, sometimes alone, and I still have a lot to learn. This last time, though, I really got close to getting the experience just right. Here are the the mistakes I learned from and the things I was grateful I thought of.
Mistake 1. Not enough snacks.
I don’t think there is such a thing as bringing too many interesting and fun snacks for little kids on a plane. On the way to our vacation I for sure was lacking. On the return flight I brought an entire carry on of mini cereal boxes, cashews, crackers and soft tortillas. It was A LOT of food, which turned out to be just the right amount! (It was a 6 hour flight!)
Mistake 2. Forgetting to buy milk in the airport.
You can’t bring milk through security (well you CAN but it’s a pain in the butt so I’ve only ever done it when it is formula). So my plan is usually to buy some milk for the flight once we get through… well we forgot this time! Hubby and I got the kids all comfy on the flight and both went “the milk!” Woops! Luckily our flight attendants were awesome and saved us a couple of cartoons. But we got lucky! Turns out they don’t stock a whole lot of milk on most flights.
Mistake 3. Not bringing enough activities.
I really, REALLY, thought I brought enough this time. After all my 3 year old is mostly amused by the iPad these days so I was only worried about my 1 1/2 year old. She, however, somehow managed to get through my entire bag of tricks before we were even half way there. Next time I’ll pack more interactive things like open the flap books or puppets maybe? It’s a tough age to fly with… and always hard to predict what will keep them entertained so having a lot of options is key. One thing that DID work wonders was painter’s tape and my kids’ toy airplanes. We played “runway” for probably 30 minutes (which is basically forever in airplane time)!
Mistake 4: Not bringing two… of EVERYTHING
Silly me… how could I think I could pull out ONE can of play doh for my little girl and my 3-year-old wouldn’t want to play too? Sure we can share the play-doh but there was a lot of conflict that would have been easily extinguished with two or three cans. Not to mention they may have played longer with more colors. Also, who’s silly idea was it for the kids to SHARE a bottle of water? Oh right… mine. Mom fail.
Mistake 5: Not thinking through transporting all of our stuff!
Now it turned out ok, basically because my hubby is nuts and carried EVERYTHING himself while I escorted the kids, but we arrived at baggage claim, had a mountain of bags and carseats and thought… well… crap. When we checked-in to leave for our trip my husband dropped the kids and myself off at the outdoor check-in and parked the car, so there was no carrying required. Once we landed we had two kids (one who CANNOT be trusted to walk far without getting distracted) two car seats, two large bags, plus all of our carry ons, and nothing but carts you had to pay for (and we had no change). Luckily we were meeting family who were flying in soon after us, so we managed to drag everything and everyone over to their baggage claim and wait for them to rescue us. Next time though? Maybe getting those little wheel-pully systems for the car seats would be a good investment.
Now it wasn’t all fails! We did some new things right this time! Like Rae brought over some toys and books so that we would have brand new things for the plane! Important for mom and dad? We had ourselves an adult beverage at the start of the flight, just to help us loosen up. Works wonders 😉
Flying with kids can be daunting, but the more you do it the better you, and the kids get at it. A lot of people suggest getting everyone their own seat, but we always have our under 2’s sit on our lap. It always turns out ok. Hubby and I take turns with them, so if you see that tip everywhere and think :just too many dollar signs”, have no fear, having a lap child is totally doable! ESPECIALLY with an older child with their own seat, they are usually both small enough to share one seat when they don’t need a seatbelt on anyway!
Happy Flying! – Emi