We just got back from two glorious weeks in Hawaii! It was amazing and wonderful and HOT! Before I get into sharing a million pictures of beautiful Maui, I thought I'd share some tips for flying with kids. In anticipation for our LONG flights I read tons of blogs with great information on this topic and went into the flights feeling pretty good. Each site has many different take-aways and tips. I liked arming myself with a bunch of different ideas and then using what I thought would work for us and disregarding everything else. (I know every family, every kid, and every flight is different.) Here is a collection of blogs I found useful as well as a few tips of my own on the bottom! Enjoy!
What to pack and preparing for the flight:
Great tips to prep for your flight (love her snack suggestions)
What to pack for your trip with a toddler (love the outfit ziplock bag tip!)
Packing entertainment items (different "travel toys" for each leg of the trip, great ideas!)
Packing list for toddlers (great toddler carry-on suggestions)
Surviving the plane ride:
Flying with a Toddler or Baby (love their take on carseats, worth a read)
Tips for Flying with a Toddler (love the toys she brought)
25 Ways to Keep Toddlers Busy on a Plane (Super simple, but 25 GREAT ideas to stay busy)
17 Tips for Flying with Kids (Is it really worth the hassle? YES!)
Surviving a flight with a two year old (just knowing I'm not the only one who has flown with a 2 year old was comforting)
5 tips that will help you gain some sense of control while flying with young kids (I like what she says about suckers, not worth the mess!)
Surviving the plane ride and Necessities for your Packing List (check the tips and tricks at the bottom, like making everything take twice as long as usual)
My tips for flying with babies and toddlers:
1. I'm not sure if this is a tip or not, but I LOVED traveling with tons of people. We had 9 people traveling with us and just having the extra hands and help made ALL the difference. So if you're still in the planning phase of your trip, see if grandma, grandpa, or even some uncles want to come along.
2. Pre-board with babies, but wait until the last possible minute to board with toddlers. I would pre-board with Naomi and Jordan would stay in the terminal with Reagan until the final boarding call. This was great because I could get all organized and settled before Jordan and Reagan got on the plane.
3. Bring the toddler's carseat. Some people don't like this idea, but it totally worked for us. Reagan sleeps so great in her carseat and she behaves so much better constrained. I'm guessing that if she would have been sitting in the seat (without the carseat) she never would have slept. It would have been too exciting and she would have been running up and down the aisle the whole flight.
4. Be prepared. The days leading up to our trip I had gone to the dollar store and bought a few new cheap toys to be opened on the plane (she loved the glowsticks and play jewelry best). I had gone through some of our more neglected toys in the basement (that she still loves, but doesn't play with very often) and pulled out a few small ones I knew she'd like. We wrapped a bunch of the new and old toys. I also bought a bunch of different snacks which we put into about 30 easter eggs. She loved opening the eggs and seeing what kind of snack/treat was inside. Another crowd pleaser was a medicine compartment box with different snacks in each day of the week. We didn't end up using all of the easter eggs or other snacks we brought but it was nice having them because while my babies slept soundly I was able to give some to the crying kids behind us. Ha!
5. Using the carseat made the tray table no longer usable. So coloring was really hard, as well as any games that would need a hard surface. This ended up being fine, because we had lots of other activities to do without the tray table. One favorite was a wooden puzzle.
6. Plan your flights, if possible, around sleeping and nap schedules. We flew from Salt Lake to Seattle and then Seattle to Maui. Reagan was awake from SLC to Seattle but once we got on the plane from Seattle to Maui, it was just about bedtime and she fell right to sleep. Reagan and Naomi both slept probably 75% of the time we were flying. Having them sleep on the planes and especially during that long flight from Seattle to Maui (and vise versa) was a huge blessing!
7. When Reagan wasn't sleeping or snacking or opening toys, she was watching Daniel Tiger on the Kindle using these headphones, or playing with her favorite Fisher Price apps on the iPhone.
8. Flying with a toddler/baby is kind of like childbirth. In the moment it can be stressful or painful, but once you get there, you generally forget about all of the bad stuff that happened on the flight and only remember the fun you had on your trip!
P.S. If you liked this post be sure to check out this addendum: Everything You Need to Know About Road Tripping with Kids