Flying with small children is so intimidating. Firstly, they are so unpredictable. You really have to be prepared for ANYTHING. Then there is the obvious “sharing a small space with a ton of strangers who don’t want to hear your child screaming” situation. Not to mention, depending on the ages of your children, they don’t really understand what’s going on. Even my seven year old was holding her head and mouthing “What is happening to me??” during the altitude changes.
I have flown a LOT. A LOT.
I flew with my oldest when she was less than a month old (and I was 19) from Sacramento, CA to Atlanta, GA and then drove FOUR HOURS to Beaufort, SC. I flew back and forth from Savannah, GA to Sacramento, CA several times to visit family, and then eventually flew back to California permanently. SO when we were planning our trip to Disneyland, the idea of flying with our children wasn’t that intimidating to me.
I will say it was a NICE change for me to be in my element while my husband followed my lead! Anyone who knows my husband knows that he is paralyzed by distant travel. He can’t function outside of Northern California! As soon as we stepped onto the airplane he totally shut down and I took the reins. I felt like Wonder Woman. Step aside, husband. I got this.
ANYWAYS back to the POINT.
Here are some tips I have for anyone who wants to fly with small children!
Bring LOTS of snacks.
Food is key to successful travel. And airport food is SO damn expensive. Goldfish, apple slices, peanut butter crackers, granola bars…bring enough food to feed a small army. Bring WAY more than you will ever need.
Accept that you will have to spend money at the airport.
Just accept it. I didn’t bring any liquid with me because flight restrictions are so crazy and I didn’t want to add anything else to my laundry list of obstacles. Just buy the freaking overpriced bottled water in the airport and move on.
I also buy meals for my children at the airport. All of the snacks are saved for the airplane only. I fed them before we left, and then once we got to our terminal, and then they snacked while we were in the air. KEEP THEM FULL.
Bring the distraction devices.
I hate the zombie-creating devices that we force on our children. I am very adamant that they can figure out something to do other than staring at a screen. However, the airplane is neither the time NOR the place to fight this fight. Bring the tablet, stock up the movies and rock and roll.
Accept the help that is offered to you
We were sitting behind another family with children the same age as mine and whenever the kids would look back at us we would make faces at them and play with them. BUT THE MOM (bless her heart) kept apologizing and forcing her kids to face forward, causing them to scream and fight and cry. I would chime in “it’s really fine!” but they seemed determined that their children would sit forward and be silent. Well, come on. Who cares. Everyone would MUCH rather hear them play then hear them scream. And now we are ALL in a bad mood. Again, neither the place nor the time!
So now here is my list of brings:
Fully-loaded diaper bag (bring enough diapers for 3 blow outs per hour of travel)
Nursing cover (even if you aren’t nursing. It helped give my baby a quiet place to take a nap!)
A change of clothes per child
A backpack per child with a blanket and two small quiet toys of their choice
Stroller (can by checked as you board the airplane kind of like a wheel chair. It will be up front waiting for you when you exit the plane! It’s WONDERFUL.
A sense of humor? Because sometimes you just have to be able to laugh.
Suckers (for the altitude change. It helps their ears pop!)
DON’T bring these things:
Boppy/nursing pillow- their bulky and unnecessary. I brought my boppy when I first flew with Annabelle when she was a month old and I wanted to throw it away by the end of the flight. WAY MORE TROUBLE THAN IT WAS WORTH.
Liquid- its just not worth it. If you want to measure and do all of that then you do you boo. I just didn’t want to deal with the hassle.
Anything that needs to be warmed up/refrigerated- DUH
High expectations of your family- because they are children. And this isn’t exactly a picnic for them either!
Good luck, may the force be with you and safe travels!