It’s finally starting to feel like Fall is actually here which means the holidays are right around the corner. I grew up in Texas, and my husband grew up near the coast of North Carolina. We alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with our families, which equals quite a bit of traveling. This year is a bit different because we have our little nugget in tow. Over my fall break recently, we flew to Texas, and I learned quite a bit about traveling with a child, specifically flying.
From one mama to another I want to share my top five tips for traveling/flying with a child:
Tip#1: Make a List, Check it Twice
- I believe preparation is always best. Make a list prior to packing.
- If you are flying, have a couple of lists: one for checked luggage and one for carry-on luggage.
- If you are driving, your lists might be one for the car and one for the trunk.
- In your preparations, make sure to include extra things like diapers, change of clothes, prepared bottles, breastfeeding pump and materials, etc.
I am notorious for forgetting important things like my shoes or pajamas. So it helped calm my fears of forgetting something important for my baby to make a list and check it twice.
Tip #2: Do your Research
- One thing I made sure before even arriving at the airport was to look at TSA’s page on traveling with infants and children. Doing this research will make your screening with children a little less nerve wrecking.
- Also, know the weather you are traveling to, so I suggest beginning to look at about a week out and checking daily the weather. For example, this last time when traveling to Texas, when we left here, it was in the 60s but by the time we arrived at my parent’s house, the weather was unseasonably cold, hovering around freezing. Researching the weather, allowed us to be prepared with a change of clothes, a coat, and an extra blanket to help with the change in temperature.
- Finally, having my mom squad was a great resource. I found out from them to have a pacifier or to feed during takeoff and landing would help with the pressure in the baby’s ears. That was such a great tip. So prior to your trip, plan a coffee date with your gal pals, share all the advice, and treat yourself prior to your adventures.
Tip #3: Routines are Awesome
- Try to keep your children as close to a routine as possible, realizing that there are some limitations while traveling. Feeding times, nap times, bathroom times, etc. are all routines that you can attempt to have while traveling. I know for my little boy, if we miss a naptime and get to the point of overtired…..it is not pretty. If traveling in the car, allow extra time in your travel schedule to accommodate these needs. If flying, be intentional with your itinerary to allow for layovers, if needed, or direct flights.
- Take care of yourself and stick to your routines as well. Feed yourself. Go to the bathroom. Whatever you need to do to self-care while traveling, please do. A happy mama will help with a happy family.
Tip #4: Make Friends, Not Foes
- Traveling with kids can be a daunting task, and I am sure we all have stories we could share about traveling with kids or being around traveling kids either in an airplane, restaurant, etc. I think a great way to find comfort and help along your travels is to be friendly and make connections with flight attendants, fellow travelers, waiters/waitresses, gas station attendants, etc. I know that traveling can cause even the most cool-headed mom some fret and woe, but if you take time to be kind and reach out to others, I promise that the return will be 10 fold. When our son became a bit fussy on the plane because of tiredness, the flight attendant came and talked to him, which he loved because he believes everyone wants to talk to him. At the airport, when I didn’t have enough hands to carry all.the.things a kind, fellow passenger helped me along the way. It really takes a village and make sure to expand your village while traveling.
Tip #5: Be Flexible and Make Some Memories
- I promise you that something will not go as planned while traveling. I also promise you that memories are to be made, even when things go awry. So my final suggestion is to take a breath, sip some coffee, and smile along the way. These moments with your children are fleeting, so laugh, take pictures, and remember the journey as much as the destination.