Find yourself traveling with your little ones around the holidays? Stressed or anxious about the flight? I know the feeling all to well. I am a mom of two going on three. I also happen to have a sister (Kristi Bailey) with a traveling addiction which means that I am constantly being coaxed onto a plane; and, that usually means with the kiddos in tow!
As a mom, I have learned a few tips and tricks along the way and wanted to share. I put together my ultimate packing list when traveling on a plane with little ones this holiday season. Best of Luck,
Stellar Sister & Guest Contributor
You'll still want your own carry on for yourself, but give them their own carry on in the form of a light-weight backpack! It will also help to keep their travel items separate. It will make your life so much easier!
If you are worried your child will leave their backpack, tablet, or beloved animal behind in the airport, than this little keychain tracker will help you know where everything is on your trip.
I know it's not ideal, but your child might live on their device on flight days. It's not the time to limit their screen time. Trust me. Devices help you keep your sanity during a hectic travel day. Let them use their devices, but be prepared to charge them with a portable charger!
Tablets can save you in TSA lines, long flights, and delays. I suggest a kindle fire, Samsung kids, iPad mini, or even your old iPhone. Be sure to download your child's favorites on Amazon videos or Netflix so that wifi is never an issue. Keep their favorite games on their device, and load NEW, exciting games for them too!
Tablet Ideas: coloring, Minecraft, educational, puzzles, books, checkers, tic tack toe, etc.
Don't try to give your kids earbuds or adult size headphones. Their heads are tiny, and they fall off. Invest in a good pair meant for children.
If you are looking for a compact play station for the flight then this is it. This toy is great on a plane and can help to entertain your children for a while. It has compartments to help keep pieces in their place as well. And, while the pieces are small, they aren't nearly as small as things like barbie shoes which will inevitable get lost or misplaced.
This water bottle is great! It's leak proof, and you don't have to worry about losing the top. You can find many water fountains in the airport to refill it with water. Or there are usually a few places that sell juice or milk if your child prefers. (Tip: Liquid requirements and restrictions do not apply to bottle fed babies- bring all the bottles you need!)
You never know if your terminal or flight will have kid friendly snacks. And, parents, this isn't the time to get them to eat healthy. Focus on what will fill them up, entertain them, and keep them calm. Also, organization is the key to your sanity! Place all snacks in their own zip pouch. (You are not guaranteed that you will remember or find their favorite snacks again for your return flight. Pack another bag, and keep it in your luggage for the flight home.)
Snack ideas: candy necklaces, pretzels, goldfish, gummies, cheerios, veggie straws, fruit roll ups, granola bars, trail mix, etc.
Activity books can be a life saver. It gives your kids something to do and entertains them for a bit. Make sure to pack one that will keep them interested for as long as possible without requiring too much adult help.
10. Travel Blanket
Yes, most flights have blankets; but, let's be honest, they aren't that comfortable or warm. If you have a small blanket at home that you can pack, great. If not, purchase one a few weeks before so your child can get familiar with it. A blanket that they know and love is always more comforting than a new one.
Plain doodle paper, playful stickers, and colors in a zip pouch are a must! Crayons in a zip pouch is the way to go (trust me the box will tear or they will roll everywhere). A 3-ring binder is a great way to keep your children occupied while also giving them an outlet to create their own form of a travel journal. They can doodle and sketch different memories from the trip and the zipper pouch keeps all of their coloring utensils organized with the journal.
12. Passport Cover
Passport covers are great for many reasons with the most obvious being that it protects this vital travel document. Odds are that most kids will want to see their passport. Get a passport cover for protection from those sticky fingers, and let it be a fun additive to getting your kid excited about being on the go!
13. Ticket Pouch
Again, organization keeps you sane. Keep yourself organized with having everyone's tickets and passports in one place. The idea is to not let your kids be responsible for their own passports or important documentation. My sister let me borrow her travel pouch on a recent trip, and it worked great because it has a built in wallet as well! I kept everything in one place, and it was great!
Long walks are inevitable when flying; and, long walks mean tired kiddos. It doesn't matter how old they are, be prepared! With an umbrella stroller, your child can take a break from walking and/or take a nap. Plus, the stroller can hold all of your carry ons and travel items. Then, you can check the stroller at the plane. This one meets TSA standards and unlike other umbrella strollers, it has lots of bottom storage!
Don't leave their precious bear, baby, or puppy at home! Always, always pack their favorite animal or doll! Being in a new place will evoke feelings of wanting comfort and their favorite stuffed animal is a must in those situations! Don't forget to bring that toy that currently sparks their interest! If there is a favorite toy that they are currently in to, then BRING IT!
If you have a window seat, then here is a nifty idea - window clings! They can entertain kids for a while! They can decorate their window and enjoy a new world with their imagination.
17. Sticker Rewards
Reward your child along the way. Stickers are a great reward on travel days. For example: Every hour they get a sticker to put in their binder! See how many stickers they can get before you land!
Sometimes some soothing music is all they need to settle them down for a quick nap while drowning out that chatty neighbor or crying baby. Make sure to have their favorite tunes downloaded and ready to go! Also, if your child is like mine and is used to falling asleep to a certain song or to white noise, make sure to have all of that handy!
19. Extra Clothes
Roll-up and rubber band at least two sets of clothes. No parent wants their child to spill their entire lunch in their lap while traveling, but trust me it can and has happened. I was so glad I packed extra clothes so my kid wouldn't be wearing ketchup the rest of the day (insert face palm).
20. Surprise Toy
Buy a toy they haven't seen yet. Something new is always more entertaining and exciting. Now is the time to give in and buy that small Barbie or toy car they've been asking for as a reward for a day well traveled!