With spring break right around the corner, many of us will be flying, perhaps solo, with the kids. For my family, the spring time is my husband’s busy season with work, so he isn’t able to join us on our annual trip to visit my parents in Florida. I could just skip the trip and not fly with three kids alone, but after the winter season, the sun and warm weather is screaming my name. So, I suck it up and just do it. Plus the kids and I look forward to getting away. Let’s be honest, Mom needs some sanity and warm weather.
Over the past few years, I’ve learned some easy things to make the short trip bearable. It can definitely be a challenge, but you can do it! Just think, after the flight, you and your kids can go to the beach or a pool and enjoy that time together. A change of scenery and pace makes you feel refreshed.
Here are my top ten tips for flying alone with kids.
1. Be sure to pack smart. Anything that can go in your checked bags, should go in your checked bags. If you need to bring a pack-n-play check it; otherwise you can rent baby equipment (strollers, car seats, cribs, etc) at your destination. Research beforehand what items are must packs and what are available upon arrival.
2. Bring lots of snacks (raisin boxes, goldfish, pretzels). Mom gets hungry too, so don’t forget to bring food for you. Super tip: Buy water after you go through security and don’t forget gum or other chewy snacks for the ear pressure during altitude changes.
3. iPads are the lifesaver of the trip. They help kill time at the airport as well as on the plane. You can’t always depend on the airplane electronics to work. Definitely bring your own headphones in case the airplane TVs and radio are working.
4. I highly recommend the Go-Go Babyz Kidz Travelmate car seat carrier, if your toddler needs a car seat to sit in on your flight. The Travelmate easily attaches to the car seat, quickly turning your car seat into an airport stroller, making travel with your child and car seat a breeze.
5. Take your time going through security and at the jetway. People will understand. Make sure you wear shoes that are easy to take on and off. Typically security makes you take them off going through, but not the kids.
6. Bring a stroller. Chances are one of the kids will at some point be complaining and want to sit in it. When you have to fold the stroller at the jetway, put your baby in the Bjorn. Train your other children to stand right next to you, either touching you or the wall.
7. Don’t worry about the other travelers. If your kids cry, there’s nothing you can do. Most people will understand, and if they don’t, oh well it’s part of traveling. Hopefully it’s a short flight…or your kid passes out.
8. Suck up to the flight crew. Make them your besties for the flight. They will help you and give your kids by giving extra snacks, drinks, airplane pins, stickers, and sometimes they even let you visit the cockpit.
9. If you have to change your baby’s diaper, do it quickly at your seat if you can. Put the armrest up and lay them down. It’s much easier than going to the bathroom, and they touch everything in there. Oh the germs!
10. Just give yourself a break. It will be tough, and it will be stressful. Just know you are doing the best you can. The calmer you can stay, the better everything will go.