Survival guide to flying with your minis (especially if you’re doing it alone!)

I’ve flown with the 2 smallest of my small (ages 3 & 1) BY MYSELF and have lived to tell the tale!

Let me start by telling you that I was terrified to do this. I’m a mom of 3 and of course I’ve flown with the minis before, even by myself, but never with more than 1 of them at a time if I’m alone.

What if Honor needed a diaper change mid flight, what would I do with River? Or what if River needed to go to the restroom mid flight, what would I do with Honor? What if they both got restless and the tears and screams started? What if, what if, what if?!

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I’m pleased to announce that all my fears went unfulfilled! The whole trip was, dare I say it, easy! I have to tell ya, I have some pretty awesome minis! They take after me 😉

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Planning, prepping and packing is the key to survival when traveling with your little ones.

Here are some tips and tricks that have seen me through.

– First off, make a list of anything and everything you could possibly need in your diaper bag/carry on and pack it! Extra diapers and wipes, sippy cups, snacks and toys, extra change of clothes, pacifiers, EVERYTHING! Definitely better safe than sorry in this situation!

– If you’re flying alone, have someone accompany you to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a gate pass for them. This lets them get through security with you and enables them to stay with you until you board your flight.
This was essential for me. To get through security with 3 & 1 year olds, a double stroller, diaper bag, carry on’s and all, I needed the hubbs’ help!

– To get through security as quickly as possible, make sure you’re wearing slip off shoes (I love ballet flats for flying), skip the belt and don’t have anything in your pockets. You don’t want to be the person holding up the line and walking through the detectors 3 times because your belt buckle and 13 cents in change keep setting off the alarms. Have laptops or tablets out of your bag along with any milk, juice, or liquids. Kids under 12 no longer have to remove their shoes when going through security, so that makes it a little easier.

– Of course, let your child bring their favorite stuffed animal, pillow, blanket, or whatever their comfort item may be, but make sure that you explain to them that, when you go through, security, they’ll have to part with that item for a little bit, as it will have to go through the X-ray machines. Letting them know in advance and even letting them put it through themselves and explaining that it has to “get it’s picture taken” will hopefully prevent a melt down.

– Car seats, strollers, playpens, etc.. can be checked for free. Look up your airline and their specific rules on what they allow, but they’re generally the same. If it’s not a necessity, check it to avoid the hassle of lugging it around with you.

– Infants under 2 that you can hold in your lap do not need a ticket. This can potentially save you some big bucks. However, if you have a long flight or know your infant won’t stand for being held, purchase the extra seat! It can make a world of difference in your and their stress level and make the flight much easier!

I chose to hold Honor in my lap, but a mom across from me had her little one in his own car seat, and it’s a good thing she did, because when she did try to have him in her lap, he was not having it!

Bring along their carseat and secure that in their seat just as you would in your car. Extra little tip on that: if the seat belt isn’t long enough, ask the flight attendants for a seat belt extender, all flights should have them readily available for you.

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– Strollers can be taken right to your boarding gate and checked as you walk on the plane and then waiting for you as you unboard.

– Snacks, snacks and then when you think you have enough, even more snacks! Trust me on this, this is one thing you’ll want to overpack! Pack a variety, in kid friendly crush proof containers. Homemade trail mix, fruit and granola bars are some of my minis favorites.

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Snacks are the best bribery for my minis. I can always quiet them with the promise of a snack. Extra little tip on that: be sure to pack something that’ll help their ears pop and they’ll love as a special treat. I pack yummy earths all natural, sugar free organic fruit lollipops and jelly beans. Even 1 yr old mini queen gets a lollipop when were landing to help her ears.

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A variety of snacks keeps your kids interested and an abundance ensures that you don’t run out if you’re stuck in the airport if you’re flights delayed or, even worse, stuck in the plane on the runway! Yikes! That happened to us for almost an hour and that was, by far, the worst part and must frustrating of the trip.

– While in flight, when the fasten seat belt sign is off, let your kids move around. Now I’m not saying let them run up and down the aisles to burn off their energy, but they do need to wiggle around. I let mine sit and play on the floor at the feet. They love it!

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Some of my minis’ favorite play things to pack are: coloring books and a few crayons (notice I said a FEW, not the box of 100!), Legos, hotwheels, and books. Pack things that will really keep your minis and their imaginations busy! That’s what makes the time pass. And even if your not a mom that likes your kids to be playing on the phone or tablet, never underestimate the power of those loaded with games and movies!

– If you should happen to need an extra set of hands while in flight, don’t hesitate to push your flight attendant call button! They’re their to help you, and very accommodating and willing! The attendants on all of our flight were in live with my minis and would repeatedly stop by just to check on us and play with the minis. Even giving River a special treat for being so good!

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– Finally, consider booking flights with layovers as opposed to direct flights. This could be a great way to get deals and gives your minis a break, especially if you’re on a long flight. We broke our flights up and has about an hour layover in between flights. River and Honor liked being able to run, and crawl, around. Our layover was in Denver and their airport is a great place to explore. Plus it was snowing! It was both River and Honor’s first time seeing snow!

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Like I said, planning, prepping and packing!

Do you have any tips to add? What gets you through traveling with your minis?

 

* airplane bingo cartoon photo credit to NickMom

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5 thoughts on “Survival guide to flying with your minis (especially if you’re doing it alone!)

  1. I’ve flown with my three year old and one year old solo a few times and these are great tips! I didn’t know about the gate pass. I’m kind of a streamline sorta girl….I pack one small bag of stuff, almost always fly southwest so I can check my bags for free (plus since people choose their own seats – I fly Neva as a lap baby and if there’s an empty seat on that plane…chances are it’s next to me!). Also, I think the time of day matters! My kids do really well with early morning flights but they struggle to sleep on the plane so I think if I booked a naptime flight, I might be in some serious trouble (I’ve done this and it was ugly).

  2. Pingback: A long way from home | Champagne taste on a beer budget

  3. Pingback: Dear Kids – Flying With Kids | Dear Crazy Kids,

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