With the holidays fast approaching, there is a much talked about topic as we plan family get togethers; traveling with kids. Traveling with young kids can be a very rewarding and memorable experience. It can also be very daunting for those that have never embarked upon it, or are new to it. It can be hard enough to wrangle kids inside the comfort of your home – let alone in a crowded airport at the height of travel season! Just remember that with the hard work, comes the reward. As a child, I traveled a lot with my parents, and I still enjoy looking at photos, hearing stories about the trips, and reminiscing on the times that I remember. Whether it’s a quick flight to the next state, or a flight across the world – in my experience, I have always found that prior planning and preparation brings the smoothest adventure!
Here are some tips and tricks for traveling with kids:
A wrap/sling/carrier will be very handy, when going through the airport, and at the destination. Bring one that you know your little one loves, and is comfortable for you, and your partner. A ring sling is often most comfortable during the flight, and a soft structured carrier may work best for getting through the airport, especially if someone other than you will be carrying. FAA regulations state that you can’t wear your baby during take off and landing, but this seems to have a varying degree of enforcement airline to airline. Note that some airlines may ask for the child’s birth certificate. It doesn’t always happen, but might be best to have just in case!
A stroller might be cumbersome to travel with, but often it is great to have once you arrive, depending on your destination. Just wheel it up to the plane, and it will be loaded on for you and ready for you when you depart the plane.
Car seats are an option for the plane, although you will have to purchase a separate seat in order to use it. Make sure the seat you plan to use is permitted for airline travel and will fit within the dimensions of the airplane seat. You can also bring the car seat up to the plane to be loaded, instead of using at the seat. A great method to transport the car seat is the Go Go Babyz Travelmate, which converts a car seat into a stroller. For a child weighing 22-44 lbs, a CARES harness, which is FAA approved, is another great safety restraint option for use on their own seat.
Here is a great link to the Federal Aviation Administration's Child Safety information.
Often times you may be visiting places where you will have access to an extra crib, pack n’ play, or you are able to co-sleep. For the times that you need to bring a sleep option with you, there are great lightweight and user-friendly products:
Here’s a great link to a further comparison on travel cribs.
Activities for the Plane:
doctor: Band-Aids and little people/animals
etch a sketch
cup of ice for a quick sensory activity
travel magna doodle
coloring books that use water pens
painters tape/washi tape
pom-poms and cups (filling, pouring, ect.)
DIY sensory bottle (my all-time favorite)
special screen time with photos, video clips, ect. (iPad Sandra Boynton app)
Peel N’ Stick/Paper dolls
My Busy Kit
Mini plastic animals
A handful of magnetics (appropriate sizes)
Try to bring toys/books that are new to them
Snacks are also a great way to keep kids engaged – pack a variety of colors, textures and tastes
Pumping while Away:
Some airports have pumping stations, so be sure to look for them.
A pump is considered a medical device, so it doesn’t count as carryon.
Some hotels will freeze milk for you until departure.
Many Moms find a stainless steel insulated growler keeps milk well.
There is a milk service that will properly express ship pumped milk from your location, to your home.
Traveling with milk through airports:
It can be easier to get through if milk is frozen.
Note: In Mexico you can’t travel with it unless you have a baby with you.
If you are looking for a quick getaway to try out traveling with your little one, and aren’t quite prepared to take a flight, try some closer getaways in the car. The Clipper goes from Seattle to Victoria, B.C. It offers easy travel time to a beautiful, family friendly city. Leavenworth is also relatively close by, and offers great holidays activities for the whole family.
I hope this post was of help to you and your family. Travel nannies are also available to accompany families on trips. This allows you to have less to worry about, and get some much-needed adult time. If you are interested in having an experienced and reliable travel nanny accompany your family, contact West Coast Nannies to discuss further.