Traveling with Littles Tips and Tricks + Printable Packing List!
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Pictured Above: Must-haves for flying with 2: Baby Carrier and Toddler Headphones
Traveling with Littles
Traveling with little ones is not easy. Anyone who says otherwise either isn’t telling the truth or hasn’t done it… However, for many reasons, traveling with littles is often necessary and can even be enjoyable when you are prepared! Here is a re-cap of our latest trip with some tips and tricks for easier travel!
My biggest advice is to make a list and check it twice (or thrice!) I forgot a few things this time, but it turned out fine. I forgot an important pump part (but thanks to Amazon was able to get it in 2 days!), one child’s loveys (oops! time to share!), and my black out fabric. You can find my printable packing list here.
I traveled by myself with my 2.5 year old and 8 month old. We had 2 carseats, a stroller, 4 checked bags, a backpack for me, a backpack for toddler, and the diaper bag. I love the roll suitcases for family travel, and we recently got this one because of how lightweight it is! I find the bigger the bag the easier it is to get to the 50 lb airline limit, so having a light bag is key! Also, we have been using an older version of this travel backpack for years and LOVE it. It fits so much and is comfortable to wear. It has been on 3 European trips (for those trips we forego the rolly bags for easy train transport and so that we don’t have to check our bags) and countless family trips as well.
Check-in and going through the security at the airport was a breeze. I was nervous since I brought milk bottles, but I let them know about it beforehand and they didn’t even test it. I packed it in a lunchbox and used two ice packs. I took 2 frozen bottles and 2 chilled bottles of breastmilk and the frozen ones were still mostly frozen when I arrived at my destination. The airport wasn’t busy at all, which made it even easier! They had a Mamava nursing pod that was so convenient for me to nurse my 8 month old. I don’t think he would have nursed well in the terminal because he is very distractable. So, I was thankful for a quiet and clean place to sit and nurse him before the flight. The airport staff was extremely accommodating. Since I was flying alone with my toddler and baby, I asked if it would be possible for my husband to escort us to the gate. They said it is usually not possible but since the airport was quiet that day they would be able to make an exception. I am so glad we asked because it made the wait for the plane so much easier!
This is my “airport setup.” This Baby Trend Tri-Fold Mini stroller is perfect for easy folding and storage. It actually can be pushed down the airplane aisle and stored in overhead (though flight attendants do not like that option so I usually gate check it to avoid any confrontation.) Our lightweight Cosco Scenera Next carseat fits perfectly in the stroller and even has a buckle I can loop through to secure it if I want to. It’s not super secure or recommended by the manufacturer, but it is perfect for pushing stuff around the airport. I use these stroller hooks to hang bags on the stroller, and keep the other bags in the seat. For this trip, I wore the baby and my toddler walked, but I wanted to have the stroller just in case my toddler didn’t want to walk! I also find that I always have too much stuff to carry on to not bring the stroller to help push it all through the airport. We checked the baby’s car seat before security, but I kept the toddler’s seat (Scenera Next) to gate check just in case I wanted to take it on the plane. Almost every time we fly Southwest, there are extra seats on the plane and they will let you bring the car seat on for the lap child. So this time, even though this is my toddler’s car seat, I brought it on for the baby to sit in. It was nice to have a place to sit him down even though he wanted to be held the whole time anyway.
Once we were on the plane, my toddler had a quick snack before takeoff!
And I pulled out a NEW toy I bought for the baby to keep him entertained.
I packed some new toys for my toddler, but because the baby was so fussy, we didn’t play with them. He watched shows on the phone I brought for him (an old phone we weren’t using anymore.) He used these headphones, and used the Amazon Video app to watch the shows I had downloaded for him before hand. The headphones are wireless and the Bluetooth actually worked! There is a cord also included in the carrying case in case of technical difficulties. The headphones were a gift from grandpa, and I confirmed with my husband that if we were to buy the headphones ourselves, we would buy the wired version for a couple of reasons. The wireless ones are really neat and work great, but we feel like the savings is significant and you wouldn’t have to worry about charging them and making sure you have a cord just in case something goes wrong…
When the flight attendant brought the snack and juice, I asked for a lid on my toddler’s so he wouldn’t spill! I spent the rest of the flight trying to soothe the baby who of course finally fell asleep upon landing…
And, of course, my toddler fell asleep about 5 minutes before reaching our final destination in the car….
My Thoughts on Traveling with Little Ones:
- Know yourself and your kids, what works for me might not work for you!
- For me, having a stroller in the airport is a must have — but I have read many people who recommend just babywearing. I like having a place to set the baby down if necessary and to be able to push my carryons so I am not wearing a baby and carrying a ton of stuff.
- For this baby, it was absolutely necessary for me to bring a bottle of pumped milk on the plane because he doesn’t reliably nurse well away from home. My first never had problems nursing on the plane, so this is why I say know your kids!
- Sleep – try to mimic home as much as possible (white noise, loveys, any other familiarities – sheets or same travel crib) but go with the flow and realize you are going to have to be as flexible as you can.
- If you follow a schedule and routine, try to stick with it but have some flexibility.
- Snacks are your friend!! Puffs, goldfish, crackers — anything to keep entertained and stall dinner 30 extra min when necessary, in the car, or waiting on the plane.
- Screen time is also your friend. My baby screams in the car seat but not when I play Super Simple Song Videos. I downloaded the YouTube videos, uploaded them to my Google drive, and made them available offline for easy playing in the car or anywhere on the go.
What are your favorite travel tips and tricks?
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