Navigating the Friendly Skies – Tips for Traveling with Little Ones

I remember it like it was yesterday… Our first trip traveling with a little one – my mind was spinning as I poured a large glass of wine and sat down on the couch, staring at all of the equipment I was convinced I could somehow manage in the narrow aisle of a Southwest airplane. In true “Candace” fashion, I had obviously waited until the night before to even start thinking about traveling with little ones. I hit the internet for tips – I can do this. Wait, no I can’t! Goodie bags for passengers? I don’t have time for that?! Are people going to hate me? Will I even make it to the the plane? How was I ever going to get ALL OF THIS STUFF and a tiny human ready to go by tomorrow morning! How do people handle traveling with little ones?

I wish I could say that the trip was a success, but it wasn’t. Let’s put it this way, goodie bags wouldn’t have been enough to win over the other passengers on that flight. I was overwhelmed and stressed to the max, which, of course, meant my darling little baby was too. It was the longest three hours of my life.

Since then, the thought of traveling with little ones sends my heart racing and makes my ears hot (it happens when I get nervous, we all have something.) In fact, it makes me so nervous, that we haven’t been on an airplane with kids since then… that’s nearly seven years. But that’s all about to change. This year, we are all headed to Boston – yay!

You won’t catch me unprepared again! I’m still probably not making Goodie bags, but I’ll be in a better position than I was then, even with a second child (a terrible two, mind you) thrown into the mix. I decided to ask the experts – my tribe of neighborhood moms who are smarter, braver, and clearly more prepared and put together than I am! Here are some of their expert travel tips.

  1. WEAR YOUR BABY

If your baby is small enough, wear her! You can walk right through security that way, and it is 100 times easier than going through with a stroller!

2. BUY YOUR TODDLER HIS OR HER OWN BAG

Let them help you pack it with snacks, books, or toys. Make them “responsible” for that bag. It gives them something to focus on in the airport.

3. GET AN ESCORT PASS

If you’re traveling solo with your little one, request an escort pass for your partner, mom, best friend, whoever… This will allow them to get through security and help you get to the gate.

4. LOAD YOUR STROLLER

Wearing your baby means you have room in the stroller. Use it like a cart so you have less to carry.

5. PACK AS LIGHTLY AS POSSIBLE

Only pack the essentials, don’t get bogged down with the extras that you or your kids can live without. Worst case scenario, you can always purchase them when you get to where you’re going!

6. DON’T BE AFRAID TO CHECK YOUR BAGS

Your carry on items will be full of stuff for the kids – don’t be afraid to check bags that contain items you won’t need access to while on the plane.

Lastly, they all told me the most important thing is to REMAIN CALM!

Don’t stress about your baby crying or forgetting something. It happens everyday, and people really do understand that traveling with little ones can be stressful.

And if you happen to see me in the airport looking like I’m about to cry, please remind me.

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