At the end of March we went to visit family out of state. Normally when Tj and I travel we like road trips. Something about the constant music or podcasts, scenic views, and
being enclosed in a tiny space for hours the intimacy of close proximity. This time we flew. It wasn’t a very long flight only a couple of hours but we learned some things and I think they would be really great to know BEFORE you get to the airport!
1. Pack light. I can not fucking stress this enough. When you think you have packed light, unpack some things. You can download my Baby Travel Checklist and Travel Checklist to help with the essentials! I thought we packed light considering we had a 1 year old and were taking gifts, but there were still some clothes we didn’t wear and things we didn’t use. We had a stroller, car seat (thankfully she still fit in the car seat that clicks in to the stroller), 2 carry on bags, two personal items, a suitcase AND a Pack ‘N Play. We ended up being able to pack one of the carry on bags in to the suitcase on the way home. It was A LOT for us to handle though. I hope for any future trips to only have one suit case and one personal bag.
2. Know what you can check and carry-on. You can check out TSA guidelines here. You should also check with your airline to see what items can be checked free. MOST airlines allow you to check your baby stroller and car seat for free. (Please do so at your own discretion. Things can get damaged.) If you bought a seat/ticket for your child you can take FAA approved car seats ON THE PLANE. This is great so you can keep your kiddo extra safe. We opted to have Ari on our laps, but it was actually really uncomfortable the whole time. She is crazy curious and wanted to climb on everything and grab at everything, which I know is normal, but I had never wanted to strap her in a seat so bad!!! Some airlines also let you check a Pack ‘N Play or portable crib for free and then there are some that don’t and charge you the same price as a checked bag even though it is 30lbs lighter. Either way you should call your airline and double check. I think it would have been cheaper to buy a NEW Pack ‘N Play and left it there for our next visit but she won’t use it much longer anyways. YOU CAN CARRY ON BREAST MILK, FORMULA, JUICE, AND BABY FOOD. TSA guidelines for traveling with children here. You can also carry on your breast pump and parts especially if you don’t want to risk losing anything with a checked bag. You may be susceptible to extra screenings and tests so leave a little earlier and declare the items to TSA as you get to the security check point. I would PRINT off the guidelines and take them with you JUST in case.
3. Make a game plan and stick to it. At the very last minute (literally the night before) we decided to have my parents take us to the airport. This essentially saved us time and money, BUT I ended up stressing about who’s car to take, packing the car the night before, and we ended up leaving our suitcase keys on our car keys. So, make a plan the week before and make sure you have all your shit together.
4. DON’T do anything UNNECESSARY unless you FOR SURE have time. Again, the night before we left, I thought “hey I’m gonna make Ari a ‘Busy Book’ so she has something NEW to keep her distracted on the plane.” Ya’ll, I was up SO late trying to get that thing done. I think I ended up with about 4 hours of sleep. That being said…
5. DO pack something entertaining for the kid(s). The busy book I mentioned above was actually pretty helpful, most of the time. She was fascinated with the lap tray and laminated menu/information pages the rest of the time. A car seat really would have been so beneficial so that we had free hands to help get the things she would need easily.
6. Download any books or movies you want.
We have My husband has been digitally downloading movies for a little while now. It came in handy when our service was too spotty to stream Netflix. I do wish my school books would have been digitally downloaded. I barely got any reading done anyways so it was pretty much excessive weight in our bags. I did have the kindle app on my phone so at least that was easy to access when we had to wait in the airport for awhile.
I absolutely love flying, my husband not so much, so we did have some tension and disagreements when trying to navigate the airport and tend to our daughter. These tips are the result of those minor struggles and will definitely make our next experience that much easier. (Hopefully!)
What makes your travels smooth and stress free? Comment below or tell us on Facebook!
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