Travel is part of who we are, so we have become parents and families that travel, too! We love to show our kids the world, feel the fresh perspective and focus it gives us and enjoy the unique beauty and opportunities across cultures. But traveling with kids can be hard! Here are some tips that have helped us simplify family traveling so that those memories are mostly really happy for everyone! We hope they help you, too! Happy travels from the Puj team.
“The journey not the arrival matters” (-T. S. Eliot) is not quite true with airplane travel with kids! :) Here are some tips that help ease the long haul:
+ Pack light: it's too tricky balancing several heavy bags, carrying baby and holding hands. Pack what you need (if you're guilty of over packing, these suggestions from Oh Joy help!) and prepare to wash clothes mid-trip and purchase available essentials after arriving.
+ Get to the airport with plenty of extra time. When you are stressed, your family feels it. Security lines and surprise fees can cause unexpected delays. You want to do everything you can to keep everyone happy!
+ The bigger kids love carrying their own small backpacks. Stock them with snacks, activities and toothbrushes...and let them! It'll lighten your load.
+ Ditch the stroller and opt for baby wearing: you will be more nimble and your baby will most likely sleep all warm and snug against your chest.
+ Eat a good meal in the airport (or a packed sandwich from home) pre-flight- it beats airplane food! "It’s not easy holding a baby and trying to eat from your little tray in front of you. And inevitably one of your kids will need his meal chopped up, or will spill his drink in his lap, and you’ll have to get up to help… Just skip the meal entirely.
+ Visit the bathroom once (or twice) before getting on the flight. Those family stalls are much friendlier than the tiny airplane lavatory and its line.
+ Take advantage of family boarding: "Sure, boarding first means even more time confined in close quarters with your darlings. But having a few extra minutes to get the kids settled as they fight over the window seat, and actually finding a space in the overhead compartment for your carry-on luggage right above your seat, are reward enough." -CNN Travel
+ Dress them comfortably: avoid packing extra outfits and dress them in their most comfy and soft clothes that can double as pajamas. Be sure to layer with a sweatshirt for that cold plane!
+ Prepare healthy, less-messy snacks: chewing can help with pressure in their ears and you want to avoid hungry kids! We like to bring granola bars, trail mix, fresh fruit, crackers, popcorn, squeezable applesauce, pretzels and special treats like gummy bears and bubble gum. (Save those for more desperate times.)
+ Make sure you have food and water for yourself (especially if you're nursing): Travel can affect your milk supply so make sure you are well hydrated and have some healthy snacks on hand like nuts and dried fruit.
+ Bring exciting toys and books: entertain them with new travel-sized coloring books, stickers, playdough or small wrapped gifts (think jelly beans, playing cards or plastic animals) throughout the flight.
+ Download new movies & apps: now may be the time to splurge on their electronics allowance since a happy + quiet child is well worth a little extra screen time.
+ You can do it!: Try your hardest to relax, feel confident that you're doing your best and accept help from the friendly grandma or solo father if/when you may need it.