A friend asked me today if I had any tips on flying with kids, so I decided to just write a post about it to help anyone else who might also be interested. I am sorry in advance, but since I am past the diaper days, I am not going to include the things you should pack when flying with a baby.
This is in no particular order…
- Lots of empty ziplock bags. I did not know that some of my kids got motion sickness on airplanes until our first international flight and 3 of them were throwing up. We now always keep ziplock bags in each of the kids back packs so that they can have it immediately on hand if necessary.
- Tons of snacks that your kids love. Unfortunately, 6 out of 7 of us think airplane food is gross, so I always need to pack a lot of filling snacks for my kids (and me!) to munch on for the flight but also for times when we are running late for our connecting flights and we don’t have time to grab food in the airport.
- Gum and/or lollipops. I have heard that chewing or sucking during take off and landing helps your ears adjust to the elevation changes. My kids always love this part of flying!
- Treats. There are times we have had to wait 2 hours in passport lines and security lines. Having treats on hand makes this insanely long wait at times somewhat bearable for the kids. The last time we flew, my kids just ate through a pack of tiny candies while waiting the 2 hours in passport control.
- Motion sickness medicine and other familiar medicines on hand. Motion sickness medicine has helped my kids not throw up during flights. Also when you are on international flights, keep these meds on hand in your purse or back pack! At least with my kids, we learned the hard way that if we don’t stay on top of giving it to them at the recommended times, they will almost always throw up again and again and again…Also when traveling internationally, in my opinion, it is always better to just bring along other meds with you. If your child, or your spouse, or you get ill, the LAST THING you want to do is have to try to figure out where to buy simple things like ibuprofen in that country. I mean seriously, this can be SUCH a pain. And at least in the countries I have been in, they don’t have a pharmacy down the street that is open 24 hours. Bring your meds with you!
- Charge ALL of your electronic devices BEFORE you get the airport! (Also pack all of your chargers and adapters to carry with you) Oh man, I learned this the hard way. With all the heightened security in the airports these days, one of the things I neglected to do one time when traveling was to charge my laptop. I didn’t know that we would be pulled aside by security and asked to turn on ALL OF OUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES. Now, all of our gaming devices, my husband’s laptop, and our phones were charged…except my laptop that I had not used in 2 weeks (because I had not used it the whole time on that leg of our trip!). My husband literally had to exit the crowded security area…find a plug outside of the crowded security line…find an empty plug…charge my laptop just enough so that they could turn my laptop on…and then re-enter the security line…wait to get through the line AGAIN…and then turn on the laptop for the security guys. My poor husband😇. Did I mention that my 3 year old at the time woke up with a fever THAT MORNING and screamed the whole time we waited for my husband to return (about 45 minutes)…all because I forgot to charge my laptop? Lesson learned.
- Video games. Confession…I let my kids play video games or watch parent approved movies on the plane as long as it is not a time when they should be sleeping.
- Little (new to them) crafts, or markers, small toys etc. for your younger kids. This helps to occupy my youngest daughter when she is bored.
- One complete change of clothing for each family member. Do not pack your good clothes though…One of our friends suggested this before our first international flight and I have never forgotten it since! I was so thankful to our friend for this advice because as I said earlier, a few of my kids threw up…all over themselves! (This is before I had wisdom to carry ziplock bags!). It was so nasty, who wants to sit on a flight that smells like throw up? So I was able to quickly change the kids in the extra outfits I brought and I literally just threw out their clothes because we would not have had access to a washer for about a week after we landed…so good bye throw up clothes! A different time my 3 year old was napping in the seat next to me and then I fell asleep. Well I woke up to her throwing up all over herself and then me. Yes, it’s true. But again, I was so grateful for our friend’s advice because I had an extra outfit on hand for the both of us. Now if you don’t want to throw your outfits away because they are valuable or special, I suggest a really LARGE ziplock bag to keep on hand for such occasions. I have done this at other times as well.
- A small pack of diaper wipes. I mean after all of my throw up stories, need I say more?(Yes, my family indeed takes up more than a row of seats on many airplanes!)
- Lastly I would say, pack a good attitude. I am sorry if my throw up stories scare some of you…and it might seem crazy traveling with kids, but it is SO WORTH IT! I have no regrets! My kids have gotten to travel to some amazing places and have seen some awesome things. I am so grateful to God for all of our opportunities we have had to travel together. I treasure each of these trips in my heart.