This summer we traveled more than we have ever before. With two kids it is hard to travel and get around. We have taken airplanes, trains and been on LONG car rides. While it was all worth it, it was a lot of work! If you are planning on going on an airplane soon, here are some of my tips and tricks to help your trip go a little smoother!
I flew alone with a 1 year old and a 3 year old. This meant it was me, two kids, two car seats and a long way to walk. To make things easier on myself I decided not to check any baggage. Instead I packed everything into two carry on rollable bags and attached both car seats to these bags. That way I could roll my bags and our car seats through the airport and out the door without having to stop to wait for checked baggage. I was staying with family and had access to a washing machine and dryer, so this worked for us. I still had a lot of clothes to pack and a small space to pack them in. You don’t realize how many clothes your kids go through until you need to pack! To save on some space I used the vacuum packing bags. There are two kinds of vacuum packing bags, one that needs a vacuum and one that does not. I chose to use the bags that do not need a vacuum, instead you close them and roll all the air out. You do not get as much air out as possible, but it still saves you an amazing amount of space. I used one bag for Bunny’s clothes, one bag for Baby Sister’s clothes, one bag for my clothes and one bag for their bedding. This was incredibly helpful because Bunny has a blanket she prefers not to sleep without. It was nice for her to have something from home to help her be comfortable when she slept. Had I not used the vacuum bags I doubt I would have been able to pack this!
Once our bags were packed it was time to tackle the car seats. I LOVE BRICA Cover Guard Car Seat Travel Tote. We have Britax Click Tights which are very heavy and large. Once the car seats were fully upright they fit in the Brica tote easily. I was able to get the car seats into the Brica tote by myself once or twice, but it was so much easier if I had someone hold the top of the tote while I put the car seat inside. Once the car seat was inside I could toss in a few more items, like diapers. This extra space was very handy! I then easily attached my Brica tote onto my rolling carry on. To do this I extended the handle on my carry on and put the tote shoulder straps around the carry on. I then used a shoelace to tie the straps together nice and tight. I also used the clip that came with my carry on and threaded it through the top handle on the tote and secured it. That’s it! Now I could pull my carry on and my car seat together! I did this for both car seats and carry ons. It is a pain to get through security, you do have to untie and unhook the car seats from the carry ons and put everything through security. Depending on the airport you may or may not have to take the car seat out of the tote. One airport let me keep them in and they hand checked everything and the other airport made me take everything out AND hand check it. Sigh. Using the Brica tote was great because once I was through security I could easily and quickly re secure the carseat to the rolling bag. I used a few different car seat bags/protectors and Brica was the only one I would recommend.
We have a lot of matching outfits for our girls. I had them both wear the exact same outfit, down to the shoes, and took photos of them both, together and individually before we went to the airport. This way if, heaven forbid, something should happen that separates us I could say, “She looks like this!” I did take close ups as well. My girls were not super interested in this, but I took their photos anyway!
To make it easy on me and my babies I decided to wear them both through the air port. This was great because I did not have to take either of them off of me to go through security! I put the bags and my shoes through security and walked right through the metal detector with both my babies on me. I kept them on me until we reached our gate. This was easy for me because I only had to worry about my bags, not keeping track of children.
We were able to use the car seat rear facing. This was perfect because Bunny sat down, strapped herself in and did not move for the duration of the flight. It was like we were in the car. She was perfectly content to sit and be. On the return flight we did get up to use the bathroom and she thought that was magical! She wanted to keep getting up. Next time I will make sure she has used the bathroom before the flight so we don’t run into that issue again! Otherwise she was very comfortable rear facing in her own car seat. The person in front of her could not recline their seat, but they did not seem to care.
On the airplane I nursed Baby Sister during takeoff and landing. Bunny was able to have a special snack, fruit snacks! She LOVES her fruit snacks and they are perfect for helping her ears pop. Our flights were not that long, less than 2 hours. I did not need to bring a ton of things to keep them entertained. An ipad for Bunny, some books for both, lots of snacks, a water bottle and some toys is all it took. Honestly they were both enthralled with the airplane experience it did not take much to keep them happy. Bunny has always been an excellent flier but Baby Sister is not as easy as Bunny. It took a little more work to keep Baby Sister happy, which could also do with her age, 14 months. She did not like the descent and there was nothing I could do to comfort her. Luckily once we were on the ground she was good, but that descent was terrible. My only advise for that situation is to breathe and not care what others think. Baby is most important. Bunny had her own bag with her special items in them. She was able to get out her toys, books, ipad and snacks when she wanted to with minimal help from me. This gave me loads of time to entertain and help Baby Sister.
The most important thing to remember when flying with children is to have patience. Even if others around you are not patient, let it go. Everyone was a child once. Everything will go smoother if you stay patient, calm and collected especially when others do not. Good luck! Flying with children is always an adventure! If you have some tips we would love to hear them!
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