It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just two weeks away. Where did 2014 go?! If your holiday plans include air travel with little ones, surely you’ve started making preparations for the trip. Whether you’ve made lists or mental notes for what to pack – it’s always good to have some kind of plan so that you don’t find yourself missing an important item. Granted, basic children’s needs can be met at almost any store these days, but being without, especially away from home and especially abroad, can be harrowing. God forbid you leave your little one’s favorite toy behind! It’s normal to experience some anxiety, especially if its your first trip with your kids, or your children are young, or you’re traveling with multiples. Perhaps you’re worried about how they’re going to cope — if they’re very young, you might be dreading the possibility of them crying and disrupting other people’s flight. Maybe you’re concerned about how you’re going to keep them busy for the hours that you will be on board.
So here are some tips that will hopefully make holiday travel with your little one a bit easier this season. Keep all of the below in your carry-on for a smooth ride.
- Pack a couple of their favorite toys. When little ones are in an unfamiliar area, something familiar, especially their favorite, can be soothing.
- Make diaper-and-wipe packs by packaging a diaper and some wipes together in individual zip lock bags so each time you have to change, you don’t have to lug your entire diaper bag with you. (Airplane bathrooms are small enough as it is). Just grab a pack and you’ll have everything you need. Plus, you won’t need to worry about refilling.
- Buy a roll of deodorized trash bags for diapers. Your fellow passengers and the stewardesses will thank you for considering their noses.
- Bring some extra zipper storage bags. In case of a diaper blowout, or air sickness, you might need it to contain the diaper, or any soiled clothes.
- Bring your carrier. When (not if) your baby gets restless, wear them and walk them up and down the aisles. This is particularly helpful if you have a little one that needs to be rocked for naps.
- In addition to favorite snacks, also bring along some snacks you know they’ve been wanting (or if they’re young, that they would enjoy). The surprise of getting something they’ve been asking for should buy you about half an hour of time.
- Load up the iPad/iPhone/tablet with movies and kid-friendly apps that will keep your little one entertained. Don’t forget the earphones!
- If you’re down for electronic babysitters, then load up on coloring/activity books, puzzles, story books and the like for toddlers, and board books, teethers, soft toys, and lovies for the babes. Electronic toys are always a good distraction, but make sure you bring the one that has volume controls because I can guarantee that no matter how entertained your little one is, your fellow passengers won’t want to hear the same melody replayed over and over again, and definitely not at a high volume.
- Surprise them with other novelty items that your kids don’t get to play with on a regular basis. I’m talking simple, essentially throw-away, items that you won’t sweat if your little one leaves behind on the plane or loses. The dollar store, Big Lots and Target dollar sections are great for this purpose. Here’s an extra plus – if you really want to captivate their attention, you can wrap each little item and give them a “new gift” every couple of hours or so. Not only will they enjoy playing with the new gift, they’ll also enjoy the element of surprise when unwrapping it.
- I haven’t personally tried this but I’ve heard that tape can go a long way with (older) littles. Give them small pieces here and there and let them go to town. I guess stickers could also work for this purpose. Just remember to help out the stewardesses and peel off any tape that your little one has stuck around your seating area before you de-plane.
There you have it. Good luck and bon voyage!