I was recently feeling very brave and decided to fly to Seattle from Charleston solo with two children two and under. Now that I’ve survived it, I think it would be beneficial to pass on some tips to anyone facing the challenge in the future. Here are five big tips and a whole lot of smaller ones.
1. Get a seat for everyone. It may cost more, but you’ll be happier in the long run. Everyone has their own space…..sort of.
2. Pack ALL the food. Seriously, bring enough food for five people, and you might have enough. It’s so much cheaper than buying food, and then you don’t have to wait for the flight attendants to get to you.
3. Wear all the babies. This only works if you have children small enough, but as you can see in my photo it consolidated things nicely. Plus, YOU CAN WEAR THEM THROUGH SECURITY!!! Anytime I don’t have to let my munchkins loose is a plus to me.
4. Use a backpack as your diaper bag or carry on because it’s so much easier to wear it than carry it.
5. Bring carseats on the plane, or do what I did which was one carseat and the CARES harness. (CARES Harness)The children are so much more likely to fall asleep if they’re in their carseats. FYI, you don’t need the carseat base for the infant seat to secure it in the airplane seat. That way if you have a base on the other side then you have less to pack. I brought my jogging stroller and the adapter so I could just put the carseat on the stroller and placed my bags in the carseat. Worked like a charm until I could get to the gate. Also, you can use a travel carseat cart for a larger carseat and roll your child in that strapped into the carseat. (Travel Carseat Cart ) Just to give you some ideas.
Those were the major things that I had anxiety about, but there are a number of other smaller things I learned that are useful to know:
– Invest in toddler headphones & ipad/dvd player. They can’t watch anything without headphones as a courtesy to other passengers.
– Be careful after you get in the air opening sippy cups. That liquid just shoots right out of there!
– Pack your diaper bag in the order you’ll need things so you don’t have to dig.
– Get there early enough to board early, but not much earlier than that. It’s nice to be the first on the plane.
– Carseats can’t go in the aisle seat, FYI.
– Bring a lovey or familiar blanket.
– Play your sound spa on an app on your phone until the flight attendant realizes where it’s coming from and asks you to turn it off.
– Pack spare clothes for you and the kids. Always good to have spares.
– Puke bags. Just do it.
– Melatonin can be helpful if you’re kids are old enough for that, and if you’re comfortable using it. Dramamine is good too, if they get motion sick.
– Do not underestimate your baby’s ability to unhook their seatbelt.
– Drink a lot of wine, but don’t pass out on the flight.
– Have someone park & walk you to baggage check and security. I promise it will make your life so much easier.
– Realize that plastic beverage cups are so much better than any toys you brought for the baby. You can also try putting them over your toddler’s ears if they hurt.
– Pack touchy feely board books.
– Don’t be afraid to let the baby tear up a beverage napkin, it will occupy them for at least 5 minutes.
– Tuck something between the carseat and the window to keep from losing things when your baby throws them.
– Pray. A lot.
– Let others be kind to you- if someone offers to help, take them up on it! Relying on the kindness of strangers is okay as long as they aren’t creepy.
And lastly, know that it’s normal to wake up at 3am and agonize over whether or not the plane might crash and your kids won’t keep the oxygen masks on.
You can always put them on once they’ve passed out.