Posts Tagged ‘flying with children’

It’s been a hectic couple of months, so our family (me, my husband, Lilah and my parents) booked a getaway to Mexico to lounge, sightsee, and spend some time together. Though we have traveled with Lilah on a plane before, she was too small to remember or really be part of the process. This was going to be her first adventure to another country!!!

Most airlines have a rule of one checked bag and one carry-on (no liquids, scissors, etc.) so we really had to plan our packing. I felt that Lilah should be able to carry all of her own bags so we got her a nifty rolling suitcase. She already had a small backpack that converts to a rolling bag so we were set. She loved that she had the same set up as all of the adults and looked adorable going through the airport.

Lilah was the only one short enough to go through the Mayan tunnel at the Coba ruins.

The security check turned into a game as to who could get through and get redressed first. Quick Tip: When flying don’t forget to make sure your child has gum, a sippy cup/bottle to suck on or is cooperative enough to try and repressurize their own ears. I remembered this only once we started the decent, so other than some temporary ear pain on 3 of the 4 flights, she passed the airtime with flying colors and was even given a “pair of wings” from the airline.

As you are probably aware, being away from home in a strange environment for a whole week can be stressful to a child. It didn’t matter how much fun she was having, when she was tired all she would say was “Can we go home and see the kitties?” It broke my heart every time. However, within a few days it changed to “Can we go back to the room?” We did our best to create a daily nap time since routines are so important for the little ones, especially when you’re traipsing through Mayan ruins or visiting unfamiliar places.

Pool time was the best since Lilah loves the water! She is comfortable in it, but cannot yet swim without a life vest. Most resorts have swim areas specifically for kids where the depth is shallow. Ours was set up like a beach where it gradually got deeper (no stairs). This enabled all of the adults to take turns playing in the water with her without her drowning us (by holding on to our necks) because six hours straight in the water is more than I can take

Lilah just couldn't get enough of the water. She wore us out while looking stylish in her Le Top Sweetheart Butterfly and Lots o' Fish swimsuits from our Spring 2010 season.

We practiced speaking the native language as much as possible all through our trip and Lilah would regularly skip along a path counting or saying colors she saw in Spanish. Having the grandparents along was a dream since my husband and I were able to get in a couple of excursions on our own. The trip was too short but it was nice to recharge our batteries in a beautiful paradise. I can’t wait to do it again and Lilah is already talking about the next trip. I guess I need to get out the calendar!

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My sister always gets stressed about flying with her kids. I get it – it’s tough lugging multiple suitcases, car seats, toys, books, snacks and more.  I learned some tips to make a flight with your baby or child less turbulent and more smooth sailing.

1)      Visit the TSA website. Give a quick glance to the TSA website that gives tips on air travel with children – this way you know all the rules.  http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/index.shtm

2)      Contact your airline ahead of time. Find out the airline’s policies on checking strollers and car seats, and how much extra baby-related baggage you are allowed to bring. For example, some airlines let you bring big diaper bags, but they don’t count it as part of your carry-ons.

3)      Slip-Ons. Slip-on shoes are great for travel – you don’t feel the pressure as a mom to tie your shoes while your baby is crying or you’re trying to collect all of your multiple family bags. This was a savior tip for my sister! Plus a new reason to buy cute shoes!

4)      Combine. Try to pack anything that can have dual-purposes such as a car seat that turns into a stroller

5)      A sling or carrier is great for going through security. You always have to put the stroller through the x-ray conveyor belt, and sometimes it helps to have a sling to put your baby through security to have two hands free. This can make travel much easier – especially when you are trying to collect your bags and put your shoes back on.

6)     Take your stroller all the way down the jetway. Make sure it has an airline tag and leave it just outside the door of the plane. When you disembark, the airline will have it waiting in the jetway on the other side.

7)     Reconsider boarding early. Typically, airlines allow you to board the plane early if you’re traveling with small children. However, in my opinion, it typically takes at least 30+ minutes for the rest of the plane to board and that just means extra time for your child to be contained in a plane and get antsy.  It is your choice, but I would rather be in an open area inside the airport and try to carry light so that you don’t have to worry about room for your carry-on baggage.

8)     Window, window! I love the aisle, but with a baby on your lap or playing with a child, it can be best to sit next to the window for squirmy legs that might stick out into the aisle and get bumped by the drink cart. Plus the passenger next to you doesn’t have to worry about crawling over you and your child to go to the bathroom.

9)     Bottle or food for take-off and landing. We have all experienced the changes in pressure on an airplane and man, it hurts as a baby or child, especially your ears.   It is a good idea to nurse or bottle-feed your baby during the ascent and descent. This forces them to swallow and helps keep the ears open – this really works! 

10)     Bring activities.  All kids love to pull on the seat in front of them, kick it incessantly out of boredom or play with the seat tray (ha, ha! You know what I am talking about). Bring books and toys to keep a babies’ attention. If you are an iPad lover like me, download books and children’s game to entertain.

11)     Plan ahead. Traveling with kids can be stressful, but make a list and check it twice and it will help relieve any stress.  If you need to, make a packing list and tape it on the front door or your bathroom mirror so that you remember everything.

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