Traveling Tips & Tricks with Tots
Ok, if I’m being completely honest… you just never know what an airplane ride is going to be like with little ones, especially if you have some spirited little dragons on your hand. You could get lucky… & worse, you could get unlucky.
I have a few tips & tricks that might help you avoid unlucky situations while traveling with tots. Before I begin, I’m going to have my own disclosure & let you all know I had two very different traveling scenarios on my recent trip to Puerto Vallarta. YES, our trip was incredibly fun, full of adventure & fun family chaos, yet traveling in a plane is never anyone’s favorite part… right?? I wouldn’t say one airplane ride was totally horrible (because there were naps involved); however, there were still lots of tears & feelings of frustration.
Some people LOVE traveling later (like bedtime hours) for their kiddos because they have kiddos that will sleep on planes. Well, mine may fall asleep for a minute here & there, but real sleep when they aren’t in their own beds/cribs is just not a reality for my kiddos.
Our flight going to Puerto Vallarta was around 3 PM our time and my kiddos were pretty much happy & entertained most of the flight with different toys & gadgets (which I’ll be listing below). Now, IF Bennett isn’t overtired, he can pretty much travel happy now. Key word “IF!” Now, Kennedy (at 18 months) wants to constantly be moving around, playing with new stuff after one minute & walking around the plane saying hi to all her family members. I’m very thankful for family who helped me bounce her around & keep her entertained.
Our flight going home wasn’t as smooth. The flight didn’t event take off until 8:45 PM! Yes, PM! So for some, they sleep the whole time. Nope, not for us. Kennedy fell asleep for awhile and so did Bennett, but not quality sleep, which means… DISASTER. Bennett has always “struggled” with meltdowns, but he’s been getting SO much better as he gets older. Now meltdowns are not the same as tantrums, but I’ll save that for another post. Bennett’s #1 trigger for meltdowns is…. Being OVERTIRED. When he woke up from his “nap” on the plane, he instantly woke up in hysteria- the uncontrollable crying, melting, where NOTHING makes you happy- no candy, no ipad, NOTHING. Once you hit meltdown status, there’s really no turning back for a while… So unfortunately for us (& everyone else on the plane), the tears and crying escalated for quite some time. In those moments, you want to hide or do ANYTHING possible to avoid that situation. I was so embarrassed & felt so defeated, but looking back, I wish I would have “let it go” easier. I was mentally exhausted after a long day of traveling. The airplane ride was only about 2.5-3 hours, but being at the airport for several hours before & the waiting gets exhausting. Now in all honestly, the meltdown felt like an ETERNITY on a SILENT airplane flight; however, in reality, it probably only lasted 15ish minutes, but man, that was rough enough! So, if your child struggles with falling asleep in random places, I would avoid a flight IF possible way passed bedtime. However, I like to go with the flow too. So, if that means a passed bedtime flight is cheaper & direct, I’m always going to just ride it out & have a low expectations attitude! Ha! It’s nice to get the flight times you want, but it just doesn’t always work that way & you have to just let that go!
Okay, okay… back to TIPS & TRICKS that will help you out on a flight with little ones. Here are a few of our favorite traveling “things”: Click on the links for further detail.
- Playdough: I usually bring the small containers and keep some for the plane & some in the diaper bag for outings while on the trip (restaurants, hotel room time, etc.)
- Pipe cleaners: this can entertain some little ones for quite a while!
- Decal/reusable stickers: these are perfect for sticking to the window! So easy, fun, & mess free! I love these Melissa & Doug ones!
- Suckers: Yes, I said it. But honestly, anything to bribe them to just behave in front of an entire airplane audience is good enough for me!
- iPad or kid tablet with headphones: I always download a few movies/shows. This helped Bennett A LOT on the flight. Kennedy is still too young to appreciate a movie!
- SNACKS (every single kind your child likes! Ha Ha!): I packed the ones my kids can’t live without: ZBARS, Annie’s fruit snacks, fig bars, & goldfish.
- Post-it notes or blue tape: They can have fun placing them everywhere!
Advice for traveling:
- Just DO it! Don’t let having little ones scare you from going places, even if you have little dragons. The memories of your trip will make up for any traveling inconveniences!
- Have low expectations & just know something will probably not go your way & that’s OKAY!
- Have patience- at the airport, on the plane—traveling can be so stressful, so just attack it with a positive outlook!
- And most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!
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Please share any of your tips in the comments below!
Happy traveling friends!
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