Flying with babies, toddlers and kids

(c) HMFG 2015 copyright photo by: mary moran

Contributed by: Mary Moran

Los Angeles, Ca, May 23rd, 2016- While flying I’ve had good and TERRIBLE experiences on planes with my boys. The best experiences were when I packed really good travel food.

The alarm clock goes off at 3:30 am and as I reach for the snooze button I realize I have to make a flight out of LAX with two children under 3 by myself. Living out of state from my parents and having a good relationship

with them has meant flying by myself with my kids a lot. Before you start to judge…my parents and mother in law visit us often, and it is me who loves to go home to Oklahoma whenever I can. I love rain, snow and thunderstorms (but…. NOT TORNADOES). Sunny California has a lot to offer, but a variety of weather and seasons aren’t part of it.

Needless to say I quickly dress and grab my few belongings and then it’s time to finish packing the kids stuff-bottles, formula, snacks, pacifiers, milk, cereal, diapers, wipes. Oh my goodness the list is seriously endless (if you need a list I can send you one).

With 20 minutes left before the car arrives I decide to wake my sleeping children and attempt to get them to go to the bathroom. I keep them in their pajamas and give them some milk for the ride to the airport. As the car pulls up I load everything and everyone in and say a quick, “oh please let me have everything I need and help me get through this dreadful day of travel without everyone in tears”.

My children have gotten slightly older. Our preflight routine has changed a little but for the most part being prepared is still the best way to have a good day of travel. Here are a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way  to make your travel day a little easier.

  1. When packing your carry on less is more. When your bags are filled it will be difficult for you to find what you need in a matter of seconds.
  2. Pack empty cups with lids and straws to have on hand for any beverage they might want or need.
  3. Always have something that they can suck on for take off and landing.
  4. When all hell breaks lose have small sweets like m&m’s that you can doll out slowly and it will keep them busy.
  5. Bring extra sealable bags for trash, soiled clothes and dirty wipes.
  6. When packing food think how many meals and snacks will you be traveling and plan accordingly. Then give those foods at regular meal and snack times. It gives everyone something to look forward too.
  7. Pack foods you like as well, because let’s face it we forget about ourselves. It’s no fun being stuck on a plane for hours with out food.
  8. Avoid stinky foods- bananas, melons, some lunchmeats, etc. Of course we don’t want to upset passengers, but the real reason is you don’t want to have to smell it as well.
  9. When packing grains make sure to pack some kind of protein to go with it-peanut butter, cheese, turkey, oatmeal (you can always ask for hot water on a plane). It will keep everyone fuller longer.
  10. There are a lot of people who hand out apology cards and snacks to passengers in the plane and that is great if you can do it, fit in your bag and afford it. However if you forget I have had a lot of success with talking to the surrounding passengers before the flight takes off and letting them know that you will do everything in your power to keep your child content during the flight. I have been pleasantly surprised that many (not all) I have been very nice and shared that they are a parent as well.

Flying with children isn’t easy and I have definitely had my moments where my child was the one that cried for an hour straight or my child needed a diaper change and there was no changing table in the plane and I have even had my flight delayed so long we had to sleep in the airport which caused me to run out of food, diapers and sanity to be paired with the airlines losing our car seat once we arrived at our destination. Traveling is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it can be done. Good luck and here are some food ideas to take with you.

Snack ideas for the plane (always bring plastic spoons and forks):

  • Bagel and cream cheese
  • Container of cut strawberries and blueberries
  • Apple slices
  • A mixture of goldfish
  • M and M’s
  • Graham crackers
  • Applesauce squeeze packets (not all airports allow this)
  • Chocolate milk powder (to mix with milk when you’re inside the gate)
  • Oatmeal packets
  • Granola bars and frozen yogurt squeezies
  • Finger sandwiches (cucumber and cream cheese, cream cheese and jelly, hummus sandwiches, cheddar cheese sandwich, turkey and cream cheese or regular cheese)
  • Pita chips and hummus
  • Pretzels and peanut butter

If you questions or comments please share. Traveling isn’t easy and I would love to answer any questions you may have. ~mary

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