Babies on a Plane: How to Travel with Tots

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I know this sounds crazy but I am taking two kiddies-a toddler and an infant-on an eight-hour plane trip by myself, and not even sweating it. I think traveling with kids-especially babies-is so much easier than anyone would have you believe. There's so much fuss about it, when really, the fussiest people I've ever seen on planes are adults. Babies don't demand upgrades, get crabby when flights are late, lower their seatbacks in your lap, shove their elbows into your space, or harass the flight attendant for another airplane bottle of Jack Daniels. If you make sure to feed them (or provide a pacifier) during takeoff and landing, their ears don't bother them and they won't cry any more than they normally do. Although, it gets more difficult when your baby wants to walk or, god forbid, crawl. (I can't think of anything grosser than an airplane floor and I've seen some pretty disgusting diapers in my day.) For crawlers, the only thing to do is either carry them up and down the aisle repeatedly or put some clothes on them that you are later going to wash the hell out of and let them go. And carry plenty of disinfectant wipes. Plus, shadow his/her every move because there are all sorts of small, dirty bits on that floor within reach. Now onto the bigger question: How do you handle the toddler? My two-year-old loves planes-they are flying forts in the sky, and what could be cooler than that? She has been talking about riding on the airplane for a month now; she can't wait to sit in her own seat and mess with the seatbelt (at least two hours of entertainment right there). Knowing that the flight attendant will, at some point, bring her juice and a snack (pretzels or peanuts, delish!) makes her head dizzy with anticipation. Plus, the plane is the only time she is allowed unfettered access to my iPad. And did I mention the tiny bathroom? Taking a trip back there is better than Disneyland. Here are my tips to make that flight pleasant for you and your brood:
  • Pack theses travel essentials: a few of their favorite toys and activities that demand time, phone or computer with kid-friendly apps and fully charged battery, tons of snacks and a big bottle of water to keep everyone hydrated, and an extra blanket to drape over the seat so that you have some privacy.
  • Dress the kids in PJs that make diaper changes easy. (Don't forget extras; my daughter once had to fly to France without any pants on after a diaper leak.)
  • Give the toddler his or her own little suitcase to wheel around the terminal. (It will take longer, but it will wear the kid out before your final leg of the journey).
  • Don't be afraid to ask the flight attendant for help. If you are kind and respectful of others, they will hopefully be keen to hold your baby while you escort the toddler to the bathroom for the thousandth time.
And, of course, create your Rockabye Baby playlist to get those kiddies snoozing and dreaming their way to your destination.

Do you have any tips for traveling with tots? Please share them below!

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