Happy Monday Mamas!!
Today I wanted to share some mama hacks related to travel as well as include a few tips when flying solo and with a carseat. I had so many questions about taking Edisons carseat onto the plane on our recent trip to South Carolina and I thought I would address it and answer your questions here!
MOM TALK MONDAY: TRAVEL MAMA HACKS
1 – Make a bullet/check off list for each of your kids for traveling.
I use the note ‘Notes’ app on my Iphone and title it ‘Edison’s Pack List’. This process makes packing so easy and I never forget anything!!! I of course update it and save it for his current age and stage but still keep the ‘newborn’ list too for when we have our next child. Anything to help me take the ease off of packing makes everything better.. right!!!
2 – Categorize the check off lists.
I categorize it into flying, road trip, and extras. For example if it’s a beach vacation I have sunscreen, swimsuit, swim floaties, etc. If we are flying I include birth certificate, passport, headphones, lollipops, small toys etc. If we are traveling for one of Brandon’s racing events I include ear muffs, Gathre leather mat etc. Some of my extra items would include Tylenol, portable crib, (I really would love to buy the Baby Bjorn one because its so much smaller and easier to travel with) baby hat, swim diapers, sunscreen, ergo baby, travel stroller and anything else.
3 – Pack 2 large black garage bags with you when flying!
One for on the way to your destination, and one heading home. I use it to cover my car seat after packing it to the gate with me! I wait to do it at the gate, just in case if there is a possibility of bringing the car seat on the plane. Soon I won’t have a choice and will have to bring it each time! ( More detail about the carseat below)
I love having this when I travel. It’s small enough to pack in my luggage and perfect for sippy cups, bottles etc. I especially love having it when traveling to a hotel. I love having a clean space to dry everything.
5 – Download Netflix movies on an iPad!
You can download movies for free on Netflix. They do expire after several days, so be sure to check before you leave home and before leaving your vacation that your kids favorite movies aren’t expired. Just be sure to do this in a place that has wifi. This has always been huge life saver. I always download a few movies and a few tv shows for shorter periods of time. Some of Edison’s favorite that can be downloaded currently are Sing, Trolls, Boss Baby, Shrek, The Secret Life of Pets, Despicable Me 3. Some TV shows we have downloaded are Super Why!, Learning Songs by Little Baby Bum.
Here is the iPad case we use. It can’t stand up on it’s own, but I still really love it. I also wanted to share our iPad Holder we used in our old car. It doesn’t work in our Tesla, but I got so many questions so I thought I would share.
Here are the headphones we used. I have also purchased these Fleece Headband headphones when Edison was younger to help with a red eye flight and I played white noise.
6 – Have Lollipop’s ready for take off and landing!
I resorted to this after I stopped breastfeeding Edison, when I would feed him for take off and landing to help with his ears popping. If you can give a bottle of milk or water that would work too. But Lollipop’s are fun too. A little sticky 🙂 But keep them entertained and we have yet to have any ear popping problems or fussiness.
7 – Buy a few new small toys before you go.
I make sure that Edison doesn’t even see them, that way it is a new fun toy they get distracted by. Also, I even kept one Hot Wheels car packaged and showed him that is was brand new and we got to open it together which he loved. I bring one new toy out at a time and generally right before he gets fussy. Always does the trick for a little while anyways 🙂
8 – Don’t ever let them get bored!!
I was really good about distracting and had a little bit of a pattern happening. We would play with toys for 10-20 minutes, eat a new snack for 5-10 minutes, then watch a show on the iPad for 20-40 minutes. Then repeated it all over again. In between those times I would let him stand on the floor, or on the seat behind my back, or next to me if we have more room on the plane.
When finding toys and activities, find toys they love. For Edison it is cars. But I would also get activities that he had to think about. Stickers, window clings, velcro books, moving a small object from one container to the next etc.
9 – Always travel with Tylenol
I never want to get stuck in a dilemma where you would have to go to the store in a new city late at night for Tylenol. Although several trips I never end up using it, I never regret packing it with me.
10 – Pack small garbage bag or shopping bag you get at the airport to hold your garbage on the plane.
We go through a lot of snack wrappers, wipes, etc. So having a small garbage sack you can keep on the floor, or some planes have a small hook on the side of the seat in front of you to hang is helpful to keep all your garbage in one designated area.
My photographer Brandi introduced this cup to me and it was so great for traveling. It is the best snack container I have yet to find that doesn’t spill. It has a nylon cover on the top that the childs hand reaches through.
12 – Pick a window seat when flying
The reason I say this is because we were trapped in. Edison didn’t even know there was a space he could ‘run around’ at. Because he didn’t know, it wasn’t a fight we had to deal with. Plus another reason we enjoy the window seat is there is slightly a little more play room. The window gives them something to play with too.
13 – Try to get a direct flight
It may cost more, but in the long run you will be so thankful. It’s quicker, and less chaotic having to get off and on a new plane.
14 – Try to fly in the morning
If possible. Try to avoid red eye flights too. Edison is the most tired and ready for a nap in the late morning.
HOW TO TRAVEL WITH A CARSEAT
– For those of you who aren’t aware, you can travel with a lap child as long as they are 2 years and younger. I have always chose to go this route because why not! and I save money for 2 year 🙂 Once they are two you have to purchase them a seat. Then you can decide if you want to have them sitting in the carseat or just the seat itself.
– Once arriving to the airport, check with a worker while checking in your luggage if there is several empty seats on your flight. If there are, or even a few, I will always pack my carseat with me to the gate, even though it is a huge pain!!! (Also not easy by yourself!) But worth it! Then as soon as you arrive at your gate check again with a worker if you would be able to bring your carseat onto the flight with you.
If there is, they will rearrange your seating so the carseat is closest to the window and you would be sitting in the middle seat. (You can even check the night before your flight when you are pre-checking in, how full your flight is too. If it is already packed, you can prepare your carseat and cover it with a black garbage bag and check it in once you arrive instead of at the gate.)
– (Flying solo) If there is a possibility of having your carseat on the flight with you, I always check the large luggage and the stroller.
And, have no carry on other than the backpack or diaper bag. I can manage carrying the carseat because I only have one child right now. However if I had 2 or more kids, I would suggest keeping your stroller with you. It’ll help carry the carseat or any other bags then check the stroller in at the gate.
– One reason I love to have a carseat on the plane is your child is already used to a carseat and knows that they are traveling and don’t fight to get out. Compared to if they are sitting on the plane seat, seat-belted in, they would most likely fidget and want down. I will probably give the carseat up by age 2.5 – 3 on the plane.
– I really lucked out while flying solo with Edison and had several people so willing to help. Which is generally the case. If not, ask for help. One gentleman helped carry the carseat off and on the plane (he even packed it all the way to the baggage claim, so sweet of him) The carseats are very bulky and hard to carry while carrying your child. So help is needed.
– We also really got lucky on our flight home by being able to pack the carseat on the flight as well as score the entire row to ourselves. It made for such an enjoyable time having more leg room, places for bags, and trash too.