The holiday travel season is upon us. It’s always hectic traveling over the holidays, add some kids to the mix and it is pure insanity. There is so much gear to pack and scheduling to sort out, it can feel like it is not even worth the trouble. Here are some tips to help take the anxiety out of traveling with little ones.
- Book Early! If the babies are traveling as lap infants, you cannot sit in the same row as a family because there are not enough oxygen masks. Book aisle seats next to each other. For international flights look into booking the baby bassinets. They can save you from holding a baby the entire flight.
- Look into services at your destination where you can rent baby gear. If you are staying with family or friends, have them to ask people they know if there is any baby gear you can borrow during your stay. The less you have to pack, the better! Just remember to pack whatever they use at night or during naps that comforts them. We even brought our twilight turtle on our trips.
- Check the travel warranty on strollers or car seats. They can get knocked around and you want to make sure you are covered. Some brands offer full refunds if you use their travel bags and something still happens to your gear.
- In winter months, the week leading up to your trip, add some probiotics to their diet. You can get great pediatric probiotics or if you are breastfeeding, add some to your diet. They really help prevent sickness.
- Each parent has a diaper bag for their lap baby. This allows you to pack more and throw some of your things in there too. Pack some extra burp clothes, they come in super handy on all our flights.
- Begin with their feeding schedule. If they are on a 3-hour feeding schedule think about how many times they will need to eat during the duration of the flight. That will help you know what to pack in terms of bottles or snacks. Print out FAA guidelines for carrying on breast milk and formula. You don’t want to lose any pumped milk because an agent doesn’t know how much we can carry on!
- If you have to park off site and take a bus to the airport, look for a travel service that will drop you right off at the airport. Los Angeles has a great service called Luxe, check your city and see what they offer families. Saves you from having to get two babies and a ton of luggage on a shuttle bus.
- Pack a light blanket. Put this on the ground and let the babies play for a bit before loading onto the plane. It allows then to expend some energy before sitting for a long time.
- Wear the babies through the airport or use a stroller that you can gate check. You just want to make sure your able to have your hands free. Using an Ergo or baby carrier, also helps when you have to walk the aisle in the plane.
- Don’t be afraid to break the rules. If you have a no TV rule at home or are on a strict feeding schedule, as so many twin parents are, allow the rules to bend a bit. Age appropriate videos are a life saver on a long flight. As is having an extra snack or two. Eating becomes entertainment. Even when my boys were only fed milk, I always did a little extra breastfeed during the light to soothe them.
- Make sure you have a bottle or pacifier handy for take off and landing. It helps with the pressure in their ears. If take off and landing is not happening during a feed, and your babies don’t use a pacifier, give them a bit of water in a bottle. They just need something to suck while the cabin pressure changes.
TWO AND UP
- Once they are in their own seats it makes it much easier. I’ve written before about traveling with toddlers. Some tips still apply like borrowing gear from people at your destination, using a car service, and breaking the home rules. I give the boys echinacea and probiotics the week leading up to our trip.
- Get to the airport early and let them run a bit or watch the planes land. Again, this helps them expend some energy before getting on a plane.
- Try to find a way to keep them contained until you get through security. An umbrella stroller is a great choice over the double joggers. Using a ride on suitcase like Trunki is a great way to get them through the airport as well. If you have to bring their car seats, use something like the Go Go Baby Z TravelMate where you can wheel their carseat through their airport while they sit in it.
- Each child should have their own bag packed with a meal, some snacks and activities. Plus a few surprises that they don’t see until they are mid-air. Still pack a cloth in case any spillage happens.
- Instead of sitting three in a row while a lucky parent gets an aisle seat alone, try sitting two and two. Each child gets a window and the parent takes the middle seat. Having a window keeps them busy and prevents fighting over who gets it. Plus it is a way for them to get one on one time with a parent.