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Air Travel With Kids: 5 Tips

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
With holiday travel slowly creeping up on us, I thought I'd compile a *short* tried and true list to help make your holiday travel a little less stressful.

Since traveling with my own family of five last month, there are some things I did this time around that I hadn't done before. I am a total Type A by nature and checklists and pre-planning are my jam! I hope you are able to take one thing away from this list that helps you and your family travel smoothly.

#1 Pack Your Own Snacks I might be late to the party with this one, but did you know that you can take your own food through TSA? YES. prepackaged food! While liquids are still a no go, food is a different story. I made each of our kids a little snack pack for both our initial flight and our return flight. This was a game changer for us because airport food is overpriced, sometimes bland, and our kids usually end up not really eating what they picked out at all, anyways. So instead of wasting food + money, I compiled snack bags full of semi-healthy foods and goodies for them to enjoy while we were wheels up. This is great because they each got the exact same thing (minus certain things for Liam) and when they ran out of their snacks, they were out of them.

#2 Drive Yourself This seems silly, right? Why would you want to park your car at a lot or garage if you could get a ride? Wrong. Well, at least for us. Having the flexibility of driving to the airport exactly when we want is always a plus. This time around (with 10 bags in tow), Justin dropped me and 2/3 of our babies off with the luggage at our terminal. This was fantastic because it meant we didn't have to take ALL of our stuff onto a shuttle just to drag it to the terminal. Another plus. Really though, driving yourself also means not waiting to be picked up and it also allowed for Justin to quickly catch the shuttle with the girls while I waited with Liam and our luggage. Groupon had some amazing deals with the company we use for lot parking. It's so worth it!

#3 Check It All I used to be that passenger that was terrified of losing luggage, so I always carried on most of our things, always. Well, that wasn't good for Justin's back or our sanity, so we stopped making a bulk of our luggage carry on items.  When I said we had 10 bags in tow, I meant we had 10 bags in tow. Granted, two were carseat bags, but still, 10 none the less. Checking it all means you aren't lugging a ton of unneeded stuff through the airport and it frees up arms, time, and sanity! Now, we are military which means we don't pay baggage fees. That might be something to consider when you are checking and choosing to carry bags on. *Pro Tip -- you can either check or gate check baby items at no cost. Airlines do not charge for carseats or strollers to be checked or gate checked.

#4 Fly When They Sleep This works for our family SO well. We've done day flights, morning flights, night flights, and it seems as if night flights are best for our kiddos. Night flights ensure that the kids sleep while eating up some of that air time. When we fly, it's usually for no less than about 6-8 hours. One flight to O'Hare Chicago is like 5.5 hours from Washington State and our kids will sleep the entire way through. Packing activities, looking out the window, and watching movies can only take you so far. Fly during bedtime. You won't regret it.

#5 Essentials This might seem like a no brainer, but its so easy to overpack. Being in the air, frantically searching for something i need has definitely happened before. What I do now is use the top compartment of my camera bag to pack essentials. What are essentials? A change of clothes for each of my kids (two for Liam), baby wipes, two pull ups, diapers for Liam, toilet seat covers for mom, hand sanitizer (2 fluid oz), and one empty cup. It seems like a lot but I promise you it isn't. Not having numerous carry on bags keeps me organized because I can't overpack!

And there you have it. There are a million ways to ease the comfort of flying with your family and I hope one of these tips helps you in the same way it has helped my family. I hope all of my readers that are flying for the holidays have a safe and memorable season with the ones they love most.

Merry Christmas!

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