So I have finally managed to put away the suitcases and all the gear from our Easter trip! Yes I know we are all procrastinators in this house but we've also had sick kids here to in my defense. It's shocking how much crap you have to bring traveling with 2 kids and the days of watching a movie or reading magazines on board are long gone. I will say that flights with my potty trained 3 year old have gotten so much easier and he is really excited about the airplane now. It's the little 1 year old that is the bugger. She's at the age where she can't quite walk, needs to get into everything, and hates being held down. Plus she actually needs so much more than the toddler - bottles, nappies, muslins, and backups of everything. Here are some tips I have picked up along the way:
1. Organization - I think being insanely organized is the best way to may traveling with kids easier. Make sure you do seat assignments when you purchase the tickets and try to order a kids meal if it's available. Also do check in online as soon as you can to get a good seat if you weren't able to do it beforehand. Try to fly one airline if possible because it makes life so much easier to have status and be able to use the lounge.
2. Get to the airport early!!! - I used to always be running onto the plane before the gate shut and there is no way you can do this with kids. They need to eat, have potty trips, nappy changed, and who knows what else. It's also good to get there early if you do have any issues with the seat assignment and you will have first dibs. I actually have gone to the airport forgetting that my daughter's temporary passport had expired and still managed to get on the plane to America after the British Airways staff spoke to Homeland Security on my behalf in plenty of time. Talk about baby brains!
3. Compact Stroller - Because you are carrying so much stuff and probably at least a child it's much easier to have a stroller that is lightweight and can folded with one hand going through security. I've had the Maclaren Zodiac Quest for years and it truly does the job. It's so easy to fold down and lift onto the x-ray machine and still great to use on the trip.
4. A Good Babycarrier - Double buggies are so bulky and I don't particularly like using them normally so definitely not when I'm traveling. I love the BabyBjorn Active which has extra support for your back and is easy to get on and off. I have the mesh fabric carrier because I find it more breathable for the baby and have used it for both kids.
5. Food/Snacks - Make sure you check the airport security rules when brining on baby food and formula. Heathrow is quite annoying because they make you open half of what you bring and taste it. Most baby food and milk have to be used within a hour of opening if not refrigerated so whatever you open ends up being thrown away. Luckily there is a Boots Pharmacy in Heathrow Terminal 5 (where we usually leave from) so I don't bother bringing that much baby stuff with me and get it all there. I stock up on plenty of snacks especially special treats to get me through the flight. I once ran into a mother and baby who were stuck at the airport for 8 hours during a transfer delay!
6. Childsized Suitcase - My Little Monster is at the age where he likes to copy whatever we do and he loves having his own suitcase for his things. I've traveled with the Trunki before and that thing is so heavy when it's filled. I ended up carrying it for more than he rode it around! What works for us really well is a rolling backpack. He has a lot of fun pulling it through the airport feeling important and I can easily put it on my back without really noticing it there. Make sure to pack some new toys, books, sticker books, and prizes to keep them entertained. I really like the backpacks from Pottery Barn Kids.
7. Laceless Shoes - I love these slip on Converse when I'm flying because you can get them on and off quickly barely using your hands. I've got them in several colors and they are super comfy too.
8. Practical Baby Bag - You definitely need a big handbag to store all the stuff and one with many compartments is great for keeping organized. I have this Prada baby bag and absolutely love it! Pockets on the side for bottles and a big zip pouch in the front. The best part is the strap so you can wear the bag on your shoulders or crossbody keeping your hands free.
9. Layers and Extras - I tend to dress myself in layers because one second you're hot and the next you're freezing so it's good to be prepared. It's also smart to wear multi-layers incase of accidents like juice getting poured on you or being projectile vomited on. This happens more than you would think! I always wear a great scarf when I travel to look somewhat chic and the scarf can hide a multitude of sins. I love the Louis Vuitton Leopard Stole and pattern actually hides stains quite well.
Also make sure you pack extra outfits for the kids because you will almost for sure need them! I normally just pack extra pajamas because they fold up smaller and are comfy to wear.
10. iPad - Need I say more? The iPad can entertain the kids for hours and hours and hours. Make sure you put some new apps and videos on there to make it even more entertaining. I highly recommend the iPad Mini as it so much lighter to carry around.
11. Aden and Anais Swaddles - Last but definitely not the least are the amazing swaddles by Aden and Anais that I don't think any mother should be without. They have so many uses other than as a swaddle and are great as a lightweight blanket or covering up a sleeping baby in the stroller. Babies sometime have a hard time falling asleep on the plane because they are completely overstimulated and distracted. I use the swaddle to cover us when trying to get the baby to sleep to shield away all the light and noise around. These gender neutral swaddles with grey stars are so cute.
Hope these tips help you out next time you head to the airport!
ps - Don't forget your child's lovelies at home or when leaving the airplane! Both have happened to me before.