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Navigating the Airport and Plane Rides With Kids Like a Pro

If you are anything like me, the idea of traveling with little ones can be daunting. Navigating an airport by yourself can be intimidating. Throw in a few small children and all the extra gear into the mix and no wonder why more families don’t travel often. Thankfully, a lot of airlines and airports have caught on, and done a great job at becoming more family friendly. Additions such as mobile apps for the airports, mommy & me nursing pods, and kid play spaces have made traveling a little more manageable. 

Since I am not a native Floridian, myself, my husband and our two children do a lot of flying back and forth between Massachusetts, New Jersey and Florida to visit family. Along the way, I have learned a lot (mostly by trial and error) about how to make traveling with small kids as stress free as possible. Here are my top 5 suggestions

#1 Pack the car as much as possible the night before

     My family and I tend to book flights early in the morning. This way we get to our destination as early as possible to have more time to enjoy our trip. We always make sure our car is packed the night before with as much as we can to avoid the chaos of packing everything in the morning. We also have our kids sleep in the outfits they will be traveling in. This way mom and dad wake up first, pack up just the last minute essentials, get the kids in the car and go. No one likes getting a cranky toddler dressed in the morning!

#2 Baby Wear through Security

     My ErgoBaby carrier has been a lifesaver when traveling with my little ones. TSA allows parents to go through security screenings while carrying their babies, as long as there isn’t any metal on your carrier. If you chose to do this (which I highly recommend you do) a TSA agent will just swab your hands. (Sidenote: some lotions and hair product residue on your hands may cause you to test false positive for explosive material, trust me, I learned the hard way in Newark International Airport!).  

     Nursing and formula feeding mom’s rest assured that formula, water bottles (for formula) and breastmilk do not have to follow the liquid limit guidelines for TSA. Just notify the agent that you have it with you, and they will take it aside to screen is separately. 

#3 Invest in TSA Precheck

     It was reported that in March of 2019, 92% of TSA Pre Check members waited only 5 minutes or less to get through security! This is a HUGE perk especially if you are traveling at peak times throughout the year. For a yearly fee of $85, you can gain access to a special security line and not have to worry about removing your shoes, belts and laptops from your bags. You can learn more or sign up at https://www.tsa.gov/precheck.

#4 Run Laps Around the Airport

     I am talking hypothetical laps here. My 3 year old has an amazing amount of energy. From sun up to sun down, he can run circles around us. Once we have settled in at our airport gate, my husband and I usually take turns walking around the airport terminal with him. The goal is to let him shake all the sillies out and use as much energy as possible before we make him sit still for a few hours during the flight. 

     You can also bring your little ones carseat on to the plan with you. According to the FAA it must be placed in the window seat. We did this for my son when he was about 2. He was familiar with his car seat, so he had no issues being buckled in for a few hours, and it helped us retain some sanity knowing he was in 1 spot instead of running up and down the isles of the plane. 

#5 Use a pacifier, bottle or nursing session to help with take off & landing

     Take off and landing can be the toughest portion of the flight for both adults and small children due to the changing air pressure in the airplane cabin. As an adult, we know the tips and tricks (ie: popping your ears, chewing gum etc…) it is much harder to explain this to a child. I’ve found that using a pacifier, giving a bottle or nursing is a very helpful ways to get a child’s ears to pop an adjust during those time. For toddlers, things like lollipops and juice boxes can do the trick as well.

     These are just a few of the things that help my family survive traveling and help make our trips more stress free. What are some of your favorite tricks?

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