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Tomorrow the kids and I are headed to Florida. My parents live in the lovely Tampa Bay area where I grew up and we are SO excited to see them and enjoy a nice long visit. We have so many fun plans to see family and friends, go swimming, hang out at the beach, and I hope to even get some adult nights out without the kids. Oh the joy of not paying for childcare. Thank you Mom and Dad!
John will join us a bit later since he has to work so I’ll be flying cross-country with the kids by myself. It’s certainly gotten easier as Ronin and Ellie are now school age but flying is not my personal favorite thing to do, even by myself. I love traveling for the destinations, but the airplane time kind of sucks. I can pretty easily get motion sickness and/or tummy upset. My ears always pop and the kids ears hurt on take offs and landings. On my solo trip home last week from Key West I felt just horrid for most of the flight and as I looked ahead to this week’s travel I started to get super anxious.
Travel no matter where you go is anxiety inducing, but a LONG trip from Seattle to Tampa means the need for very well-thought-out packing (both checked and carry-on), a comfortable wardrobe and lots of things to do to keep myself and the kiddos entertained. I’m not just thinking about me so my to-do list is streaming through my brain at light speed by this point. So trust me, I have thought through these Air Travel Tips & Tricks for Parents and I’m happy to share them with you today.
Air Travel Tips & Tricks for Parents
#1 Airplane Emergency Kit.
First on the list is an essential, because emergencies like me getting nauseous or the kids ears hurting WILL happen and I want to have what I need in my carry-on in a moment’s notice. So I created this Airplane Emergency Kit for our trip. Here’s how you can make one too.
What You’ll Need:
I headed to my neighborhood Walgreens for all of the supplies and one thing to note is the container. You of course can use any type of box that you have on hand, even a small kids size shoe box would work, but I used this clear school pencil box to easily see what’s inside at a glance. It also clicks shut so that everything does not fall out of my kit in transit.
I created a free printable Airplane Emergency Kit check list (see below) so you can easily make your own kit. The idea is to make sure you have things that you’ll need for all of the little emergencies that might happen during air travel with the family. Things like the new Extra® 35-stick pack of gum that is a necessity during air travel, not just for ear popping but also for when a family member wants a little treat to keep them sated. I also personally love to have gum on hand all of the time in my purse for every day and while I travel, and this new durable recycled packaging holds 35 pieces of Extra® Gum Spearmint or Extra® Gum Polar Ice®! How handy is that!? (And you could even recycle the case itself later on for a mini travel first aid kit if you wanted!)
In my Airplane Emergency Kit, I also included several different medicines that may come in handy in route like motion sickness meds and probiotics for my poor tummy and allergy meds for Ronin (my allergic-to-everything boy). I found a little stackable pill storage container at Walgreens to put them in. I also added hand sanitzer, lip balm, tissues, bandages, hair ties and an extra set of headphones just in case. I also put in little memo books, stickers and pens for emergency entertainment. You might even include an phone charger. Lastly I added a cute chalk sticker to write Airplane Kit on top. Tip! Be sure any liquids like the hand sanitizer are less than 3 oz.
To download the free printable check list, click this image, hit “save as” and print!
#2 Travel Wardrobe.
For air travel comfort is key, especially for long cross country flights like we take. But of course I also like to look stylish at the same time. For me, leggings and stretchy tops are a great way to accomplish this. Also, don’t forget to wear layers no matter how hot your destination. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been super hot on the tarmac and then freezing in the air even when traveling to hot and sunny Florida in the summer.
This is true for the kids too. I always dress them in light pants and short sleeve shirts, but I also bring along a light sweater as well. It’s also a great idea to pack a change of clothes for the kids just in case, and maybe even for you too. I’ve been peed on a couple of times when the kids were little and let me tell you it was not fun flying for several hours that way. Tip! While you can easily find t-shirts in the airport shops during layovers, pants are hard to come by, so bring an extra pair of leggings! If you roll them up, they are very small for carry-ons.
Also, I like to wear close toed shoes for flying and most of the time I wear socks.
#3 Double Duty Headphones.
Headphones are a must when traveling, for me and the kids, but not just for watching or listening to in-flight entertainment. I actually make a point to make room in my carry on for my larger over-the-ear noise cancelling headphones and wear them throughout the flight. I know they’re BIG and I know they take up a lot of room but believe me, it’s worth it. Of course I can still hear what’s going on around me with the kids in our row, but wearing them helps block out the roaring noise of the airplane and reduce my stress level. If I’m not with the kids, wearing them also enables me to sleep or rest much easier.
For the kids be sure to load up your devices with movies and games. And if you have more than one kid, be sure to bring a headphone splitter. I’ve definitely had fights over watching the same movie before. Also for your kids headphones, test them out on their little noggins in advance of the trip to make sure they are comfortable for a long flight.
#4 Roller Bag, Cross Body or Backpack?
Now, the type of carry-on you bring with you is a big choice. I recommend a roller bag, cross body or backpack. If you know that you need to have all hands on deck, especially with little kids in tow, a cross body or backpack is a great option. Hands free is great. Roller bags are definitely less weight to carry, but rolling them means that one of your hands is busy. However, if you have older kids who are willing and able to help, a roller bag could be a great option for you. Tip! I like to bring this roller backpack. It fits perfectly under the seat in front of me so I can access all the things I need in flight, it can be rolled when I have the hands, and it can be carried as a backpack when I need to go hands free. What is your favorite type of carry-on?
Bring lots of snacks, but make sure that it’s not all sugar. Hyper kids on an airplane is not so good. Drinks can be more difficult since you can’t bring your own liquids through airports, except breast milk or formula of course (and these need to be declared at security.) But definitely purchase some extra water at the airport for a long flight.
Don’t forget to stop by Walgreens for your last minute needs this summer including the new Extra® 35-stick pack, which you can find in the gum and mints aisle or in the check out line. Be sure to visit the Give Extra, Get Extra social hub with tips and inspiration from some great bloggers.