So you’ve decided to do it. You finally booked that family vacation. Amazing! There’s just one thing that’s standing between you and that dream destination…the airport. It’s quite an understatement to say that taking kiddos through the airport is not for the faint of heart, but we’re confident that you’ve got what it takes to make your family airport experience easy and breezy. But, just in case you don’t have as much confidence as us, we’ll give you our ultimate guide to airport travel with kiddos.
1. Prepare to get in line for security
Before you even get to the security line, you can set yourself up for success. Have your documents handy, and take out as much from your stroller as possible before you get in line. We’re talking laptops, shoes, liquids, etc. This can keep you from getting overwhelmed once your turn arrives and you need to fold the stroller!
2. Invest in TSA PreCheck
If you’ve been on the fence about getting Clear or TSA PreCheck, this is your sign. If there is one thing that can take a good mood to a bad one quickly, it’s waiting in line. Why don’t you save yourself the hassle? With PreCheck, you’ll be able to breeze right through security, meltdown free, because let’s be honest — trying to get your shoes off while balancing a kiddo on your hip is the best way to start cursing the day you decided to book a vacation.
3. Outsmart the system
Speaking of the TSA, did you know that you can bring liquids and snacks through if they are for your kids? You’re welcome! Brush up on the rules before you go, so you can make sure you’re taking full advantage of all the perks to traveling as a family. For example, breast milk, powdered formula, baby food, snacks, bottles, and sippy cups are all good to go! This extends to liquid and cream medications, too. Just make sure to put them in their own bin through the X-ray machine. Even if they get pulled for additional screening, don’t worry. TSA agents are trained to clear your items and send you on your way!
4. Bring the right stroller
Have you ever accidentally worn really uncomfortable shoes on a day where you ended up walking a ton? Well, that’s how it feels when you bring the wrong stroller on vacation. Luckily, our new Travel stroller is the perfect option for any getaway. It’s lightweight, compact, and it easily fits into any overhead compartment. Don’t forget your stroller carry straps for even easier transport!
5. Talk with your kids beforehand
When your kids know what’s coming, they can more easily handle unusual circumstances. Get them excited about the airport experience by letting them know how you’ll get there, what will happen once they’re there, who they’ll meet, and so on. You can even let them know that you have a plan, but sometimes things change once you’re there, and that’s okay. By including them in the process, you have the opportunity to minimize any anxiety they might be experiencing.
6. Change diapers before the flight
We know that this one might sound obvious, but it’s so easy to forget with all the moving parts that come with trying to get everyone on the plane in one piece. Airplane bathrooms are unpleasant for a single adult, so changing a diaper in one can be pretty dang rough. Of course, unforseen blowouts are sometimes unavoidable, but you can help minimize the chances of a less-than-ideal diaper disaster.
7. Get energy out before boarding
There is nothing worse than being stuck on a plane as an exhausted parent with a kid who seems to have just found a new reservoir of energy. It makes for a loooong flight. Get out as much energy as you can before boarding! Many airports have kids play areas for this very reason, but we’re not opposed to countless trips down the moving sidewalks, either. Endless entertainment.
8. Always pack extra
Listen, vacation with kiddos is not the time to try out minimalism. We’re talking extra wipes, extra clothes, extra snacks (you get the drill). Traveling brings you out of your routine and comfort zone, which is what we love about it, but it can also bring up lots of unforeseen circumstances in the kiddo department. Over preparedness is the way to go, always.
9. Pack plenty of entertainment
So, you’ve made it through the airport. You’re waiting at the gate. But somehow, your kids STILL have energy to get out. Come prepared for plenty of entertainment to keep things steady during periods of downtime. Whether it’s toys, books, or movies, you’ll thank yourself later for having a variety of things to keep your kiddos occupied. For in-flight entertainment, these suction fidget spinners are a favorite for busy littles. These gel window clings are so fun too, if you’ve scored the window seat. We also love to gift wrap little gifts before the trip to build some excitement for the kiddos and some occupied time for the adults.
10. Look into toddler headphones
When traveling, of course you’re doing everything in your power to make everyone around you, yourself, and your kids as comfortable as possible. Depending on the age of your kids, it could be worth investing in a pair of toddler headphones (yes, they exist!). Not only do they fit kids more comfortably, but they often have more noise protection features, too.
Want to know more of our travel tips? Head to the blog!