Hey y’all! We took our first family vacation to Orlando, Florida! This time last week, we were prepping for Leana’s very first flight! So I’m sharing each & every tip that worked out well for us.
I had a whole idea in my mind about how the flight would go, being as optimistic as possible. I was relieved to know that my efforts at planning for a smooth flight, weren’t in vain!
Here’s what I recommend when flying with little ones:
Book flights close to bed or nap time. I think this is the best tip I can offer, especially for a small child’s first flight. Both of our flights were super early in the morning, well before Leana usually wakes up. I knew she’d be tired once it was time for takeoff & I was right! For the first flight, Leana was pretty anxious once realizing we were actually “stuck” on the plane but since she was so tired, she tapped out almost immediately after taking off. She was a lot more calm during the 2nd flight & ended up sleeping for most of that one too.
Do your research on the airline + flight allowances for flying with children. Airline guidelines vary, when it comes to flying with infants & toddlers. Some allow extra carry-on baggage, free/low-cost checked items, etc.
- We brought a backpack diaper bag onto the flight, as we were allowed an extra carryon for Leana. & we decided to check the car seat, but take the stroller onto the plane. We were able to leave it up front, to be held onto during the flight.
- We didn’t purchase a ticket for Leana, which saved us from taking the car seat on the plane + wasting money, since I knew she would sleep on one of our laps anyway. However, the airline still required us to add her to our reservation so if that applies to your flight too, be sure to call well ahead of your departure, to communicate that information to them
- Make sure you have a form of identification for your child. According to the airline’s website, there’s a chance that proof of identification may be required. This is obviously true for international flights but it’s sometimes requested for domestic flights so we didn’t want to risk it & just brought a copy of Leana’s birth certificate along.
Utilize stroller or purchase cart provided by airport. Both the stroller & rented carts were lifesavers! Lugging multiple bags through a busy airport plus wrangling a toddler was exhausting. It was great to have somewhere to store some of the luggage, making it easier to navigate the airport.
Pack activities & snacks. I purchased activity sets & books from Target’s $1 section, to keep Leana occupied in the airport & on the flight. We also brought her iPad & downloaded a few games on it for extra entertainment. We packed + purchased snacks to eat in the airport + take on the plane & we made sure to fill Leana’s water bottle.
Stick to carryon luggage, if possible. Being able to head right out the airport, once exiting the plane with your luggage, is an underrated blessing! We checked the car seat + some of our luggage (we had carryons but the plane ended up being full!) so we ended up having to wait on our things at baggage claim. It wasn’t so bad of a wait after our returning flight but we waited forever when we got to Florida. Leana was restless & we all grew impatient.
Check with the car rental company about renting car seats. I knew that our rental company provided car seats but since we’re in a pandemic + I’m pretty picky, I wasn’t sure about the quality of the seats they had nor the cleanliness. We were able to see the car seats that the rental company provided & they were in great condition & actually the same exact style as one of our seats. So if you’re comfortable with renting a seat, do it!! It’d be one less thing you have to transport.
If you do take car seats & strollers, use bags/covers for them. Y’all know how bad luggage gets thrown around at the airport & baby gear is no different. We used bags to protect the items from damage.
Use the self-check-in kiosks or check-in on the airline’s app or website, prior to arriving at the airport. This will save a bit of time when getting checked in. Using the kiosk eliminated one of the many long lines we had to stand in.
Store sanitizing supplies in an easily accessible location. Airports & airplanes are notorious for harboring loads of germs, regardless of COVID being prevalent so I had sanitizing wipes & hand sanitizer on deck! It’s hard to keep a toddler from touching things so keeping everyone’s hands & area clean, is imperative.
Stay calm & think positively. The general stress of traveling with kids, especially during a pandemic, can take a toll & upset anyone well before the trip has even started! So try to take it easy to avoid burnout & so that everyone remains happy & stress-free during the process.
I hope this post was helpful! Let me know in the comments, if you’re headed on any vacations this summer! & feel free to ask any questions you have.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.. I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.