Friday, August 26, 2016

Airplane Travel With A Toddler

The other day H grabbed her suitcase and said I want to go to Grandma's on a airplane. She thinks going to Grandma's is as simple as a ride on an airplane. If she only knew. Here are a few things I have found out since taking a plane back home with H.

1. TSA Pre-check if you can. It is $85 for five years and a child under 12 does not need their own number. The Pre-check was given to us the very first time I flew with H. It was a glorious glorious day. I was already SO nervous because I was flying alone with her and I did not know how she was going to take the flight. With TSA Pre-check you don't remove your shoes or your liquids out of your bag. That's not the best part. Sometimes you can walk right up and go through security, there is a very minimal line if one at all! Standing in an hour long line to get through security with a 2 year old, no thank you!

2. Pick your seat wisely. It is always just H and I flying home so it is amazing to get the side of the plane that only has two seats in our row. It is like our own little space where H can't bother anyone else. I also personally prefer the seat directly behind the wing. It is close to the motor so there is a lot of motor noise to drown out a VERY loud child. Why must my daughter speak at such a high volume all the time?

3. If you have a child under 2 you do not have to buy them their own seat (at least with most airlines). I suggest buying them their own seat if at all possible. We flew when H was about 21 months old and I did not buy her, her own seat. It was not pleasant at all. H wanted the seat to herself, which means she was trying to kick me out would throw a huge fit every time I wouldn't move for her. 

4. When you are traveling with a small child, you are allowed a sippy cup with water or juice in it that is over the 3oz limit. This seems great. My suggestion is to just take an empty sippy cup. When you take the liquid then that is another step in security that you have to go through. They have to test the liquid to make sure you are not trying to sneak something else through. It doesn't take long but I rather not have that step and just fill the sippy up at the water fountain or buy a juice once we are at or close to the terminal. 

5. Take a small umbrella stroller. I made the mistake of thinking that H wouldn't sit in a stroller because she had refused the stroller for months prior to our very first flight. I had to carry her through the entire Atlanta airport. My arm was so sore the entire time I was back home and I stopped on the way to the airport to come back home that trip and punched an umbrella stroller. You are allowed to check it at the door of the plane, and they have it at the door of the plane when you touch down wherever you are going. 

6. Pack light. Take a back pack and a small purse. I have always purchased new toys to bring out each flight. Things like colors and paper, small barbie dolls, hot wheel cars, little Disney figurines. I don't really suggest markers because the one time we took one of the magic pads where the marker only colors the special paper, the lid kept dropping and we eventually lost it. H spent almost an entire flight playing with the snapchat filters on my phone. Technology is our friend mama's. 

7. Go light on snacks. I packed a ton of snacks on our first flight and it was just a waste of space. H loved getting the snacks from the flight attendant. That is usually the only snacks we end up needing but I bring a small baggie of cereal or crackers just in case. 

8. Breastfeeding saved our first flight. Of course not everyone has this option. H was well over one when we took our first flight and I was working towards weaning her. We had cut out all daytime nursing at the time. I hated to nurse her on the plane but it was the flight i mentioned above where she was trying to take seat and it kept turning into a fight. I was worried that we would take a step back in weaning if I nursed her during the day, and I was worried about any rude comments because I was nursing a walking, talking, almost 2 year old. Nobody said anything to me about nursing her and it didn't slow down our weaning one bit. So if it's an option, use it! H settled down and fell fast asleep. 

9. Travel during nap time. H falls asleep in the car and sleeps just as well in am airplane. I love traveling during nap time.

10. Toddler playground. Find out if the airport you will be flying out of has a place for children to play and find out what terminal it is at. If you arrive when they recommend, which is usually 2 hours ahead of time and have the TSA Pre-check, you will most likely have enough time to let them spend some energy at a place that is safe to do so. 

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