Well guys, we did it! We made it back and forth to Texas with little to no incidents! We had an amazing time with friends and family and celebrated Andrew and Eden getting hitched! 4 planes, 4 ups and 4 downs and through it all MCG was a rock star.
I shouldn’t be that surprised. People say that kids are resilient and its 100% true. We had some tears, some delays (UGHHHHHH) and some jerks that weren’t very understanding. But overall, it was a successful trip and most importantly, I’m not scared to do it again!
Because things went ALMOST according to plan, I’d love to share my insight on traveling with littles.
Let’s start with Packing!
Bring enough stuff for your flight only Travel packs of wipes, snacks & enough diapers to make it through your flight and first night. Buy wipes, diapers, food and snacks at your destination if you’re traveling domestic!
Plan out outfits ahead of time and pack them together! Our outfits consisted of one pair of shorts/pants with 2 different top options. We had a few things we didn’t wear but were also prepared for outfit mishaps. When you pack, pack them in piles together. So much easier for grabbing things quickly!
Buy packing cubes or Large 2 Gallon plastic ziplock bags to pack things in It makes it easier to keep outfits together and makes it so they don’t get lost in the suitcase. In our case, Chris and MCG shared a suitcase. This made it easier to keep her little things separate from his clothes. We bought packing cubes at our local discount store (Sierra Trading Post/Marshalls/TJMaxx/HomeGoods!)
Pack your own baby sheets! They had a Porta-crib for us in the hotel but provided NO bedding. Glad I didn’t forget this one! Also, ask for an extra blanket to make the “mattress (I use this world loosely)” more comfortable
Pack an extra lovey and blanket in your suitcase. God forbid you lose the special things in transit, at least you’ll have one at your final destination. Also, airplanes are DIRTY. It was nice to give MCG a clean blanket and her Eddie for bedtime!
Now airplane travel!
Even if your little is under 2, if they are walking, buy the extra seat MCG is 15 months old and because she was under 2, she was considered a lap infant and we didnt have to pay for a ticket for her. Sure it saved us money, but it eneded up being difficult on the way home. We got lucky and she had her own seat on the way down to Texas. She was able to stand and move around and it kept her busy. We weren’t so lucky on the way home. She’s a little furnace and it was frustrating to her to not have her own space.
ALWAYS gate check your stroller & car seat (NEVER TO THE FINAL DESTINATION) I sat in the window seat and watched how they treated car seats and strollers as luggage. OMFG. It was TERRIBLE! I highly recommend gate checking. Most airlines do not charge either. Its super easy, just go up to the gate and tell them you want to gate check. They will tag your seat and stroller and you leave them at the end of the jetway. Then you pick them up in the same spot when you land.
Buy a car seat and stroller travel bag We bought a Britax travel bag for our car seat. It was awesome. It had wheels to drag AND backpack straps. We brought a light weight stroller and purchased a $12 bag from Wal-Mart for it. Once again, glad it was in a bag. The cheap bag took a beating. There are several tears in it, but it did a good job protecting the stroller. (Click on each picture for shopping link! – no I’m not being paid to advertise, I just liked the products!)
USE A STROLLER IN THE AIRPORT We bought a light-weight stroller for the trip and I wish I would have bought it sooner! When MCG wasn’t in it, it either carried our luggage, acted as a makeshift gate to block her in-between seats and was a “high chair” to feed her in. The Summer Infant 3D-Trek Convenience Stroller was perfect for us! Click the photo for link!
Take advantage of family boarding (or on Southwest, upgrade to Early Bird) If for no reason other than to get you as close to the front of the plane as possible, use the family boarding. AND SIT UP FRONT! Trust me, when its time to get off the plane with a screaming toddler, the last place you want to be is all the way in the back.
Lastly, Hotel suggestions:
Call ahead and verify amenities and accommodations We asked for a pack and play but forgot to ask for a bathtub. Thankfully my sisters’ room had one. It was a pain to go up 2 floors for bath but the shower pressure was too intense for MCG. Request and verify a week beforehand to be sure you have what you need.
Get a Suite or adjoining rooms with family if you can – Baby’s nap. You have to be there while they do. Unless you plan on sitting in the bathroom or hallway for 2-3 hours, you need somewhere to hang out. Thankfully my parents had an adjoining room where I could hang out when MCG was napping!
Bring a monitor & sound machine – My hotel room was poolside so with the monitor I was able to keep track of MCG and socialize. We brought her sound machine so that she had a “normal” sleep setting and was as comfortable as possible! She slept AWESOME!
These are a few miscellaneous things that I learned that made traveling so much easier:
- Starbucks or other coffee shops will steam milk to “child temperature” so you can easily give your kids warm milk in their “bottle”
- BUY ONE OF THESE! It kept MCG drinking during takeoff and landing and made her feeling like a “BIG GIRL” drinking out of mommy’s bottle (click on photo for link)
- WINDOW CLINGS & Stickers are lifesavers – I bought some from valentines day on clearance. They kept her busy for 45 mins. She stuck them on windows and on our faces. Whatever works!
- USE A STROLLER IN THE AIRPORT – YES THIS IS A REPEAT! We bought a light-weight stroller for the trip and I am so glad!! When MCG wasn’t in it, it either carried our luggage, acted as a makeshift gate to block her in-between seats in and was a “high chair” to feed her in.
- Your little is going to cry and its ok! Most people are friendly and understanding because they probably traveled with their kids. As for those who aren’t, you’re never going to see them again so DON’T SWEAT IT!
- There’s never a “good time” to travel – we tried planning for flights during nap time. By the time the vacation was here, nap time was different. We found that the earlier flight was better because we had to wake her up SUPER early and she slept better on the plane. But honestly, it’s a crap shoot!
- Bring Motrin, Tylenol, and Benadryl – Benadryl and Motrin helped us a ton with pain and pressure from take-off and landing. Do yourself a favor and check to see how Benadryl reacts with your little before traveling. It doesn’t affect MCG at all (she gets it from her mama) but some kids get hyper. HYPER KIDS + PLANE = DISASTER
- You can bring as much food for babies as you want. They will probably test containers and a certain amount of pouches over 4 ozs will require a pat down at some airports, but bring enough to keep them from being hungry. Some TSA agents were less than friendly about it, but I knew the rules and didn’t let them bug me.
- Make sure to have extra clothes! Your little will spill food or drink on you & sometimes will even pee/poop/puke on you. Make sure you both have extra clothes!
- Take a deep breath. Try not to stress. Kids are resilient. They will probably do better than you!
I hope these little insights will help you as you go to travel with your littles. Moral of the story is that they are resilient and will do fine. We have a road trip to Michigan planned for the end of July. Hopefully I will have some good car travel suggestions after that trip!
I’ll leave you will a quick story that will help you understand that the only way to get through traveling with littles is with a bit of laughter:
We were traveling home on a 9AM flight out of Dallas. We had to leave the hotel by 6AM in order to return our rental cars and make it through Monday morning rush-hour in Dallas. MCG was a champ through the whole thing. She never cried and ended up sleeping for 2.5 our of the 3 hours on the plane. She woke up right as we were about to start our decent into Baltimore. We passed her over to GiGi and Papa so we could get all our stuff together and not even 1 minute later, we hear “oh no!” As per usual, MCG pooped after she woke up. What was unusual though, was that she blew out a diaper and it got all over my mom’s white pants.
We managed to get her cleaned up quickly by not without being stopped by the flight attendant. It seems that the “delightful” woman behind us was complaining that it was “inappropriate” to change a baby on the plane. That woman also told my mom that she should “go somewhere appropriate” to clean up her pants. Well LADY, the plane is on its final decent into BWI and technically no one is even allowed to stand up. I don’t care that you think its wrong to change a diaper on a plane. Where would you like me to do it? Would you rather my kid gets poop all over and gets stinkier and stinkier by the minute? Guess what, wipes work and get poop out of white pants too. GO FLY A KITE.
We got MCG cleaned up quickly, through which she still didn’t make a peep other than saying “hi” to everyone. I can’t quite figure out what made the lady so mad. It would have made sense if she was screaming the whole flight. That would have irritated me too. But she was just mad for no reason. Maybe she doesn’t have kids? Or maybe she just doesn’t care. But Guess what lady, EVERYBODY POOPS! EVEN YOU! My favorite part was that as we were de-boarding, she pushed passed Chris and didn’t follow the unspoken rules of letting the rows in front of you go first. What a B. Some people are just always mad. Looking back, I should have given her the dirty diaper.
What I learned here is that some people are inherently jerks. And I’m glad that Mom, MCG and I, all had extra clothes and plastic bags for poop clothes. And that I will always remember to be kind to people traveling with littles, because it’s a ton of work. And you just have to laugh through it all because, “the Dallas Housewife Poop Story” as my mom affectionately calls it now, will be a GREAT story we can tell for years to come.
As always, thank you for reading, sharing, posting, and following. I hope this helps even one of you going forward. Or at least makes you laugh!
Love you all!