I love traveling.  I love the destination, but I also love the journey.  Before I had kids, I traveled five days a week, 2-3 weeks a month, so I really thought I had it down.  Once I had kids, of course it was completely different!  While airports have gotten a little more family friendly over the past few years, taking four kids on 6 hour(and longer) flights is never the best part of a vacation.

My kids, however, might disagree!  Although it takes a bit of preparation on my part, I have developed some tricks over the years that make the plane flight a fun part of the vacation. Read on and let me know what you think!

YOUR TRAVEL CARRY ON

This should be the biggest bag that you can possibly bring on the plane and still fit under the seat.  It helps if it’s a bit structured, but also needs to be foldable.  Put your nice purse inside it, if you wish, but don’t plan on using it on the plane.  Put your credit card and your ID in a separate wallet.

FREEZER BAG #1

Fill a freezer bag with a different shirt for each of your children.  If you have babies, you will want to have two cozy outfits that aren’t too bulky.  Unless you have more than 4 kids, you should be able to fit all of the shirts/onesies into one freezer bag.

Now, put a blanket on your kids lap if you have older children and put your child on top of the blanket if they are in diapers.

Why?

Kids throw up.  They do.  I don’t know why  – mostly they don’t even have the flu! Air travel really seems to mess up kids’ stomachs – some of the worst blowouts my toddlers ever had have been on airplanes.  Being prepared will make your trip.  When your 5 year old throws up three hours into a 11 hour flight, you’ll be ready!

FREEZER BAG #2

You will need some paper lunch bags – one for each hour of the flight, one for take off, and one for landing. Multiply that by the number of kids you have, e.g. if you are taking 4 kids on a 6 hour flight, you will need 32 paper bags.  Now, label them Take Off, Landing, and then number them 1-6.

Go to the dollar store or dollar aisle at Target. You may even have some of these things at home and if the kids haven’t seen them in awhile, you can totally use what you have.

You will need the following –

  1. 4 sticks of gum or (lollipops and fruit&veggie packs, depending on the child’s age)
  2. 6 small toys/packs of crayons, etc.
  3. 4 snacks
  4. A fun small toy related to where you are traveling

Take Off bag – Include headphones and gum or lollipops & fruit and veggie packs.  This is to help their little ears during the altitude gain.

Landing bag – I include gum or fruit packs and something fun related to where we are going.  For example, when we went to Hawaii I gave each of my kids a pair of cheap neon sunglasses.

 

Hourly Numbered Bags – I give one bag at a time every hour after take off.  I find that the kids love the anticipation and it gives them something to look forward to. I try to alternate – the first bag will have a snack and a toy, the next one just a toy, and so on.  I will also throw one more snack into one of the bags closer to the end of the flight, depending on the time of day of the flight.

FREEZER BAG #3

This is the bag where you put your baby wipes, hand sanitizer wipes,extra diapers, and extra plastic bags for the clothes that will inevitably be changed.  The best part about the extra bags is it gives you a place to put anything smelly, so even if someone did throw up or have a blowout, you don’t have to smell like it.

DON’T FORGET YOUR SCARF

I always try to work a large scarf into my outfit, like this one from J.Crew (although it should be washable). It makes me feel a little more glamorous, but it is also my secret apron, bib, raincoat – you name it!  I drape it over me while I fly and any crumbs, spilled airline meals, etc. go on it – not on me.  When I get off the plane, I fold it up and put it in one of my freezer bags (sometimes with a hand sanitizer wipe) and I’m ready to go.

Do you have any great tips to make travel with kids enjoyable? I would love to hear about them!