We’re leaving tomorrow for Easter weekend at the coast (we’re heading back to Sand Island Cottages at Tiwi Beach!), so without further ado, here is part two of our best tips for flying with babies and kids! (Did you miss Part One? Check it out!)
More toys and distractions
One in-flight toy that surprised me was toddler flash cards. I threw a package of these in Claire’s carry on once, and she wound up playing with them the entire flight. She would take the cards out of the pack, one by one, and stick them inside the seat pocket. When she finished, I put them all back inside the pack, and she’d start again. Amazing.
Now that Claire is a bit older, and will get her own seat, we’re going to bring along this fun magnetic face game. It is kind of like a magnetic paper dolls game, where you decorate a number of blank faces with different eyes, noses, mouths, and accessories. It has about a billion pieces, which would normally be a no-no for a travel toy, but since the pieces are all magnets, and they come in a metal box, I’m not too worried about losing them. And they come with so many, if she loses a stray nose or earring, I don’t think it will be catastrophic.
Of course, if all else fails, we don’t hesitate to use the iPad. It has magical powers that can still the fidgetiest toddler. We got these toddler headphones from Kidz Gear. They’re designed to fit little kids’ heads, and they have an external volume limit control, so Claire can’t blow her little ear drums out. Plus, they look cool, so Claire loves wearing them, and we don’t disturb our neighbors with the dulcet tones of Sesame Street for the 100,000th time.
Then again, despite the fact that I pack loads of toys for Claire, sometimes all she wants to do is play with plastic cups, water bottles, barf bags (clean ones), and in-flight magazines. Go figure.
Potty breaks and diaper changes
One big concern when flying with kids is how to deal with diaper changes, and going to the bathroom in general. When Claire was still in diapers, my policy was to change her just before boarding, whether she needed it or not. Some planes (especially on domestic flights) don’t even have changing tables. And, to be honest, the changing tables in the big jets are pretty laughable. They’re incredibly small, they have no bumper to help keep your child where they belong, and most of the time they’re perched right over the toilet. They function well enough when all you need to do is change a diaper, but if you also have to use the facilities…. Well… Full disclosure, I have actually used an airplane toilet, hunched over under the changing table, with one hand up over my head holding Claire on the table. I’m not proud. But a mama’s got to do what a mama’s got to do…
Another tip for diaper changes – bring more changes of clothes than you think you need, and bring big ziplock bags for blowouts. Then you can at least contain the stinky, stained clothes until you get to your destination and can wash them.
My final tip is regarding car seats. I’ve written about car seats before, and shared my two best car seat travel secrets – getting a cheap, lightweight car seat for travel, and investing in a sturdy car seat bag that is easy to move around. Our lightweight travel seat is the Cosco Scenera, which costs about $40 at Walmart. Best purchase ever. And, since car seats can take a beating in the cargo hold, we’ve also got our heavy duty Britax car seat cover, which has wheels and can be pulled through the airport.
There you have it – my best tips and tricks for flying with little ones. We’ll see if they serve us well on our flight to the coast this weekend! Please share your best tips for family travel!
Happy Easter, everyone…