Our three week journey to Denver to visit my husband's family is about to come to an end. On Tuesday, we board the plane for the flight back to Alaska. Traveling with a 2-year-old and 7-month-old is not exactly easy. Flying with children seems to cause anxiety for parents and for other passengers on the plane. I consulted with lots of parents and seasoned travel professionals before we went on this trip. I thought it would be helpful to share all of the tips I've learned, and perhaps to pick up some tips from others.
Burn the Midnight Oil: We had great luck with the red-eye flight. We kept the kids up until boarding time and they slept the entire time. Direct flights work best. We had a layover in Portland during the flight to Denver and the kids got a little cranky, but luckily they settled back down.
Sit in the Back: We always sit in the very back of the plane. We are right next to the restroom to get drinks of water, or to escape if one of the kids starts screaming. I find it is louder in the back and the white noise puts the kids right to sleep.
One Stroller; Free Hands: If you have small children, a double stroller works well. That way, you aren't dealing with separate strollers while boarding and while moving between gates. On that note, try to keep your hands free. During the trip here, I had the sling, diaper bag and two blankets. It was too much to deal with while getting on and off of the plane. For the trip home, I'm packing the sling, and will scale down to one small blanket.
Technology Is Your Friend: For toddlers, a portable DVD player with headphones works well. If you are an i-Phone parent, there are tons of free apps designed to entertain small children. Click Here for more information about iPhone apps designed for children.
Pack the Essentials: Bring a small thermos with warm water for bottles. Also, bring milk for the toddler. There was not milk available on the plane during the trip from Anchorage to Denver. In addition, pressure can be hard on your child's ears. Have some Tylenol available. Doctors advised me to give a bottle or paci to the baby during take-off and landing. It helps to time your feedings so baby is hungry during those key times.
What other tips do YOU have? Wish me luck for the flight back to Anchorage. I'll be sure to give an update. Below are some great Web sites with information and tips for travel with children: