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Smarter Mom: Traveling with Kids Without Going Insane

Posted by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 12:00 AM
  • 28 Replies

You board the plane with your crew of little ones and see fellow passengers with that look. You know the one. If you could see what they were thinking in a thought bubble overhead, it would read, "Please, please, please...don't sit near me!" We all know the trials of travelling with kids: we do our best not to annoy the others around us, and attempt to avoid an experience where we go semi-insane. Here are some tips to manuver around a mommy meltdown when heading out of town with the little ones. 

-- Bring a change of clothes (for everyone). Spills. Potty accidents. They happen. Having your four-year-old sit in apple-juice soaked pants for the remainder of a three-hour flight is just not good. Be prepared with changes of pants, shirts and undies for the kids...and don't forget the socks.

-- Be prepared. One time, I was flying and saw a mom with a little guy who was just not behaving that might have been because he didn't have anything to do except sit there. That's tough for anyone of any age (I offered her some extra sheets of paper and stickers and a few crayons -- us moms have to stick together). Have plenty of activities for your kiddos: movies and apps are great on that iPad, crayons, paper, small tubs of playdoh, One tip: avoid toys that are really small or with lots or parts. Really. Imagine trying to get on your hands and knees on an airplane. It isn't fun, trust me. Been there, done that.

-- Have food. The choices on the plane may be slim pickings in terms of having things your kids will like. Have enough in pre-portioned snack bags to keep them well fed.

-- Don't underestimate the "new" factor. Kids love most anything that is new. A new movie on the iPad will go over like gangbusters, and a new coloring book or fresh pack of crayons or a new type of snack...all good things.

-- Be comfortable. Especially if you are in the car or on a super-long flight, leave the tights and itchy sweater dress at home. Comfy leggings, sweatpants and so on will keep smiles on their faces...and toss in an extra layer or sweater in case the plane is cold. Same goes for you: wear your favorite pair jeans and that sassy sweater coat and avoid dangling earrings.

What is your best and worst travel experience with your kids? 


by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 1:21 AM
Dd is really well behaved on planes.
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by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 7:09 AM

My kids are excellent travelers. The only bad things that have happened while travelling were not because of my kids but rather because the Airline (cough DELTA cough) doesn't own a clock and can't get their crap together. Once I flew a real airline (Frontier) it was smooth sailing. Car Trips my kids are great. The iPad is the best thing EVER, they can watch movies on it or play games and I don't hear a peep.

by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 7:11 AM

We never travel but when we would go see my Mom we would play the quiet game

by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 8:52 AM

great tips!!

by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 9:09 AM

 we don't travel the farthest we go is an hour north by car to see DHs family and DD usually sleeps

by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Havent done the plane thing yet with the youngest but the older ones are great.

by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 9:23 AM
My baby crying in the carseat. I hate that :(
by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 9:43 AM

My husband works for the Foreign Service and traveling sometimes is twice a year with flights ending up lasting start to finish 19 hours!  When our kids were smaller we had to find ways to entertain them on the plane - and I would bring toys,blankets, videos (because most planes didn't have the shows that they watched - endlessly!), kiddie comforts. Bring their favorite snacks, treats...made sure we had papertowels for the mishaps, a bag for trash and just made sure the kids NEVER bothered the people in front or back!  Once I had an old man behind us compliment us that he had no idea that two toddlers were in front of him! Wow! I took that compliment too. 

by June on Nov. 13, 2012 at 10:12 AM

My worst was when my middle child was 9 mo.  We flew to Florida and my son, who was always a sleeper and refused bottles starting at 6 mo, refused to sleep for almost the whole vacation and wouldn't nurse on the plane.  It's also the last vacation we've taken, other than to our vacatin home.  My kids are very good on the car trips we take, which are 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hrs long.

by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM

 We drove 7 1/2 hours in the car with a crying 6 month old.  The only way he would stop crying was if I sang a Wiggles song to him.    We bought a portable DVD player right after that and he became a great traveler.  This was about 9 years ago before apps.

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