If you know anything about my life, you know we travel—A LOT—and that means, so do our two boys. An average year will have us on 5+ trips between NYC, Hawaii and San Diego, so they’ve become quite the frequent fliers. It makes sense, though, right? I met my husband on a flight, so that love of travel has been a part of our story from day one.
But just because THEY DO fly, doesn’t mean they have to DO WELL on flights… except that they are complete rockstars (and no, this is not a gushy humble brag, mom moment!)
Even in the early days when they were just little boys, these two flew like pros. Patient, calm and never causing a problem. Are they saints? NO, they’re normal kids, after all. But they truly do not cause problems when flying—EVER.
How? The success is in the planning—or more specifically, what’s in their bags—and without it, who knows what these long flights might look like!
If you want #StressFree traveling with your kiddos, give these five tried and true flight hacks a try:
1. SNACKS: Can we have a little sidebar about the insane cost of airport snacks (let alone food and a decent glass of wine, am I RIGHT?) OK, so now that we’ve established that you basically have to mortgage your home to afford to feed a family of four at the airport, here’s my rule: WE DON’T BUY IT!
Oh, I hear you already, “NO SNACKS?! My kids would never make it. There would be mayhem!”
And you’re right… there would be. That’s why I pre-pack one gallon size ziplock bag PER CHILD with: Pirate’s Booty, protein bars, Ritz Crackers, GoGo Squeez pouches and more. I avoid the snacks on the plane at all costs, especially those biscuit cookies they hand out now in lieu of peanuts. TONS of sugar that will have my kids bouncing off the walls. By pre-packing, trust me, they have plenty to last them! You can also bring empty water bottles through security and most airports have a complimentary filtered water system near the gates. So no need to buy that $6 8 oz bottle at the gift shop!
2. HEADPHONES: We found the best headphones on Amazon for only $14.95 called Little Gadgets. These bad boys are durable, long-lasting and get the job done. Even if they don’t have something else to plug into (we’ll get to that in a second), most planes now have chairs with arm rests that have audio outlets to watch whatever show or movie is playing for the whole cabin. Now you don’t have to buy flimsy headphones for $5 a pop each time you fly.
3. COLORING SET: We LOVE our Crayola Tip Art Kit for only $13.49 at Michaels. It has crayons, pencils, markers–and best of all, everything has its place, so crayons aren’t rolling off their trays to the floor all flight long.
4. PAPER: Can’t have crayons and pencils without something to write on, right? We load up their book bags with plain paper, coloring books, reading books, and stickers. Now they have PLENTY to do… and I can beat them at a few games of Tic Tac Toe along the way, too.
5. iPAD: Finally, I understand that not every kid has an iPad and that’ perfectly fine. Whatever handheld device (even if it’s your own phone just to keep them quiet) can work but since they do have an iPad, it’s a MUST on the flights. We download tons of games before the flight that they can play without WiFi if necessary, but with the GO GO In-Flight app that many airlines use now offers them FREE and unlimited access to movies and games just by connecting to the Wifi while flying high in the sky.
It’s honestly probably the biggest lifesaver while flying with kids, so yep, they break the
“screen time rules” when it comes time to fly. And remember those headphones? Make sure you have them! We’ve definitely been called out before for not having them on hand—and let’s be honest, no one wants to listen to a video game or silly cartoon for hours on end, so we get it.
BUT here’s my biggest tip: DON’T FORGET THE CHARGERS! Practically every airport now has USB chargers on both the planes and in the seats of the gate waiting areas. Keep those phones, laptops, iPads and more juiced up and ready—you never know when they’ll come in handy most!
So there it is! I hope you feel like you’re ready to take on flying with your kids, too! The world is an amazingly beautiful place and I love exploring every nook and cranny with my family. Don’t let a little doubt stand in your way of traveling to exciting, new places with your family, too.
I’m telling you mama, you’ve got this—especially when you plan ahead!