I don’t feel like I’m a huge expert on this topic. This will only be our third time flying with the boys, but I feel like the flights we have taken have been successful!
We’re headed to Florida to spend time with Derek’s dad and family and we always do a few fun things while we’re down there! We’ve done Legoland, Sea World, Cocoa Beach, different zoos, Disney Springs, a dinner with the Disney characters, swam with dolphins, etc. It’s always such a great time! We have always chosen the 2.5 hour flight over the 20 hour drive. It’s a no brainer for me. Derek thought it’d be good to drive this year, but I convinced him he was crazy and he obviously agreed with me!
Here’s my top 10 list for flying with kids!
Apple iPad Mini– They use the minis at school and the boys love them more than our regular sized one! Some of the educational games we use (and the school uses) are Epic, Sight Word Ninja, Phonics Ninja, Spelling Bug, Sight Words by Photo Touch, & Starfall. Some of their other favorites include ABC Mouse, Mario Run, Sonic Dash, Lego Mighty Micros, Lego DUPLO Trains, Look & Find Elmo, My Caterpillar, Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Color Play. I just banned YouTube Kids indefinitely, and I’ll share why in another post soon!
Headphones– Let’s be honest, no one wants to hear the Incredibles movie or Mario playing for a 2.5 hour flight. I feel like headphones let them zone in on what they’re watching or playing and makes them forget they’re even flying!
Umbrella Stroller– This is my FAVORITE stroller we’ve ever had for traveling! It’s small like an umbrella stroller, but has all the gizmos and gadgets of a more expensive stroller! There’s storage underneath the seat, a drink holder that clips on, and my favorite feature is that the seat reclines! It’s seriously perfect for traveling on the plane because it’s lightweight and easy to gate check! This is one of my favorite items we have owned for the boys (we have 2!). If you are a first time mom or going to travel with a little one for the first one, I HIGHLY recommend this!
Blanket– Rhett LOVES his blankets and can snooze so much better if he has one! This will be something I triple check I have before we leave! He has never used a binky (our other boys used them until they were almost three, judge me but it was peaceful!) so his blanket has become his self-soothing item. I love this shark blanket found here!
Tic-Tac-Toe– Ryne loves playing Tic-Tac-Toe when we go out to eat, so this is the perfect addition to our travel bag! The pieces are magnetic and the case is small and compact making it perfect for traveling! I’ll make sure he sits by Derek because he has the most patience for a million games of Tic-Tac-Toe!
Water Wow!– Just make sure you don’t fill up the water pen until after you go through security! Take it to the bathroom before you board the plane and fill it up! I love that they’re not messy and once they dry, you can color the pages all over again! The books are small
Stuffy– I love any of the Jellycat stuffed animals, but I think the monkey is a classic one! All of the boys love having stuffies with them, it’s like a little piece of home that is comforting no matter where they are! I love the elephant found here and the lobster found here. I think the lobster is fitting for Florida!
Sweatshirt– Layering is one of the most important things I’ve learned. When we leave Iowa we are in 20 degree temperatures and when we arrive in Florida we are in 70-80 degree temperatures. The airport can be cold while the airplane can get stuffy. The boys wear sweatshirts and then it’s easy to take on and off! It also doesn’t take up a lot of room like bulky winter coats! I also love Gap sweatshirts like this one found here!
Snacks– I have used these snack containers with all the boys. They do an awesome job of not spilling, but that doesn’t mean your little one won’t reach in, grab some of the snack, and proceed to throw it at people. Just from experience…
Kanoodle– Ryne loves mind games and they’re perfect for traveling. I love Kanoodle because it’s compact and small to fit in his travel bag. Even Reed loves to stack the pieces without playing by the rules.
I’m sure I’m forgetting some things that I’ll remember once I start packing! I’ll do a post on what’s in my personal bag before we leave too! We always fly Allegiant and personal items fly free. They actually have size requirements for what is considered a personal item, but as long as it fits under your chair I’ve never had any problems! The small Pottery Barn Kids backpacks are what I use for the boys’ personal items. They can fit their Nintendos, a couple activities, and some snacks! The backpacks you can find here. We have this Cars backpack and the boys love it. I think we have four of the Pottery Barn Kids small backpacks lying around our house! They’re the perfect size for younger kids and the perfect size for a personal item!
My personal flying tips:
I’m never on time to anything, but I’m always two hours early at the airport. I get nervous about missing the plane. I think I have a 100 dreams about missing the flight and it always scares me! I’ve never felt like we are there too early and I’ve never felt like we’ve been rushed. It’s been perfect for us.
Park in the cheap $5 lot. It only costs us $35 to be parked for the whole week. A bus will pick you up and all your belongings and drop you off right by the entrance where you check in. This is ideal for us since we have so much we take with us. The worry wart in me also feels the safest this way instead of having to be in the parking garage with little ones.
Arrive at the airport hungry. Hangry kids (and wives) aren’t fun, but it wastes some time before you have to board the airplane. There’s a Pizza Hut that we always grab pizza at before we go through security. It’s not as busy as the eateries at the airport that you can go to after security. All the boys like pizza and it’s a good time waster, you know..for the worry wart who makes you go two hours in advance.
Take empty drink cups through security, and buy milk at one of the stores once you are through! Don’t waste your money taking your drinks through security, they’ll make you throw it away. Instead, take empty cups and buy the drinks to fill them up once you get through security! Our kids are big milk drinkers so we always buy milk after we get through security. It’s also good to have on the plane for their ears!
Don’t bust out the electronics before you board the plane. As tempting as it can be, you need to save them for the plane. Our boys love watching the other planes taking off and landing. We also like to chat up the people around us that are going to be on our flight! Last time we sat by a couple who both worked at Disney and had came to Iowa for a class reunion! They were so nice to the boys and entertained them some even on the plane!
Don’t worry if your kids cry or throw fits. They aren’t the first and they won’t be the last. I mentioned this to my family today in our group chat concerning the young spring break kids going to Florida. My aunt’s response was, “#birthcontrol”. It’s so true. Don’t stress out about how they’re acting, instead you can realize you’re doing all the young spring breakers a service by providing them with free birth control right there on the plane!
Last but not least, remember that the stressful part of traveling is also one of your children’s most memorable moments of their trip. Ryne loves talking about flying in planes and we always talk about it when we see planes up in the sky. Even though traveling can be overwhelming, it’s part of their vacation and part of what makes it special. We ride in a car every day, but we don’t get to fly!
I hope no matter what you’re doing this spring break that you are able to enjoy every part of it! I pray for safe travels for everyone traveling near and far and also for the spring breakers who are using the time to relax and recover! I am sure we are all hopeful for one thing spring break will bring, warmer weather!