My daughter was 10 months old the first time she boarded a plane, and I remember it like it was yesterday. I had promised my parents I would take her to visit them in Houston for a week, and while I felt extremely brave when I booked our tickets (even though I knew I’d be flying solo since my husband couldn’t take the time off work), I was a nervous wreck in the days leading up to the trip. I have always been a nervous flyer, and I just didn’t know how I would cope if something horrible happened and my little one spent the entire journey screaming.
But I had promised my folks I’d make that trip, so even though I desperately wanted to cancel at the last minute, I put on my big girl panties and did it. And you know what? It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, and the 2 of us have since clocked a lot of air miles together. As it turns out, my daughter is a fabulous travel companion, and through a lot of trial and error, we’ve figured out how to make each journey as fun and stress-free as possible.
Here are 15 of my best tips for flying with kids – because traveling should be fun and not stressful!
1. Make sure everyone gets a good night of sleep the night before.
Traveling with a tired and cranky child isn’t fun for anyone, but if you’re also feeling exhausted and short-tempered, you’re in for a looooooooong journey. Trust me on this one.
2. Check the status of your flight before you head to the airport.
Experience has proven to me that airlines aren’t always good about informing passengers about flight delays until they check in for their flight at the airport, but if you’ve ever tried to keep a toddler entertained for 6 hours in an airport lounge before a 5 hour flight, you probably already have a flight tracker app on your smartphone, right?