Hi Guys! Welcome back to the blog! I got back from NC last weekend after a wonderful week spent with family over the Holidays. Matt unfortunately had to head back a few days earlier than Charlee and I, so I was solo traveling back with the babes. I have to say I was really nervous to travel with Charlee by myself. I have done it before, and I wrote about that experience here. Despite having traveled with Charlee by myself before, she is much older now and harder to wrangle than she was when she was a baby. I was so surprised that our solo trip back to NY went so much better than I anticipated. I never even brought out the ipad once for the entire flight. Granted, we were in the air for only two hours, but I was so happy with how much easier this fight was than I anticipated. I had a few tricks and back up plans that I brought along with me on this flight so I thought I would share with you all in case you have a solo flight booked with your littles!
- I highly recommend buying your toddler their own seat. I know this is a luxury and I understand that not everyone can afford to do this. Charlee is a true toddler: squirmy and independent. The idea of getting one seat and sitting next to a stranger gives me major anxiety. I knew that Charlee was going to most likely bother the heck out of our seat mate and just feel very trapped and unhappy, so Matt and I made the decision to purchase her a seat on the plane on the way back. It was a game changer!
- If your child has their own seat, then I can’t recommend enough the Kids Fly Safe Airplane Safety Harness. Charlee is wearing it in the photo above. This contraption essentially creates a harness that makes your child feel like they are riding in a car seat, without having to lug your enormous car seat onto the flight. It is small and compact and fits in a diaper bag. I was able to install it in under one minute and had her strapped in with no problems. She sat in her harness the entire flight and didn’t complain once. She is good in the car, and in her stroller so she is used to the experience of being harnessed in. It made my trip a breeze.
- Make sure to travel with your child’s lovey. Charlee has all of a sudden started to show major affection towards a specific stuffed bunny that she calls “Nana.” I made the last minute decision to pack her “Nana” with us on the flight down and back and it was a major help. She loves her “Nana” and snuggles it and sucks her thumb for comfort. If your child has a lovey, make sure to bring it on the flight to make them feel more comfortable.
- Bring surprise toys! I went to the local CVS in NC before we got on our flight and bought Charlee a brand new Lisa Frank Sticker book and a mess free coloring set to surprise her with if she got antsy on the flight. The sticker book gave me about an hour of engaged entertainment for Charlee. She LOVED it. I would ask her which sticker she wanted, she would point to one and then she would hold the sticker and place it on me or her “Nana” or on the seat. It seriously helped so much! It has about 1 million stickers in it haha so it is a great one to purchase. I also pulled out the mess free coloring pad and markers once she was over the stickers and that gave us another 30 minutes. I bought the mess free pad for obvious reasons!
- Bring your child’s favorite toys. Charlee loves this “My First Purse set “that I got her for Christmas. I brought it and she spent some time on her “cell phone” and putting on her “lipstick.” Whatever toy your child loves, bring it!
- Give your child one activity at a time. Charlee gets overwhelmed when surrounded by too many toys. I get more calm and focus from her if I offer her one thing at a time. I was able to really spread out the use of each toy by offering her a new one once she was bored of the one before.
- Invest in a great travel stroller. We own this great travel stroller by Mountain Buggy. It’s super lightweight and folds down compactly making it easy to take on to the plane and put into the overhead compartment. This time I had to gate check it since there wasn’t a ton of over head room on the plane, but I didn’t mind since I was able to bring it up to the gate and drop it before boarding.
- Bring snacks. If you are a Mom you’re probably saying, “well DUH!” I am the queen of snacks and stash them in every pocket of my diaper bag! I bring pouches, milk, water, cookies, crackers, cheese puffs, fruit bars etc. I will let her eat whenever and whatever she wants on planes and it definitely helps keep her entertained. Luckily now that she is a toddler, she drinks whole milk. They serve whole milk on flights so I always bring an empty bottle to pop it into. Makes it easier than worrying about bringing a cooler etc.
- Board first. I always take advantage of the option to board first when traveling with Charlee. This lessens the stress of getting her situated and in her flight harness.
- If you must offer an iPad for entertainment, do it last. I had this as my backup if my other toys and snack options weren’t enough for Charlee. I know if I had given it to her first, she would have watched it but then gotten board too quickly and less interested in her toys. That sounds weird, but she gets like that when we let her watch the Ipad.
- If you are traveling during nap time, bring nap props. Charlee sleeps in a sleep sack at night and for naps. (Size large for reference.) We didn’t travel during nap time this trip, but if we had, I would have put her in her sleep sack to help her realize it was time for a nap.
- Have fun!! You and your baby are on an adventure! I’ll never forget how nervous I was to take Charlee on our first flight just us. I had anxiety for weeks! It ended up being SO MUCH EASIER than I thought it would be and really fun! It was a Mommy and Charlee adventure and a memory I will always cherish.
I hope this is helpful to those of you who are traveling with your toddler! Good luck!