I've finally been able to get around to sharing some tips that had helped me when we traveled this past summer solo with three kids. I did a lot of prepping especially for the inflight entertainment and of course safety as we walked throughout the airport to get to the boarding gate. It was super scary for me to think of it before we even left for our trip.
Our initial trip entailed a transfer from one plane to the next. That alone left me freaking out thinking of how to get from one boarding gate to another so we didn't miss our flight. I had made sure when it came to luggage to pack smart and light. I had a back for myself and my purse. I didn't pack a carry-on for myself because I was also pushing a stroller so I didn't want to have to carry too many items. I had a carry-on for my oldest and my middle kiddo. They also each had their own backpack. And we had 2 checked baggage. As I mentioned I was very intentional in packing bringing only the items we needed so we wouldn't need to carry a lot of items. This is the biggest important tip to pack smart and light; we ended up being stuck at Pearson International airport for over 3 hours at the baggage pickup carousel because they had misplaced everyone's checked baggage. Trust me it was awful so if you can try to pack light it'll save you so much hassle.
Secondly with three kids in tow ages ranging from 3 to 11. Do not board the airplane early. I know it sounds crazy but waiting till the end will save you the hassle of having to keep your kiddos occupied as everyone is still boarding the plane. My toddler was just full of energy so waiting till the end to let her run around as everyone else boarded the plane helped to tire her out and kept her calm for lift-off.
We didn't bring a car seat. I know sounds crazy but I actually rented one from a local shop. Which really saved the hassle of having to carry a giant car seat throughout the airport. I also wanted to mention car rental places like Enterprise do offer car seat rentals dependent on how far ahead you call to make arrangements.
Here are some great baby gear rental sites below
As mentioned I didn't bring a carry-on for myself. But I did pack a backpack full of stuff for my toddler. Besides the necessities such as diapers, wipes, and snacks. I also packed extra clothes, coloring books/markers, and a special activity box I created for her full of things to occupy her for our flight.
For my older kiddos, I packed some ramen bowls so all we needed to do was ask the flight attendant for hot water it saved our day because my kiddos are super picky so it curbed a lot of fuss from them. We also arrived early for our flight so I just took my kiddos to the airport restaurant to eat so their bellies were already full which if you know hungry kids=crazy attitudes so it helped to eat a good meal before the flight to curb the fight.
For mama carrying an easy-access purse or fanny pack with all the travel documents handy and ready to go is key to having an easy fast transition through the security checks. And my kids knew the key rules to stay right by my side and I kept my toddler in her stroller when we did the quick sprinting across the airport to get to the boarding gate.
Try to relax. I know it's easier said than done. But kiddos can pick up your stresses very easily. Know your stressors and figure out how to avoid them. Mine was always time management so I made sure to have ample time so didn't feel rushed going through the airport. For example, for domestic flights, they suggest being there about 2-3 before the flight takes off. So I'd actually be there 3.5 hours ahead so that we've already checked our baggage and then we can go and explore the shops or eat while we wait for our flight.
My last major tip. When booking your flight try to book one as closest to the kiddos' nap/sleep time that way when you get on the flight they're ready to sleep. Especially for those long-haul, flights, I can't stress enough how helpful it is to book a flight during their sleep time. It'll help so so much. I hope this helps. We'll be writing a longer series for traveling solo since I'm a single mama we've done this quite a bit and I've learned some great things to help ease the traveling stressors.
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