As some of you know, we went to the beautiful island of Kauai last month. While we were so excited about a Hawaiian getaway, we were also a little/a lot nervous during the days, weeks, and months leading up to our trip. You see, this was our first plane flight with Augustine who is a very busy and active little guy. Traveling with a year and a half-year-old is a little intimidating, but we knew the trip was going to be a learning experience that we needed to go through. Luckily, I received the best advice for traveling with kids from so many of you, and I wanted to put together this post as a resource. Plus, there’s a video of what I brought in my carry-on diaper bag. I hope you find this post helpful for any of your upcoming travels!
Tips for Traveling with Kids
For the Flight
- Make your travel day special- We had talked to Augustine about our flight during the days and weeks beforehand. While we didn’t know what all he would understand, we did read books about planes and excitedly talked about the trip.
- Get a good night sleep the night before. This is crucial because sleeps begets sleep! Many of you were very quick to note that taking an overly tired toddler on a plane is never a good idea!
- Take advantage of early boarding for one of you! I mention this more in the video, but I think it’s helpful to have one person board the plane with the gear and have the other one hang with the little one at the gate to get the last of their energy out. Once you’re on the plane, you’re kind of stuck until you land.
- Be strategic about where you sit. It can be helpful to sit where other young kids are, or you might want to find a spot away from them, depending on the age of your little one. We sat near a set of grandparents on the way there, and that was so nice because they were able to relate in a “been there done that way.” We also sat near a young married couple and I think by the end of the flight, the husband was a little worried Augustine was moving in on his woman! But I think the wife left with some baby fever! Who can blame her, right?!
- Bring activities and snacks to keep them busy. This is an obvious one but I’d also add that you should make sure they’re easily accessible. On our first ascent, we had one of Augustine’s toys in the upper compartment, and I was wishing I had it handy. Also bite-sized snacks are great because eating them takes a good amount of time.
- Surprise your little one with a few new toys. We went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of new toys that we would bring out every hour or so. That kept Augustine very entertained! This etch-a-sketch really came in handy!
- Don’t forget one of their favorite toys! It will be nice for them to have something familiar to play with. We loved this mess-free activity book!
- Go for walks on the plane. Augustine loved walking up and down the aisles, waving and smiling at people. I did have to keep him from touching a few people’s sleeping heads though!
- Don’t forget a change of clothes for you and the baby. You never know what will happen and you want to be prepared. There’s a funny story about this in the video!
- Give your baby something to drink during takeoff and landing. The pressure can be a lot for their little ears so it helps for them to be sucking and swallowing. I’d recommend pouring their drink before you board to make it even easier for yourself. We brought almond milk for Augustine, but you could even go to the airport coffee shop to get some milk.
- Bring one of your little one’s light blankets. It gets cold on those flights and it’s nice to have your own blanket just in case they don’t have one on board. Plus the familiar smell of their blanket might help them take a nap more easily! We love this blankie because it’s incredibly soft! This would make an amazing baby shower gift too by the way! Guarantee you the mama will want one in her size!
- Be flexible and don’t worry if you have to break your routines. Traveling with little ones isn’t easy. Do the best you can and keep a positive outlook. You’ll get to where you need to be soon enough. Just think of all the amazing memories you’ll make as a family!
On the Trip
- Try to keep the same routines as you do at home, as best as you can anyway. We still would go through our typical bathtime and bedtime routine and I think that helped a lot, especially in those first few adjustment days.
- Renting a house through Airbnb can be easier than a hotel. I mentioned this in our Kauai Travel Guide, but I wish we had stayed in our own place. Being in the hotel had several challenges for Augustine’s 18 month age. I would have loved to cook more of our meals, and it would have been nice for Augustine to be in his own room so that when he went to bed, Matthew and I didn’t have to as well. The one-room hotel made it challenging for bedtime so we ended up going to bed at the same time as he did most nights!
- Involve kids in the planning process once their older. I can’t wait to do this with Augustine. Matthew and I have already talked about how fun it will be to plan our trips as a family. And one day I really want to let Augustine pick where we go on vacation, maybe a place he’s read about in a book, or somewhere he’s learned about in school. I think that would be so so cool if we’re able to do that!
- Make plans but don’t have a strict itinerary. With kids, as many of you know, you have to go with the flow. You might not be able to do all the things you want, but you’ll still have a great time!
I included several other tips, plus what I brought in our diaper bag over on my YouTube channel. I would love for you all to check it out and let me know what you think. I’m still getting the hang of video but it’s such a helpful way to share with you all. If you aren’t subscribing, it would mean the world if you would. You’ll just get notified when I post new videos, which sadly isn’t often enough but I’ll work on that. And if you know anyone that you think would like this video- maybe friends that are traveling soon, please send it to them! Thank you all so so much for your support!! It means the world to me!
If you missed my Kauai Travel Guide, check it out too!
Thanks so much for reading!