We just got back from our second big trip with the boys and I’ve been getting non-stop travel questions from people so I figured I’d just do a big comprehensive post here!!
First of all – here are the details of our trips:
A) The first trip we took when the boys were 15 months old and we took a direct flight from Chicago O’Hare to Charlotte, NC (which was about 2-2.5 hours long if I’m remembering correctly and it left at 7am). From there we drove 2.5 hours north to an Airbnb we were staying at in Virginia where we were visiting James’ grandma.
B) The second trip we took when the boys were 22 months old and we drove our pup, Chloe, up to my parent’s house in Wisconsin for them to watch her while we were gone. We stayed a couple days before our flight so we weren’t just constantly go-go-going (for our sake and for the boys’ sake)! Then our big travel day started with an hour long drive to the Milwaukee airport at 8am, a 2 hour flight to Charlotte that left at 10:50am, and another ~45 minute flight to Myrtle Beach. On our way down we had a suuuuuper short layover (just 30 minutes) – so we only had time to fill our water bottles, grab milk for the boys and board our plane in between. Thankfully we were only two gates down from where we landed so it was pretty easy.
On the way there I thought we’d be golden because the flight landed exactly at nap time… but I was wrong!! Gabe (our usually easy to get to sleep guy) refused to nap. He kept asking for milk, which we forgot to get before our first flight. Ah! Thankfully Micah is still nursing – so he nursed for a bit about an hour into the first flight and knocked out immediately. Gabe started to get “lose his mind” tired (since it was nap time) but nothing would chill him out so after offering snacks, books, and everything else – we resorted to letting him watch some Curious George on our laptop (that we had downloaded as a back-up) to get him to avoid a total meltdown. The second flight there the boys were both awake and very excited about being on a plane. It was such a quick flight that we just read books the whole time and chatted about being on an airplane! 🙂
On our way home our flight left at 5:50am. You heard that right! Ah! I always think this is totally insane but the two times we’ve done super early morning flights (the kind where we have to wake up the boys from sound sleep (I KNOW) and drag them into the car to leave for the airport in the wee hours of the morning – have always gone the smoothest of any our flights because they sleep the WHOLE time. In this instance – we woke at 3:30am and packed the car/emptied our Airbnb of our stuff. At 4am we grabbed the boys and tried to keep them asleep as we transferred to the car (which didn’t work). We dressed them in footie pajamas the night before along with our new sleep sacks that have feet holes (!!!) so they could just leave them on for the flight because we realized part of why Gabe maybe didn’t nap on the way down was because he didn’t realize he was supposed to since we hadn’t done anything for him that we usually do before nap (like eat a snack/drink milk/read a book/change him into his sleep sack)!! So this time on the way back we tried to set them up for success and help them realize it was time to sleep!! This time around both boys napped the entirety of both flights!! The first 45 min flight and the 2nd 2+ hour flight! Hallelujah!
Anyway – we certainly aren’t professional travelers – but here are our tips from what we’ve learned so far!!
- Fly early!
As mentioned above – it seems nuts as you’re dragging them out of a sound sleep to the airport – but our boys nap so well for these early morning flights and are generally happier than they’d ever be midday or in the afternoon (which means they listen better too)!
- Bring lovies/stuffed animals/blankies (1st round of defense)
Comfort items are necessary to encourage sleep and just to help them feel safe/cozy on the flight!
- Bring snacks & sippy cups to add milk to once through security! (Or a bottle if they’re still drinking those!) (2nd round of defense)
You never know about delays or beverage service – so make sure to come prepared with snacks and milk! It’s also great to have them drink during take off and landing to avoid having their ears pop too!!
- Wear pajamas & cozy sleep sacks
If you want them to nap on the flight – I highly suggest just leaving pjs on! Shoes are pointless and they might as well be comfy (plus, again – it puts them in the mindset for sleep!) We also love these sleep sacks we just got that have leg holes so the boys can walk on their own and still be comfy/cozy but not feel so stuck. (Bonus – they look like penguins when they wear them – so adorable!!)
- Buy an extra seat if you have twins!
We always buy 3 seats and have one signed up as a lap child. If you’re on a bigger flight with 3 seats in a row this means all 4 of you can sit in the 3 seats in a row together because there are enough oxygen masks for you, whereas if you did two lap children and tried to sit in the 3-row with another passenger – not only would it be awful and tight – it isn’t even possible because there aren’t enough oxygen masks so the flight attendants will have to separate your family which is no good when you need all hands on deck!!
- Bring goodie backpacks new to the kiddos (3rd round of defense)
We bought these adorable new Elmo backpacks from Land of Nod and the boys are obsessed. We add small books, matchbox cars (that they love), snacks, lovies and whatever else they want in there and they love it!! It’s also nice to have a little space for their stuff so it isn’t all just overflowing the diaper bag I brought as a carry on!
- Bring a tablet or phone loaded with their favorite low-key show (last round of defense! haha)
I say tablet or phone because you may need access to shows during take off and landing too (not just when in the air) so you don’t necessarily want the laptop to be the only option since they make you stow it at take off and landing! Just a suggestion! 😉
- Nursing mamas – wear a poncho, big blanket scarf, or cozy/drapey cardigan.
Make sure to wear comfy clothes and also to wear clothes that you can easily nurse in and cover up with (if you are modest about it like me). I love this poncho from LOFT (but you can see more options HERE). It’s awesome because it doubles as a sweater if you’re cold, a blanket for your kiddos if need be – and it is big enough to easily tuck the loose end into the tray table in front of you to create a bit of a curtain so you don’t have to cover your kiddo’s head with it to nurse (because if your kids are like mine – they don’t like feeling suffocated by fabric while drinking milk – haha). I also love this cardigan if you’d rather go that route. (Hint: that’s also just a great gift for a new mama to have!!)
- Bring Lysol cleansing wipes & clean the armrests and seat back trays while boarding (especially during cold & flu season)!
Thankfully we managed to avoid catching the cold or any awful bugs on our second round of trips because we did this! The first time we flew we caught some junk and learned our lesson!
- Check your carseats!
We bring our carseats because you can check them with your luggage FOR FREE!! The rentals from the car company are used and not guaranteed (and expensive) – so we’d rather just bring our own!! We use the Graco 4ever-All-in-One Convertible car seats!
- Bring an umbrella stroller
Some people prefer to wear their kiddos in the airport – but honestly – it’s just easily to have ours in a stroller. Bonus is that it gives us something to hang extra bags (and Elmo backpacks!) on and then you can just gate check it as you board your flight! We love this suuuuuper basic Delta Double Umbrella Stroller!
So there you have it! I’m sure there are questions I forgot to address or something I didn’t touch on enough – so feel free to message me or comment below with any additional questions!!! Happy flying!! 😉 XOXO