As you might’ve seen on our Instagram, this past weekend our little family took a trip to Lima, Perú. It was a looong way to go for a quick Thursday-Monday trip (especially considering the little one and the two long flights!) but my best friend from college was getting married and I really wanted to be there on her big day so we made the effort. If you saw my #Instastories of the weekend you know the trip was WELL worth it! The wedding was beautiful! We had a blast walking the streets of Lima with Chickie and my family during the day and partying college-style with my friends at night. To say that we are exhausted this week is an UNDERSTATEMENT though.. traveling with kiddos is not for the faint of heart.
Us Rices travel quite a bit. In her one and a half years on this Earth, Chickie Lou has been to Panama lots and lots of times (probably around 6 I’d say?), to Europe (London + Ireland), Iceland, and now Peru! She’s also done some travels within the US long the way- when she was 9 months old we went to Disney World in Orlando with 100+ 15-yearolds (it’s a long story haha.. I do it every year with my family’s travel agency) and when she was around 6 months we went to South Carolina for a wedding.. anyway, you get my point- we travel with baby a lot. Because of our constant traveling, I’ve learned some tips and tricks for traveling with baby and I’d like to share them with you. Just in time for holiday traveling!
I’m not going to sugar coat it, friends: traveling with kids is a REAL mother.. Kiddos need to MOVE- which is not always possible on a plane. Kiddos need to be entertained and fed CONSTANTLY. The flights themselves are exhausting and you wont exactly come back refreshed from vacation if you bring the kids along but it’s SO WORTH IT! Seeing Chickie take in the sights, meet new people, eat different foods around the world has been EVERYTHING! I really think our traveling is a large part of why she’s such a social baby.. She boarded a flight for the first time the DAY she turned two months old and baby-girl hasn’t stopped flying since! Kiddos who travel are warriors, tiny explorers learning about the world around them by interacting with it. Traveling with kids is hard yes, but it’s also MAGIC! My secret potion for said magic? The right gadgets (this post talks about that) and the following tips+tricks:
- Poppin’ Bottles at Takeoff and Landing:
Kiddos ears tend to hurt when the plane is taking-off and landing since they don’t know how to pop them. To avoid the ear pain (and the crying that comes with it) I give Chickie a bottle during both! Seems easy enough right? THERE’S A CATCH- I can’t tell you how many times little Chick has finished her bottle BEFORE takeoff and I was left with a screaming baby and no milk…The worst! I now wait for the pilot’s queue before giving her the bottle- “flight attendants please prepare for take-off.” BOOM! Fail-proof way to know the actual take-off is about to start and you’re not wasting your precious milk carting around the airport. It will be tempting- especially with a fussy baby- to give them the bottle before the queue. Resist! Trust me!
On the way down, it’s harder to pin point the exact moment the plane starts the landing process. The pilot’s queue for the flight attendants comes when FINAL landing is happening and by then tiny ears have already been hurting for a while. My best advice for landing is to stick to binky until the pilot gives an ETA on landing and calculate from there. Pilots always, always give an ETA on landing and 99% of the time it starts with “ladies and gentlemen, we’re starting our initial decent to (insert dreamy destination here) we will on the ground in X amount of minutes. Is X minutes too long for one bottle? Do binky for a couple more minutes instead..
For all my travels, I bring single serve milk packets. I seriously SWEAR by them! You don’t need to refrigerate them at all so I normally have a couple of packs around the house for trips. When Chick drank formula, we used these single serve packets. There’s no milk on the planes for babies so make sure you bring some from home!
- Mind the Neighbors:
For the past couple of trips, we’ve brought along cheap ear plugs with us on the flight. When I sit down with Chick, I offer the ear plugs to the folks around us. I try to not make it awkward by putting a smile on my face like I DGAF and saying something along the lines of “flying with a baby is rough! If anybody wants ear plugs we brought some along and are happy to give them out. Sorry in advance for the crying!” I’ve done this on 4 flights now. Not once has anybody taken me up on the the offer BUT each an every single time, I’ve felt that we’ve gotten better treatment from those around us for offering. Do I think this is BS and shouldn’t happen? You bet! But.. it’s the best $8 I’ve ever spent. The box is literally still unopened in our travel bag and our flights since we began offering have been much more pleasant. People like to see us moms making an effort to keep kiddos well behaved on the plane (again, BS- of course we’re doing our best and if we’re not, it’s not their problem!), offering ear plugs is a way of getting them to think we’re being diligent mothers right off the bat. It’s really BS, but it works…
- Netflix and Chill:
Chickie is obsessed with screens these days, it’s insane. She points to the TV and asks for Elmo and Cookie Monster by name ALL DAY LONG. She’s always snatching our phones, somehow manages to get them unlocked and even takes off airplane mode- insane. I don’t know what it is about screens but they are a KID MAGNET. Kids can be having the biggest tantrum in the world and if you put a screen in front of them 90% of the time, they’ll calm right down. Same goes for husbands hahaha.. Don’t get me wrong- sometimes this breaks my heart. I can’t tell you how many times there’s been kids around or a park and Cick is STILL going for the screen! It’s terrible! At home we try to limit screen time to half an hour a day.. On flight day though, it a whooole different story. We’ll take ALL THE SCREENS.
For this past trip we downloaded a couple of episodes of The Furchester Hotel (AKA the only Elmo related show available on Netflix for download lol) to play for Chickie on the plane. It was awesome! We saved the episodes to use towards the end of the flight, when usually Chickie behaves the worst and it worked! Well.. kinda. Not getting the full sound I think was messing her up a bit. For our holiday travels, I got these headphones. I’ve heard great things! A lot of people use them to play white-noise when baby is sleeping so they are not woken up by announcements over the speakers. Stay tuned on how if they work for us.
- Wrap Toys in Tin Foil:
I’ve never actually done this. I found the idea when I as doing research for this post and loved it! When flying with kids, the name of the game is keeping them entertained. By wrapping each individual toy in tinfoil, you get more entertainment time per toy since it’ll take kiddos a while to open them and see what’s inside! Also disposing of tinfoil on the plane is the easiest thing since it crumples so little. I’ll do this on my next flight and report back!
- Use Your Surroundings
You’re on a plane! A giant bird in the sky! Use what’s around you to keep the kiddos entertained. I love these gel stickers for the airplane window. They are guaranteed to give you AT LEAST half an hour of peace and quiet.. Yess! Want another 20 minutes? Let them play with the seat-belt, or even better- bring a buckle toy along! The tray table is also your best friend- it’s perfect for activities. Leave play dough at home since it sticks to everything and bring some of this magnetic “sand.” I also love these Wikki Stix– so fun and easy to bring along.
Stay On Message
Remember, we’re raising explorers! Teach kiddos about traveling and keep them entertained in the process with this passport and stickers set! Soph is always so curious to hold/see our passports so the fake ones come in handy. They are also great way to teach older kiddos to be responsible for their own “passports.” I also love this airport sticker book– who doesn’t like stickers? Also, a couple of traveling themed coloring books are always a must in my carry on.
If you want to take a look at the actual gadgets we use for traveling, you can check out this post. If you’re looking for a travel-friendly diaper bag, go to this post to see our Diaper Bag Roundup! That’s all for today. Anything I’m missing? Any cool toys you absolutely LOVE for traveling? Let me know and I’ll include them! Thanks for stopping by friends! Until the next time..