Let's face it, the logistics of travel are never really something we look forward to even at the best of times. So when I was faced with a 5 hour cross country flight ALONE with a 5 month old and a 3 year old to say I panicked would be an understatement. Already sleepless nights turned into online SOS missions searching for advice, products, and stories from others who had boldly traveled and survived to tell the tale.
I know there are moms and dads preparing to fight the brave fight, hauling kids, toys and all the gear that comes with them, through busy airports and train stations just praying they make it out in one piece (with a pacifier) on the other side.
Here are my top tips for traveling solo with your little ones.
Resist the temptation to bring everything you own. You will likely have laundry where you're going, use it. Pack essentials, wash and reuse the kids' clothes to save hauling all that extra baggage.
Keep your carry on/ diaper bag organized with essentials that can easily be grabbed one handed on the plane. Diapers, wipes, snacks, games, extra pacifiers, toys and passports.
SLINGS and STROLLERS
Wear your baby through the airport, security and on the plane. It will keeps your hands free, and your baby content. Keep your toddler in the stroller to keep him close and save you from chasing him from gate to gate. As long as your stroller collapses, you can check it at the gate and it will be waiting for you as soon as you get off the plane. So convenient.
If there was ever a time to plop your little ones in front of a screen , it's now. Load your tablet with their favourite shows, movies and games. Bring child friendly headphones.
Buy a new toy for your toddler and give it to them at the airport. This one saved me and kept my little guy content and engaged for the trip.
The airline staff are your safety net. When you check in, ask if there are empty seats. More often than not they're happy to accommodate seating you in an empty row so you won't have to worry about pestering the poor guy sitting next to you.
Ask the Flight Attendants where you can change your little ones. My 3yo was potty trained, so when he had to go to the bathroom, I wore the baby and took him with us. When I had to change the baby, the toddler stayed in his seat. When I had to go, the attendants graciously held the baby, and they were dying to. They are more than happy to help you, so don't be shy to ask them to.
You can do it! Get organized, take a deep breath and know there will be a stiff drink and a lot of praise waiting for you when you land!