Air Travel with Multiple Young Kids

Last week I wrote about our preparations for traveling with our newborn and 2 other children. We flew to St. Louis for the weekend for my husband’s brother’s wedding. I wanted to share what worked well and what I would change for next time–except if I have my say, there won’t be a next time because air travel with 3 young kids is for the birds!

We decided not to pay to check any bags, choosing to use roller bags as carry-ons. I would totally change this. Who wants to schlepp three roller bags through the airport? Even though we got my 5-year-old to cooperate and pull one, it was still a huge pain and we just had to constantly keep track of the bags in addition to the kids. Next time, I’d use a huge bag, pack our whole family’s clothing in there, and just pay whatever the fee was to check it106089018_078d03d0d6_m

At the last minute, I bought a used snap and go stroller frame to click the bucket carseat on to. This turned out to be a fabulous idea. It was a great luggage rack through the airport, it was great to have a stroller on hand on our trip, and we could gate check it. I felt sad I hadn’t owned one of these for any of my older kids. I don’t even like strollers! But maybe this converted me? Sometimes I would wear the baby in the sling and push the 2-year-old in the contraption.

I failed to pack plastic bags in the backpack I had handy under my seat. We learned that our toddler gets airsick, and so we really wished we’d had some plastic grocery bags to store the soiled clothes that came from that. Next time!

I did a good job packing snacky food for on the flight, but wished I’d thought ahead a bit and brought substantial foods. We had such a short trip, so we didn’t really have much down time since my husband was in the wedding party. We never made it to a grocery store and when my kids woke up at 5am with no food in the hotel room, we were in a tight spot until a place opened to buy bagels!

Our return flight was, of course, delayed, and so we really would have been better served having substantial snacks both on board and afterward, while we waited in traffic driving home.

It turns out the newborn was the easiest traveling companion. As long as he had steady access to the breast, he was quiet and content. The other ones were very happy with their new-to-us magazines and dollar store Halloween critters…for a few minutes! Then we had to work hard to imagine stories about the people in the Sky Mall catalogue and negotiate iPad turn taking. Things got a bit hairy, but I was glad we limited the amount of toys and reading material we lugged along.

Next time we travel, I will bring a small nightlight. Cracking the closet or bathroom door with the light on in the hotel wasn’t a good solution for ME because it was too much light shining right into my eyes all night long. I felt myself longing for the soft glow of the little blue nightlight we keep at home. I think it would have helped add a familiar element to help the boys sleep better in a strange bed, too.

Have any of you traveled with multiple young children? Leave us a comment to share your best tips!

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