Thursday, March 14, 2013

Flying solo.

 Ice & Moss. Canada, March 2013.

Our solo flight home from Canada on Tuesday went remarkably well.  In fact, Alice seemed better behaved flying only with me rather than with both Mom and Dad.  Who knows why.  After all the flights she's taken over the last year, maybe she is just finally getting used to it.

In case you have to travel alone with your wee-one while they are still a lap-child, here are a few tips that helped keep both Alice and me sane while flying.
  • Check your luggage even if it is a roll-aboard!  No need to be lugging a baby, a diaper bag AND a suitcase through the airport.
  • Take a critical eye to what you bring in your diaper bag!  Everything in there must have a purpose.  Since diaper bags tend to be catch-alls, especially if you travel with the one you use every day, take out the stuff that stays in there all the time that you won't need when flying (think extra chapstick, 4 baby spoons, half-eaten bags of snacks).  Having a squirmy baby on your lap in the sardine-like space of an airplane seat makes getting things in and out of your diaper bag a bit tricky.  You don't want to be fishing blindly for a pacifier or that quiet cracker while your kid is wailing!
  • Baby food doesn't have to follow the 3-oz fluid rule!  I brought a full bottle of milk and sealed baby yogurt through security, no problem.
  • Apps are your friend!  Before we left for Canada I downloaded a few baby-friendly apps to my iPhone and iPad to help entertain Alice while flying.  And she loved them!  I highly recommend the Paint Sparkles app (it's free!), the Peekaboo Barn app (also free but I got the paid version... iPhone only), and the Baby Sign & Learn ASL app (she will watch the babies making signs over and over and over!).  Each app gave me five to ten minutes of Alice sitting quietly in my lap... enough time to give my arms a break!
  • Download books!  Rather than lug a book or two for Alice and then reading those same books to her a zillion times, I downloaded a few kid-friendly books to my iPad (also available on iPhone).  Although they aren't the most riveting reading material, Alice loved looking at the colorful pictures (this company makes a handful of fun and inexpensive books).  Or, there is always Dora, of course.     
  • If you have one, travel with your stroller!  It may seem like a huge hassle bringing along a stroller to the airport but it is totally worth it, especially if you have a connection.  After being handled for three hours, Alice gladly sat in the stroller and we both enjoyed a break from each other during our hour-long layover. 
  • And finally, go pee and change your kid's diaper before you get on the plane!  Those airplane changing tables are the size of a postage stamp.  And inevitably there will be turbulence and the please-return-to-your-seat announcement as soon as you get in there and get your kid stripped down.

Hopefully you find these tips helpful.  And hopefully you have an understanding person as your seatmate and not an overweight armrest-hogger!

Any additional tips for flying with a little one?  Since we seem to do an airplane trip every other month lately, I'd love to hear how you travel with kids.

 The old Ford...


  1. I fly alone with my kids a lot, and it doesn't really matter what I bring as long as it's new to them. I collect dollar store activity books, stickers, toys, etc. and keep them in a backpack that they can only open when we travel. It's like Christmas morning every time they open it. :) I just replenish the stuff as needed. That way I'm not panicking before my trip. I also download at least one new game per kid, a movie or two, and a few books. That keeps everyone happy.
    Also, the best thing I ever invested in for travel is a tray plastic tray with sides 2-3 inches tall so that whatever they are playing with doesn't get lost all over the plane. Don't get me wrong, we still loose stuff, but this cuts down significantly. As an added bonus, we don't have to use the seat back trays that are germ infested and we don't bug the person in front of us every time pressure is applied to the tray.

  2. I only flew once with Wyatt so far and it was okay- not perfect! I was shocked that he wanted no part of watching movies or playing in my iPhone (I have a feeling that would be different these days since he's gotten pretty excited about movies while I was ill). I found that snacking and reading worked best. You guys are such seasoned travelers, I'm sure it's no big deal for Alice!

  3. Your tips are great. I use Sesame Street podcasts with Lulu. They're free & for short plane flights a 5 or 6 minute podcast every so often works well. I will have to get the paint sparkles app for Lulu for next time we fly.


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