People are quick to comment or offer their thoughts on us having four kids. Most of the time, they are well-meaning, but come across poorly. Tell them you are flying across the country with four kids 7 and under and their eyes start to bulge out of their heads.
I wouldn’t say we are experts, but I think that our flying experience and the entire trip went very well, and I want to go again! Soon!
1. Pack all the things! Pack as much as you can in your checked luggage. And check those bad boys. (Taking note to fly on an airlines that does free bags helps). Then use backpacks as carry-ons so you can interchange who carries them easily.
1a. Pro-tip. Take a picture of your medicine dosage charts so you have it with you. You never know when you will have an allergic reaction or a tooth ache or something like that and you’ll need to know the dosage of each medicine for each kid. Don’t forget to pack all of those medications, too in your first aid travel kit.
2. Give yourself plenty of time. And then add on another 30 minutes for errors, shuttles, waiting for elevators, baggage check in and more.
3. Give the kids a pep-talk and while you are at it, give yourself one, too. Prepare them for security (taking off shoes), waiting for other people, lines, potty trips, seat belts needing to be worn, etc. I would not recommend the hubby’s version “Girls, you know how everybody tells you how cute you are? Well, airports are full of people that don’t like kids and are there on business. So, be careful, watch out and pay attention!”
4. When you find you have those bonus 30 minutes to sit and wait, take a family selfie. Us-ie? Family-ie?
5. In those carry on bags, pack all of the entertainment: books, tablets/ipads, headphones, markers and coloring books, stickers + paper, and games.
5a. Pro-tip. Make sure all of the movies, read-along CDs and games you want to watch are already loaded onto your system. Even though the internet costs around $8 per device, you probably won’t be able to stream a movie.
Storybook apps are great, as they read, allow solo reading and sometimes have puzzles and games. They all took turns with it on the iPad.
It’s also important to have shows and movies downloaded on the iPad. Of course, having FROZEN downloaded on ALL of the devices was hugely important and crucial!
In addition to movies that we own, we love to have several movies and shows downloaded through our Netflix app. And it’s not just Netflix originals, check out the ‘Available for Download’ menu on the Netflix app on your mobile or tablet device and browse all of the titles available to take with you whenever and wherever you want.
We put them on our iPads and our phones making it perfect for travel with out any cellular or wifi service. Octonauts and BeatBugs are wildly popular with our little two.
Of course, there are shows for our older two girls as well. TROLLHUNTERS is good for them as well at The Magic School Bus Ride Again (and sometimes I can sneak that, too!)
Of course, there are also shows that teenagers can download and watch and even the parents, too. Sometimes you are stuck in that hotel room with kids asleep and all you need is your phone and a set of headphones and you can keep up with your favorite shows or binge a new one.
6. All of the snacks. Especially when you will be on a 5 hour flight. We packed an entire bag of snacks and gum. Things we don’t normally eat were also included as bribes (nope, not beneath a bribe at all!) Also, pack empty water bottles/sippy cups as an increasing number of airports are offering water bottle fill-up stations.
7. Extra clothes. For everybody. Diaper wearing kiddos, toddlers, older kiddos, mom and dad. Everybody needs an extra set. You don’t want to travel with puke/poop covered clothes. This also doubles as a nice bonus if your luggage takes an extended trip to a location other than where you are going.
8. Wipes. They come in handy for all ages and can wipe down a nasty surface or dirty hands in a jiffy.
So, you’ve got your bags packed and your kids are all behaving on that flight. Now, relax, lean back, snuggle your sleeping baby and congratulate yourself on a job well done!