Our Denver Market Leader, Nicole Levine, headed out on a family vacation this summer taking planes, trains & automobiles across the US! She shared her thoughts on family travel and her favorite products to help make flying with her kiddos a little bit easier…
Travel with kids can be super overwhelming and intimidating. It’s enough to make you never want to leave your zip code, let alone travel by plane. However, the pre-baby you loves to see the world so staying at home all the time just isn’t an option. So rather than stay in a bubble until your kiddos head off to college, here are suggestions for some tried and true products to help tackle air travel with young kids and make you the envy of all the other parents on the plane.
Keep in mind that my kids are 3.5 yrs and almost 6. So my packing list has majorly evolved over the years (way less stuff, but equally important to ensure smooth travel).
Nicole’s Top Products to Make Flying With Kids Easier:
Packing Cubes – Two words: game changer. I didn’t understand what all the hype was about, but after packing my two boys and I in the same suitcase with 2 weeks worth of clothes, I could immediately feel the convenience first hand. Everything is SO much more organized. It’s so much easier to find and quickly pull out a pair of pajamas for one of my kids without pulling everything out of the suitcase, only to have to pack it back up again. Highly recommend having a different color for each family member in various sizes (I happen to really love these cubes).
Backpack – Leave the traditional diaper bag at home, because you’ll be needing both hands navigating the airport. I absolutely LOVE my TWELVElittle 3-in-1 backpack. It holds a ton and has lot’s of inside and outside compartments to help you stay organized. And it doesn’t scream “diaper bag.” It’s super cute and I get compliments on it all the time. Love this bag so much I decided to get a smaller version of it to take out when I only need a few items (and actually use this as my travel purse).
Tablet – I would probably consider canceling our trip if anything were to happen to our Kindle. Once my kids had the attention span to watch shows/movies while traveling, car, plane and even train travel become exponentially more tolerable! Tip – always check your device well before your trip for any necessary software updates, to ensure shows have finished downloading, etc. You do NOT want to be mid-air and find out that Paw Patrol never finished downloading. Trust me from experience!
Chargers – With the excess use of phones, tablets, computers to keep the kiddos occupied, you are going to be burning through batteries rapidly. Bringing a few chargers in your carry on and checked bags will help ensure you are covered in case you get delayed or your bags get lost. AND, grabbing a pack of these ties can be a huge time saver when you are trying to sift through a sea of cords.
Hand wipes/sanitizer – If/when possible, I like to wipe down every germy surface of the plane (or at the very least, the seat trays that my kids have been known to lick, yes lick, arm rests, etc). I use travel water wipes for EVERYTHING and this is my favorite sanitizer spray that goes everywhere I do.
Dollar Section Chachkies – Prior to our flight, I scour the dollar section of Target and present these inexpensive treasures as fun airplane surprises. They provides hours (or should I say minutes) of entertainment, but nonetheless, offer a fun diversion from screen time. Gel clings are a favorite of my boys – they stick to the seat trays and windows (and for $1, I don’t lose sleep if they don’t make it back home with us).
Candy, snacks and more snacks and more candy and more snacks – No explanation needed.
Lightweight stroller – Essential for getting your kiddo(s) from point A to B without breaking your back. Without fail, every time I decide to leave the stroller behind, one of my kids (who will PROMISE me that they want to walk like a big boy) will demand to be carried through the airport. A favorite of mine, especially for two kids, is the Joovy Ultralight Sit & Stand. It’s light, easy to fold and accommodates multiple configurations (including a car seat).
Car Seat Cart – Car seats are bulky and can be a pain to lug around, but are a critical component of safe travel, so if we need to take a car seat with us, I love that the Britax Car Seat Travel Cart essentially kills two birds with one stone. Acting as a stroller throughout the airport and car seat transportation from car to gate, this cart is a lifesaver once your kiddo graduates to a convertible seat.
Extra clothes – The one time I actually needed a spare change of clothes on a flight (for my son AND I), I didn’t have it. Don’t let that be you! I learned my lesson and now bring a Skip Hop Grab & Go Wet/Dry bag with me everywhere I go with a spare change of clothes for EVERYONE (and to hold anything wet/dirty that I actually care about bringing home with us). On the topic of clothing, especially on travel days, I like to dress my kids in super bright, matching colors. In a crowd of people, it’s much easier for me to spot the pair of loud, neon green shirts.
So, take that trip. You won’t regret it. Deep breaths, mama! You’ll do great!
Nicole Levine is our Denver Market Leader. She loves traveling with her family. What’s her favorite part about living in Denver? “Being so close to the mountains and having access to tons of beautiful places for day trips/quick getaways. AND, the abundance of sunshine!” Read more about Nicole + the rest of our BCB Market Leaders here.
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