Over the weekend, Cheekies and I went on an adventure to Washington to see family. I was extremely nervous about this trip because it was his first time flying and I was doing it alone (my husband isn’t fond of flying). I am obviously no rookie to flying, just coming off a year long international tour and have learned the do’s and don’ts of flying; this was a new challenge I was willing to accept. Overall the trip was good, but it wasn’t great. Here are some tips, pointers, “wish I would haves,” and my experience flying to Washington with my two year old.
What’s in my backpack:
Check as much crap as possible. You don’t need a ton of stuff when you’re flying. Especially if it’s a shorter flight. Bring the necessities only.
Here is what we brought on the flight:
- Backpack – duh.
- Diapers and a large grip of wipes. Bring a lot of wipes because if you’re like me, you use them for everything, and trust me you DON’T want to run out.
- A sippy cup AND a bottle (if you’re still in transition away from the bottle like we are.. just bring the bottle. To me, if the difference between a shitty screaming flight and a peaceful nice flight is giving a bottle… do it.).
- Wallet – duh.
- Deodorant – travel stank/sweat sucks.
- Coloring book and crayons (we never used this once)
- Small foldable lunchbox (super flimsy from walmart) filled with snacks – keep the variety large
- Small backpack for the kiddo (we used the leash backpack without the lease) to hold Cheekies toy cars and small stuffed animal. This gives them something to be responsible for and he totally dug it. Plus he looked so cute with his backpack.
- Umbrella Stroller – Don’t take the big bulky strollers if you don’t need to folks. It’s just too much. I saw numerous moms with these and they just looked like they were in complete hell. It’s too much work, and honestly, Cheekies was not wanting to be in it anyway.
- At least one pair of NON BULKY extra clothes. There isn’t a lot of room in your backpack to have a bunch of wasted bulk. So keep the clothes light and easily changeable.
- Tablet – Movies will be your BEST BEST BEST friend. Lord have mercy this saved my ass so much. Just do it. If you don’t listen to anything in this blog… listen to this.
- Grocery bags – 2 words.. throw. up. Yup – Cheekies got air sick every flight. I only brought one bag with me and I wish I would have brought more. Sometimes you don’t catch the throw up and you’re able to use the throw up bags the plane offers – so having the grocery bags to be able to clean up with your handy giant thing of wipes I mentioned earlier, makes it a lot easier. Also – I was able to put the clothes he threw up in in the bag so it didn’t stink up my backpack. –Just bring bags. You’ll use them.
The list above seems like its a lot, but honestly it isn’t too bad and fit into one backpack. The only things we had to buy, were water, juice and milk when we got past security… which leads me to my next section — getting past security the fastest way possible.
Security has always been my biggest pet peeve as a seasoned traveler. I HATED to be behind the family that wasn’t prepared and took forever holding up the line. Ya I’m that asshole.. that flying snob. I can admit it! So I had a game plan already in place a week before we went and it worked well. Many of these things will be no brainers to most.. but even if you don’t have kids… just follow these simple rules.
- Wear the appropriate clothing. Listen folks. 90% of the time, you have to take off your shoes. SO WEAR EASY REMOVABLE SHOES. This is the biggest one that people for some reason cannot comprehend. When you are traveling with a toddler, you HAVE to be fast. I wore my Toms one way, and a pair of back zipped slip ons on the way back. Both worked wonders.
I wore a zip up sweater both ways, and basically just removed it before I was to the ticket check in before going through security. I had everything ready to just drop in the buckets.
- If you don’t need your laptop – don’t bring it. If you do need it, make sure it isn’t buried in the backpack and easily accessible and easily put back in.
- Umbrella stroller – Again, it’s just super easy. I got the bad boy folded in two seconds, threw it on and went on my way. Not the same type of ease with the bigger strollers.
- Again, don’t bring unnecessary items with you on the plane. The more shit you have, the more time its going to take to get through security and make sure you have all your items.
- When your items come through the scanner, take your stroller down and unfold, then take everything else and MOVE AWAY FROM THE LINE. just do it. It’s more comfortable for you, and its less irritating for everyone else. I had Cheekies help me push the stroller while I held the buckets and backpack. Easy.
In the airport:
Now the real fun starts; keeping your kid busy for 2 hours before your flight in an airport full of strangers. This was a serious learning experience for me and I’m not even sure I have much advise to give other than… keep your child in line – but don’t give too much of a fuck. lol I mean honestly.
We didn’t have to wait in Reno because we were late to the flight, but in Seattle… oh man, Cheekies was a freak of nature. I had never seen him that energetic ….ever. He was rolling around on the floor, scarring strangers (he roars at them), running around chairs, racing himself to other ends of the airport. I mean… he was THAT kid! but the way I look at it, honestly, is if I were to have really disciplined him for acting that way, he wouldn’t have expelled any energy before the flight and he also wouldn’t understand what he was doing “wrong.” Honestly he wasn’t doing anything wrong at all lol He was being great! He was happy.. just.. energetic and nuts lol I mean he can’t help that I am putting him (a 2 year old) in this type of environment/situation. You can’t get too mad.
So I let the energy ball roll around and scare people. He was happy and wasn’t screaming and I was watching him the entire time. There were times where I had to force him into the stroller and walk around to give him a chance to settle down a bit, but for the most part I looked at the small percentage of people glaring at me and just shrugged my shoulders at them. Everyone else seemed to not mind how happy he was.
The flights going to Seattle were perfect. I mean Cheeks was an absolute gem aside from puking. We watched movies and played with his cars, we took walk when we landed in Vegas, we took a nap. It was really great actually.
Coming home from Seattle was more of a challenge. As I mentioned above, the kid was on crack. And we were definitely not able to expel the energy needed to have the same luxurious flight as we did prior. Seattle to Vegas was the worst. He didn’t want to sit, watch a movie, or play with his cars. He didn’t want to do anything. So I let him cry at times, comforted him, reintroduced his toys, took them away, let him cry… The key here folks… PATIENCE. Patience really is key. Eventually he wanted to watch his movie and he was chill. Then he would realize he had energy still and be a jerk. It was an ongoing cycle, but again, he is 2.
In Vegas I let him run around a bit. The crowd was more forgiving this time. I mean cheeks really is freaking adorable. It’s hard not to be happy when he is roaring at you or laughing.
Flying Tip: Fly at an appropriate time to your toddlers happy/calm schedule. What was the difference between flying to Seattle and flying home? 5am and 5pm. I found that Cheeks is much more calm on a morning flight rather than the evening. I have taken a BIG mental note on this for the future.
One thing I wish I would have done: Was brought airsick pills. I wanted to be able to do a little research on them before just giving them to Cheekies. Next time I will definitely be giving hims some.
To conclude, my best advise to you mom’s and dad’s about to embark on the first travels of a toddler is to know your child. Accommodate to what you already know and have an understanding that your toddler doesn’t know any better. Remember it’s a rather short amount of time (domestic anyways) and that it will all be over soon – and you will never see any of these people again. Just roll with the punches!