We're leaving on a jet plane…

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With a toddler! In less than two weeks! Should we be excited, anxious, cautious? Until last week when I was discussing with Maman (Mom), I had been feeling happy-go-lucky, and totally under control. Then she told me I needed to make sure to prepare Mon Cœur (MC) for going through security, customs, etc.

I was most worried about her kicking the seat in front of her and had plans to work with her on this, based on advice I had read from my favorite parenting book (really the only one I know).

So began my dive into YouTube, and I found some really great advice and tips from moms on everything from preparing for a flight with a toddler to how to pack. Below are the videos I found most helpful and my takeaways:

What’s Up Mom’s: Tips | Flying with Baby & Toddler

  • Loved the bullet point list of tips; super organized video!
  • Bring a stroller. We originally were planning on not bringing a stroller, but since now I know that we can take it right up to the gate and it’s checked from there for Free ninety nine, we’re going to pack one. It will be a plus to have going through the airports and also walking through Paris.
  • Book at nap time, not red eyes. Oops. I was kind of proud that I picked a 5:30 direct flight – we’d get on the plane, have dinner, then (fingers crossed) sleep, and wake up in Paris. I still think this is a solid option among the choices we had when we booked. I’ll keep you posted as to how well this goes.
  • Make a snack bag in a gallon ziplock for easier security check. I’ll be packing a gallon ziplock with some snacks, and we can bring a “reasonable amount of liquids.” Not sure what that really means, but I will be packing those liquid snack packs for MC.
  • Get on the plane last. Send your partner on the plane with carry ons to get settled; while the other partner waits with the toddler and boards last. Common sense, right? But in our haste to start this amazing adventure, I know we would have boarded as soon as we were able. So I’m so glad for this suggestion – yes, MC, run, run, run those little legs until last boarding call, and then maybe you’ll sleep or at least sit still until the safety belt light goes off.
  • Suck on take offs and landings. They say that for take offs and landings, toddlers should suck on something for the ear pressure relief. MC no longer takes a bottle or her pacifier, but the Munchkin 360 cups we are packing require suction for drinking, and I’ll have those handy snack packs that also are also consumed in the same fashion.

Life of Reilly: Flying with a baby or toddler long haul | Travel tips

  • There are many accommodations for kids on flights. Plan ahead for these amenities: a toddler bed or bassinet in plane and kid’s meals delivered first (so that MC can eat and be done before our meals arrive, hopefully!). We are flying Lufthansa, and although I’ve only flown with them once, they had really made a positive impression on me. Very customer service-centric. I am going to call them tomorrow to see if I can schedule MC’s dinner to come out earlier and if they have a toddler bed – that may help her sleep during this evening flight.
  • Plugging in? If you’re bringing a tablet, practice with headphones and tablet before the flight, and make sure to download any shows.
  • Walkabouts. Anytime the seat belt sign is off and MC has the wiggles, we’ll do laps to get those legs moving.
  • Remember why you’re on the flight. Thinking positive. I am hoping we will have a fairly uneventful flight. Even in the worst-case scenario, just remembering the purpose of the trip will help keep us positive and more upbeat!

What’s Up Moms: Pack with Me! Family Routine and Tips

  • Assess needs. We’re going on an international trip, for two plus weeks. Although we’ll be gone for a while, everywhere we are staying has access to a washer, so I don’t want to pack clothes for every day. I’ll probably pack for about eight days for Chouchou and myself and a few more days for MC.
  • Lay it out. Lay everything you want to take out. Take note of the visual landscape of your wardrobe. Overpacking? Missing something? Are there enough complete outfits for the trip’s duration? [This is totally irrelevant to our trip now, but I love how this mom supports kid’s independent packing by letting them try, them reviewing together, and the kids taking a second shot at it. Super amazing, filing for future reference.]
  • Packing cubes. I’d never heard of them, but they really seem like a game changer. I did splurge on a couple of sets – I hope these help us all stay organized!
  • Medicine bag. I was wondering at first if it was a little overkill to pack a thermometer for MC. Then this mom mentions preparing a medicine bag, thermometer included! It’s just better to be prepared.
  • Carry ons. I liked the idea to bring trash bags, I’ll be stashing a couple of plastic grocery bags in our carry ons.

After seeing these clips, I felt reassured that we do have a pretty good handle on our upcoming trip, and I also noted new information that will help make the trip even smoother.

I still haven’t worked with MC on not kicking the seats in front of her, or how to be patient despite a long security line, and how to survive customs after a red eye and while adjusting to a different time zone completely. We’ll get there…

What tips do you have for traveling with toddlers or packing?

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