Month: October 2019

Tips for Flying with a Toddler

20 tips for flying with a toddler

We recently took our Little One on his first plane ride! Before the trip we were so worried about how he would react to the experience. Would his ears feel OK? Would he sleep on the plane? Would he scream the whole time? These questions circled around my head as we prepared for our trip. I am happy to report that the plane ride went very smoothly, and hopefully by following these tips you will have a smooth experience traveling with your toddler.

***Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart .***

Booking the flight

So my first tip is to book the flight for a natural nap time. This will make it a lot easier for your little one to sleep on the plane. Once we boarded and I started nursing him, he was out right away. There was so much to see in the airport that I think it tuckered him out watching everything.

If allowed to choose your seats, try to get a window seat near the front of the plane. The window seats have a little extra room next to them. When on a cramped airplane, any extra space is a life saver.

Book a seat for your child if you can. I know that budgets can be tight but having an extra seat can be so helpful. We did not book a seat for our Little One and instead kept him on our lap. Most airlines allow babies under 2 to ride free if they ride on your lap. On the way there, we did not have an extra seat. It went okay but was cramped. On the way back we had an angel of a flight attendant who moved some people around and gave us three seats! It was so nice to have the extra space and once little one woke up from his nap, it allowed him to crawl around between the two of us. Also, my husband is 6’3″ so sitting in a middle seat was rough on him!

Other bookings

Rent a car seat if able. We rented a car seat because I didn’t want to deal with packing one and checking it at the airport. It wasn’t too much more added on to our car rental. If you are not renting a car and being picked up, check your car seat at the check in, not at the gate. When we were flying we saw a family who had three small children, They were also carrying a bag for each, a two kiddo stroller and three car seats….they looked miserable. Flying can be difficult with a toddler, so I always try to make things as easy as possible.

Read the fine print. When booking your flight be sure to read the fine print, especially when it comes to the policy regarding kids. Different airlines may have special rules when it comes to carry ons, bringing formula or breast milk, and the list goes on and on. I read it more than one time just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. While you’re at it head over to the TSA website and check out the kids section for special instructions for going through security.

What to Pack

Bring a stroller. A stroller is a life saver when trying to run through the airport. Bring the smallest stroller you are able…we did not. The purpose of our trip was to go hiking at Yoho National Park, so we wanted to bring our trail stroller.

Bring snacks. Bring your little one’s favorite, but not messy, snacks on the plane. Anything to keep them happy is the goal. I headed to the bulk bins at our food co-op and got yogurt covered pretzels, yogurt covered raisins, and dried apples. I also brought some crackers and bananas. We got Cheez-Its as our snack on the plane, which little one gobbled up.

Bring a water bottle and sippy cup. Staying hydrated is obviously really important. To get though security, your adult water bottle will need to be empty, but they allowed water to be in the sippy cup, which was a win.

Bring small toys and books. Bring some of your little one’s favorite books and activities. We brought this ball, these blocks, a car, and Hello magazines. It is important to keep little one busy and toys will help with this.

Use a back pack as a diaper bag. If you already use a back pack you are ahead of the game! But if you don’t, they make life so much easier. When going through the airport and helping little one it is so much easier to have both of your hands free.

packing a diaper bag

Day of Trip

Pre-check into the flight. Again, try to make life as easy as possible. If your airline allows pre-check into your flight, I recommend you do it and skip those lines.

Dress in layers. Airplanes can be either too hot or too cold so it’s best to be flexible and dress in layers. Bring extra clothes, too, in case there is some sort of accident.

Soft sole shoes or socks. Once little one starts crawling around on your lap, you are going to want them to have soft soles. We did this and it worked great. Once the plane landed, we put little one’s shoes back on and he promptly stepped on my hand and I ended up with a bruise for a week.

At the Airport

When you arrive at the gate, check in with the attendants. If you bring a stroller or car seat to the gate, you will need a tag from them to label it. They may also give you special instructions for where to place the stroller/car seat for storage on the plane. This is also a great time to ask for seats to be rearranged, if needed. When we were assigned our seats upon purchasing tickets, they had my husband and I sitting in different rows. That was not going to work for us. The attendants were in full agreement and changed our seats so we were sitting together!

Check bags at the gate if able. Depending on how full the plane is, the gate attendants might call for volunteers to check bags at the gate. There is no charge for this. We did not check any bags at the check in counter and managed to pack everything we needed in our two carry on bags and our two personal items. By checking one of our bags it allowed us to store one of our personal items in the overhead bins. This freed up some leg room for my tall husband. It was also one less thing to keep track of and haul through the airport.

Boarding

When sitting at the terminal waiting for the plane to board, let your toddler crawl around when waiting to board. This will help them burn some energy and help get them ready for a nap on the plane.

Change their diaper just before boarding. The bathrooms on planes are tiny and I would not want to change Little One’s diaper in there. Try to change the diaper just before you board and then right after landing. Hopefully you are able to go through the flight without needing it to be changed.

Families board first. Pay attention to the announcements and board when called. Originally I thought I should wait until the end to board so Little One would spend as little time as possible on the plane. However, there are real benefits to boarding first. The first is that you are moving around less people when trying to get to your seats, which can be challenging. It also let Little One check out his new environment and watch the people come aboard. If we would have waited until the last minute to board I envision Little One having a hard time going to sleep during take off because he would have still been interested in watching everything.

airport

On the Plane

Use jackets to create a seat between the window and seat. This creates a little seat for a little butt to sit on. Little One loved looking out the window. Having made a little seat it allowed Little One to look out the window better and got him off my lap for a bit.

Nurse or give formula during take off and touch down. I have heard that this helps with ear popping – I am not sure if it did or not. But it did help Little One go to sleep, which was a big win.

Phew…those are my 20 tips for flying with a toddler! I hope your trip with your little one goes well and that this advice help you out. If you have any other tips for flying with a toddler, let me know in the comments below!

For more tips on traveling with a little one check out my preparing for travel with a baby.

Eco-Friendly Homemade Cleaners

Eco Friendly Homemade cleaners

I have some exciting news – I have developed my first product! Hopefully it can help you create more Eco-friendly homemade cleaners in order to avoid chemical cleaners and, among other things, help with your budget.

Let me back up for a minute. So this all started when I was talking to my coworker about the homemade cleaners that I use. She expressed a desire to do the same but found finding recipes confusing and had no idea where to start.

I have been using homemade cleaners for years and have always just had the recipes in my head. Then when Little One arrived my husband started to take on more of the cleaning. However, he did not keep the recipes in his head. This lead me to writing the recipes on the back of the bottles for him. This way he could read the directions and refill the cleaners any time he needed them.

So with these two events my first brain child came about. So without further adieu, my first product is a digital download of labels and recipes that you can place on spray bottles to use in your home. I know it’s a pretty simple idea but it really makes life so much easier.

* Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart

The Recipes

Included in this download are the following recipes for your more Eco-friendly home:

  • All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Foaming Hand Soap
  • Fabric Freshener
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Laundry Stain Remover
  • Laundry Scent Booster
  • Floor Cleaner
  • Cloth Diaper Stain Remover (for those of you cloth diapering)
  • Spider Repellent
How It Works

These are available right now as a digital download. You can head over to my store and purchase them for only $2! Once the purchase is made you will get an email with a PDF attachment. You can print as many of the labels as you like.

For best results, print the labels on sticky paper. You can also print them on regular paper and use clear tape to put them on the bottles. You can find sticky paper at Target or Amazon.

What You’ll Need

Beyond having your preferred paper for printing the labels, you will need something to put them on. I personally love these glass spray bottles that I found on Amazon, but any spray bottle will work. Spray bottles are also available at most box stores and dollar stores. You will also need a foaming hand pump dispenser. I have been reusing some plastic ones that I got years ago. I found these great mason jar style dispensers on Amazon. You will also need a mop bucket and a container for the laundry scent boosters.

Making the Cleaners

After sticking the labels on each of the containers, use the recipes to create your very own Eco-friendly cleaners.

Most of the recipes include adding essential oils. I personally love using peppermint, lemon, and lavender, but you can choose whatever scents you like.

You will need the following ingredients:

Just Wait Here is the Best Part!

Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win 6 glass spray bottles!

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Click this link to head over to my store. You can download the labels and attach them to any bottle of your choice.

I have also been thinking about getting the labels printed and having hard copies available. Is this something that you all would be interested in? Let me know in the comments below.

Preparing for Travel with a Baby

We are going on an international vacation! OK, so we are going to Canada, but it is still international and involves a lot of preparation. Here are my tips on preparing for travel with a baby.

* Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart

Documents

One of the first things to do when planing a trip is to make sure that all travel documents you’ll need are accounted for. In our case, one thing was getting Little One a passport. We learned a lot in the processing of getting this passport. This website will list the full requirements for getting your child a passport. Some of the important things we learned are that both parents must be present (or have documentation from the other parent). We both had to declare that we were allowing our Little One to travel outside the USA. Another thing we learned was that the application could only be paid by check or money order, which was more annoying than anything.

We will also be traveling with a photo copy of Little Ones birth certificate, just in case (we never ended up using it, but I guess better safe than sorry.)

Booking Travel

When booking travel its important to consider how you will be traveling, when, and for how long. Try to book any flights during your child’s nap time if they are still taking a nap. Hopefully they will sleep through most of it then. I know many people who do long flights will travel at night so the child will sleep as normal.

We are choosing to fly and rent a car once we get there. When flying, review your airline’s guidelines when it comes to flying with little ones. Most airlines will allow children under the age of two to ride for free on your lap. Depending on how your little one does, you can help your budget by having them on your lap. If you know this wouldn’t work for you, getting a seat for them is always an option.

Most airlines also allow two of the following items: stroller, car seat, and pack and play. They can either be checked when checking in for the flight or at the gate. This is most convenient for the stroller.

We also will be renting a car. Most car rentals have car seats available for a fee. We decided that the cost of the car seat outweighed the inconvenience of hauling our own.

When booking anything, make sure you read the fine print when it comes to your little one.

Post trip update: on the way back there was a row behind us that only had once person in it. The flight attendant came by and asked the person in the aisle seat to move a row behind to give us three seats. This made a world of difference for our comfort! If you are able to book a seat for your little one, it sure is nice to have that extra seat!

Packing

To check a bag, or not to check a bag…that is the question. The fees for checking the bag are outrageous, so we tried to use strictly carry on bags instead. Before traveling, try to compile a list of everything you will need. This will help your packing and try to make space as efficient as possible. Most airlines will allow a carry on bag and a personal item like a diaper bag, purse, computer bag or back pack.

We are trying to conserve as much space as possible, so we will definitely be taking clothes that are versatile and hand washable if needed. We have tested it out and can get everything we need into two carry on bags and two back packs.

Entertainment

Something to keep Little One busy while being cooped up in the plane or car is essential. We are packing a few small toys – a wooden car, a ball, and books. The Hello magazines are perfect for travel. They are small and have many activities, they are easy to wipe off and sanitize when needed, and are durable. We will also be loading up our electronic devices with shows. Normally we don’t let him watch too many shows, so it will be a special treat when flying.

Snacks

Snacks are a must. Pack snacks that are easy to eat, don’t require refrigeration, and aren’t messy. We hit up our local food co-op and checked out the bulk bins. There were a lot of options, like yogurt covered pretzels, yogurt covered raisins, dehydrated apples, bananas and graham crackers.

Going though security at most airlines will not allow liquids to be taken though security. There are exceptions to this rule, though, when it comes to breast milk and formula. Read the TSA rules before your flight to be current on any changes. If there is any liquid traveling with a little one the TSA will need to test it. We were able to bring a sippy cup with water in it and there was no problem.

The lines for security can be long, so having snacks, drinks and entertainment available is a must.

Be Prepared

Be prepared for traveling with a little one by following the above tips. Also try to be mentally prepared for a long day. Things are going to go wrong, so just take deep breaths and roll with it.

Just one last tip before I wrap up this post – be nice to those around you and to those working. As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey then vinegar!

Do you have any other tips for preparing for international travel with a baby? Let me know in the comments below!