How I Make Travelling With Kids Stress Free!

How I Make Travelling With Kids Stress Free! #marchbreak #travellingwithkids #travel

We have been travelling with kids for several years now, and with March Break travel season just around the corner, I wanted to share with you some of the great tips and tricks for travelling with children that we have learned along the way – and hopefully make your trips happy & stress free from now on!

How I Make Travelling With Kids Stress Free!Give Yourself a LOT of Extra Time

I’m talking arrive at the airport 1.5-2 hours earlier than what is recommended by the airline. With kids in tow you never know the obstacles you might face along the way (full diapers, emergency potty breaks, all consuming thirst or hunger, tantrums etc). You also never know what might be going on at the airport. On our last trip I was thinking “We only need an extra hour, we are so good at this travel thing now!”, but when we arrived we were instructed to wait in a line that was literally NOT MOVING. They were ocassionally extracting people who were going to be late to their flights from the line, but not actually moving the line forward. The people orchestrating this whole line situation obviously did not take into account that we were travelling with young kids, so when (after over an hour) we finally were at the check in desk we barely had enough time to make our flight (after the rude Air Canada agent scolded me for not being early enough! *blood boiling*). Were it not for a sweet customs agent taking pity on our convoy we would not have made it. That day I vowed to arrive the extra 2 hours early from now on, for EVER AND EVER!

Bring a Whole Bunch of Snacks

Salty, sweet, healthy, junky, crunchy, chewy, anything you can think of! I usually toss my healthy eating goals out the window on travel days and bring what I know will help my kids make it through all the lines and scans and forced stroller rides. Also, don’t go crazy spending a ton on these snacks as you never know if you may have to toss them when you go through security. As for drinks, I recommend bringing a bottle or two of water from home (don’t wait to buy the $3 bottles of water at the airport!) that you won’t mind having to toss before you go through security. I don’t recommend bringing juice boxes, as you may have to take a sip to prove it’s safe to TSA (like I did once), and there goes the portability at that point. If your kids are very finicky, you may be able to get away with bringing a thermos or water bottle with liquids specifically for them and make sure you remove it from your bag and tell security that it is specifically for your child. I’m personally just too lazy to drag around a lot of liquids because they are heavy and take up a lot of space.

Bring Enough Milk for Baby

There are so many different ways to feed your baby these days.  Here are a few systems that I have used and that worked for us.

Breastfeeding:  Be sure to wear an easy access shirt.  A baby carrier like the Ergo or Moby for a younger baby can make airplane nursing a lot easier, just be sure to practice nursing while wearing your baby before you leave on your travels.

Formula:  I premeasured formula into a bottle or two and brought one thermos of hot water and a regular bottle of water.  When ready to feed baby mix about half a bottle’s worth of cool water in with the formula and shake, add hot (and/or cool) water to warm the bottle to the right temp.  Fill the bottle to a little past the desired number of ounces to account for the space that the formula took up in the bottle.  Note: this method is not extremely accurate, if you wish to be more accurate bring measured amounts of formula separately, add cool water to bottle then sprinkle in formula and shake.  Then add hot (and/or cool) water up to the correct number of ounces to warm the bottle to the desired temperature.

Cow’s Milk:  Once my baby got off of formula and on to cow’s milk, I brought one thermos of cow’s milk and one thermos of boiling water.  To prep the thermoses (thermi? hehe) I chilled the milk one in the fridge overnight and added the milk in the morning just before we left.  For the boiling water thermos, I first heated the thermos with hot tap water, dumped it, then added my boiling water in an attempt to keep that water as hot as possible for as long as possible.  I brought an empty bottle and a plastic container in which I could submerge the bottle in the boiling water.  Make sure that most of the bottle can be underwater in your container, for the fastest bottle heating.  For ease of packing I did not bring a lid for the container so I was able to nest other items (snacks) inside the container.  Try to carry the thermoses upright and away from electronics because you never know when those things will decide to leak.

How I Make Travelling With Kids Stress Free!

Bring a Whole Ton of Activities

My suggestions include a few packs of Crayola Color Wonder colouring pages and the Color Wonder Mini Markers.  Avoid normal markers as that’s just a recipe for disaster!  Crayola Color Wonder is awesome because not only do kids not have the ability to mess up the plane, this colouring set is also perfect for them to use whenever you get to your destination (hotel, rental, inlaws!).  Grab some new, never before seen stickers and some individual Play Doh Color Sticks too and house all these little novelties in a large pencil case.  I also bring an empty plastic baggie for storing the Play Doh once it has been opened.  Another great thing to pack is a roll of plain old masking tape.  Great for taping down colouring sheets or give a long strand to a toddler for some easy entertainment.  If you have one, an iPad loaded with a couple new apps is a great idea.  Go for the paid version of the apps if you can, with ads removed it’s way more likely that your child will be able to play the game for longer on their own.

Gate Check Your Stroller

It makes a world of difference sometimes to be able to strap the kids in the stroller and get to where your going as fast as humanly possible.  Bring a protective bag for your stroller and put it on when you collapse your stroller just before boarding the plane.  In a pinch even a garbage bag and some duct tape will work for this purpose, though they do make Gate Check Bags for strollers.  If travelling with more than one child who rides in a stroller, I recommend using two separate strollers, that way each parent still has the ability to drag a carry on with one hand while pushing the stroller with the other hand.  Our system for gate checking is that one parent takes the kids to the seats while the other parent collapses and bags the strollers.

What are your tips for making travel with kids stress free?  Share with us in the comments below!

This post is linked up at Serenity Now

  • Great suggestions. Some I would even use without children.

  • These a great suggestions! I love your plan for the cows milk and how to warm it up! It’s so simple, but so brilliant! I can tell you’ve had a lot of experience 🙂 I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind for our next traveling venture. Thank you for sharing

  • Great advice! One of the things I did with my son as a toddler before a loooong trip was to buy a cheap but new toys for him. Then I would introduce them one at a time over the trip. We did like 10-12 hour car rides a couple of times and it really helped.

  • Alisha Hatcher

    Great advice!

  • These tips are great! My parents live in Ontario and I’m in Alberta, so we’ll be travelling often with kids to see them, including a trip in May with a 2-mo old. I’m pinning this so I can refer to it later. Thanks!

  • These are wonderful tips Monica!

    I don’t travel much with kids but I need to be more prepared for stuff (as organized as I usually am, I drop the ball when it comes to preparations sometimes).

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Guest

      Why thank you Jennifer. You mixed me up with Sarah. 😉

  • Monica Geglio

    Leave 1.5-2hrs early… ugh. So true for like- everything with kids! I seriously cannot imagine taking a plane with two kids, especially a baby! (And I’ve been on well over 25 plane rides or more…) It sounds like the worst thing in the world. I’d rather do a two day road trip than take kids through the plane. Thanks for the tips though, in case I ever do need to take on this task!

  • Love all of these ideas! We’re going to be going on a 6 hour road trip soon so I will definitely be taking your advice! My kids would definitely be made happy with all of these things!

  • Great tips, luckily I don’t have put the airline tips into effect for another few years, but we will be for the Disney trip we plan on taking the girls to in 2017 (10 year anniversary, plus that is where we honeymooned and when I went to Disney for he first time). Can’t wait to share this with my girls, and this will help a lot! I especially agree on having enough activities, I remember taking a road trip for Mass. to Virginia when I was around 9. Back then we had walkman’s, and my aunt got us a bunch of tapes to listen to. No portable DVD players for us. Though honestly, this is something I am considering at one point, I just haven’t given in yet!

  • Great tips! I swore after we flew cross country when my oldest was 6 months that we would never fly with a baby again…it was that bad! However, we’ve done it since and it’s been fine. I definitely agree with all your suggestions and they do make traveling a lot easier 🙂

  • Meghan Flinn

    So far we only have one child to travel with and as long as we have activities and the iPad he is really easy going. I’m so glad he’s off of milk and bottles now and can just eat what we are eating… It made it so much easier! Great tips about arriving early, it’s no fun running to your gate or missing your flight with kids in tow! I personally like to rent a car seat when I reach my destination instead of bringing my own. Often rental car places can be very far away and lugging a big car seat on top of your luggage can be a huge pain. So far we’ve been very happy with the rental car seats.

  • I love these tips, I have traveled a lot with my baby and now toddler. I always bring a TON of snacks, they always seem to keep her entertained! I agree with arriving extra early to allow plenty of time and less of a risk for rushing which totally throws a baby/toddler off. Thanks for linking up on the Saturday Spotlight today! XO

  • Thank you for posting this- we’ll be travelling in about 3 weeks with our baby who will be 9 months by that time, so this is very helpful.

    Stopping by from Weekend Bloggy Reading

  • Do you have any issues with liquid carry ons? I was wondering about that for formula/pumped milk. I’m kind of terrified to travel with baby heh.

    • As long as you specifically tell the TSA that the liquids are for your baby they should be allowed through. They may (probably will) open up any thermoses or liquid containers and test them. I’ve had that happen each time I brought thermoses. If you prepare well and pack as little as you possibly can, travelling with kids can be fairly straight forward!

  • Ashley Egan

    These are great tips! Thanks for sharing. Thanks for linking up to Awesome Life Friday!

  • Great tips! We ditched the stroller in favor of baby carriers last time we traveled by plane ….one less thing to remember 🙂

    Congrats for being featured on #SmallVictoriesSundaylinkup

  • Tanya M

    These are great tips! We don’t fly often but it seems like we have some kind of issue each time we have gone. One time I had filled our water bottles and TSA made me dump it out. One time we lucked out and got auto prescreened and just walked through the line. I think you can apply to have it done and I think we will pay to do that for our next trip. It was so nice to not have to wrestle with removing laptops and shoes for our family of 5! Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday linkup and hope you join us again this week with a bigger and better party!