Mom Advice-Traveling Solo with Kids
Yesterday the girls and I hit a major milestone. We flew home from Maine just the three of us! Doug had to stay behind for work so it was on me to get the girls home. While the flight was a short one I was still nervous leading up to it. Hermione is an expert flyer but Portia can get wiggly on the plane and does not like to sit still for long! Portia also tends to run away and refuse to hold my hand so landing at Laguardia with both of them and somehow finding our suitcase and car home was daunting. In the week leading up to the trip I polled my friends who fly alone often with their kids for advice. Here are some of the best tip I heard as well as my own:
Just check it!
Resist the urge to carry on your suitcase. Two kids is enough to wrangle on and off the plane. You will be so glad to to be schlepping your suitcase around the airport.
Share a Suitcase
Pack yourself and your kids into one suitcase, even if it has to be a big one. Once you collect your suitcase at baggage claim you will be happy to have one free hand to hold onto any younger children (ahem Portia) who might not stay near you otherwise.
iPads are Not the Devil
Yes in an ideal world I would read to my kids the whole flight or engage in super creative games. Honestly though once we got through security and onto the plane I was elated to hand each of them their iPads and headphones. Hermione will sit and watch an entire movie start to finish and barely need me. Portia gets more restyle and needs to take breaks from watching but it is still a great way to keep her calm and happy.
Snacks, Snacks, Snacks
Whether you are traveling solo with kids or with a partner snacks are key. I always pack a multitude of snacks in my bag, as well as some special treats for them to discover in their bags. Then I let them each pick out something at the airport ( pretzels for Portia and peanut butter bananas for Hermione).
I pack a backpack for each girl with their iPads, the aforementioned special snacks, a notebook and markers and any other small toys they want. Often times they start to load up their bags with extraneous stuff because well, kids. My rule is everyone carries their own backpack. If they don't want to carry their backpack or try to hand it to me I simply say “if you don’t want to carry it it stay on the floor here.” That usually keeps them from overloading their backpacks with random toys.
Laugh it Off
Yes there will be some screaming, and crying, and they won’t always listen. Try and remember they are just kids and it is temporary. You will make it!