Re: Air Travel with Toddler
posted at 4/25/2012 2:48 PM EDT
I've travelled with DD who is 3.5 several times on planes, and much of what has been mentioned is true - carseats have to go in the window seat, it does provide a familiar, escape-proof place for your LO, but it also allows them to kick the seat in front, and can prevent them from using the tray table.
We have a Cosco Scenera car seat that we use when travelling - it is the "back-up" car seat we bought for a friend to keep in her car for emergency pickups (we are a one car family). It was pretty cheap (I think around $50) highly rated, and much lighter than our Sunshine Radians seat. It is still bulky to carry through the airport, it is much easier than our heavy daily use seat. Just another option.
As far as some of the practicalities of travelling, many of the previous tips are great, I have a few more:
- Make sure you leave enough time at the airport to check in, but also make sure you have enough time to make connections if you can't fly direct. We usually schedule at least an hour between flights, and prefer closer to an hour and a half.
- We have had great success even on Southwest, so booking seats ahead of time isn't mandatory, but remember you can't sit in exit rows, or the rows right before or after the exit rows as well, and the further back the noisier the planes tend to be.
- Different models of planes have different bathrooms, and not all have changing tables. I know you are asking about your toddler, but for both, plan on a strategy for changing diapers if there isn't a changing table on your plane. (Also ask the flight attendants when you board, some planes have one lavatory with a table and the rest without.) I make a ziplock bag with the minimum required changing supplies - a diaper or pullup, and pack of wipes, diaper cream if needed, plus another ziplock bag with a change of clothes. I only take the bags with me to the bathroom, plus maybe a pad if there is a table, otherwise I do a standing change. There is no place in an airplane lav to put a whole diaper bag, and having the stuff in a ziplock keeps it dry when you have to put it down in the sink. If you know you won't need the change of clothes, you can leave that at your seat, but if I'm not sure, I'd rather bring it and not need it than have to schlep back and forth.
- The tips about new toys or books is great, but also mix in one or two familiar ones. At two, is your DD capable of carrying a small backpack? DD loves to have her own bag with her favorite doll, small toy, and a coloring book (the "magic" ones from crayola with markers that only write on the special paper are great for the plane!) and a small snack. It makes her feel grown up. I keep the new surprises in our carryon, and try to keep her bag very light (if it's heavy I'll wind up carrying that as well).
- Bring an emergency kit with baby tylenol, band-aids, hand sanitizer, and maybe grown-up painkillers and a chapstick as well - I put the emergency stuff in my one quart plastic bag of liquids and gels for security, since the tylenol and hand sanitizer need to be declared.
- That brings me to my last point - with two LOs you will have a bunch of stuff you will need (stroller / carseat / diapers / changes of clothes / snacks / bottles / sippy cups /pacifiers / lovies / etc.) but try to keep it to the bare minimum so you are not carting giant heavy bags through the airport. And I am a big fan of ziplocks to organize things inside a bigger bag, so you can find what you need, and segregate the dirty from the clean.
I hope this isn't overwhelming, but each time we travel, I find it gets easier, although I doubt it will ever be fun to try and get through the air travel part of it. There is a reason no culture has ever come up with the metaphor "As lovely as an airport."