Welp. We did it. We journeyed from one coast to the other and back again, all with a 15 month old little boy in tow.
What did we learn? Some good, some bad, all useful:
- You’re traveling across the country with a 15 month old ball of energy, and you’ve chosen to stuff him in a flying tube for six hours.
- Once stuffed in said flying tube, if (read: when) the kid barfs, the barf is going to wind up all over you, your spouse, the kid, the side of the plane, EVERYWHERE. And you’re going to smell it for the rest of the flight. If you’re lucky (we were), it’s an isolated incident that will cause laughter later. If you’re unlucky, drink wine, there is no other option.
- Jet lag happens for both you and the kid. Sleep when you can, snuggle often, and just go with the flow. Routine will return in due time.
- Direct flights!
- Timing of the flights: we chose to fly later in the day both ways, in hopes that the little dude would sleep and we would have less wrangling to do. We were successful both ways!
- The back row right in front of the bathroom, window and aisle: up your chances for no one in the middle (the middle seat in the back row is the LAST seat that will be chosen). This resulted in us having an entire row to ourselves for both flights. The kid sleeps sprawled out in the middle seat, and the parents revel in how brilliant a plan they concocted. Everyone wins.
- You can buy yogurt damn near everywhere, which is great when your child is made up of about 95% yogurt. Now is not the time to test new diets. Bring on the yogurt.
- Car seat bags are FREE to check, and just because they hold car seats doesn’t mean they can’t hold other stuff too. Pack it in!
- Multi-use toys: the stacking cups (yes, you will chase them all over the floor), a car that propels itself, a beach toy. All of them work in a whole variety of situations, and all of them are small.
- Snacks! Pouches, goldfish, more goldfish, more goldfish (no, he’s not getting a tan; he’s just turning orange from the flavor blasted goldfish).
- Books. Little ones with many pictures.
- Naptime…it’s fluid on vacation and that is okay. So is bedtime. Go with it, let the kid enjoy, pay for it later. Jet lag is a whole other beast that only serves to fuel the fire of a fluid naptime. The kid’s schedule will be wacky – watch his cues and do your best.
- Laugh. So much. Traveling with a 15 month old is not relaxing, stress-free, or even mildly simple, but it is so, SO fun. This is the age of wonder – every outing presents a whole new world to explore, to touch, to feel, to see. Use it as an excuse to do the same.
- Oh, and you will need wine. Lots of it.
What other advice do you have to make plane journeys with wee folk not just bearable but even a bit fun?
[in the effort of full disclosure, there’s an amazon affiliate link above. It comes with two very enthusiastic Jaimecito thumbs up]