How to fly solo with children
It was one of my worst nightmares. I’ve already admitted to being afraid to fly and flying on my own has never been fun for me. I couldn’t even think of traveling on my own with my sons. Then it happened. I really had no choice in the matter and in March I flew with the boys and my nerves. We survived and it wasn’t quite that bad.
However, I was sure that I wouldn’t want to do it again – until I had to. Only four weeks ago. Not only did we fly on our own, but my sons and I also navigated our way through customs and security through two countries without incident. This is how we survived.
- Plan for mistakes. Both of my sons are potty trained but my youngest has been known to have an accident, especially when he naps. Knowing that he was more than likely to nap on the flights, I chose to have him wear pull ups for our travels. Sure enough, it happened and I was glad to have only a quick change to make instead of a much larger, messier situation on my hands. We also always bring along extra underwear and a set of pjs for each boy. They’re light to carry and I feel prepared for the possible spills or accidents
- Plan for entertainment. My sons and I visited Nick Jr the day before we left and printed out several activities for the next day. The boys couldn’t wait to play with their cut out characters and puzzles, but I made them wait. It made take off that much more exciting (and well-behaved). There’s also nothing like a portable DVD player to keep little guys entertained. I like to save it for those moments when we have no other option and the boys are starting to show their impatience with sitting in for too long.
- Plan for hunger. I’m just amazed at how difficult it can be to keep hunger at bay when flying. With airlines no longer serving food as part of the fare, make sure you have cash and credit cards on you. Some airlines accept only one or the other and that cheese tray will be calling your name around lunchtime. We always bring food for my allergy prone son, but carrying crackers, energy bars, or cereals is always a good idea.
- Plan for a quick move. My husband and I don’t always bring along a stroller. For my flights alone with the boys, I’m not sure how I could have made it. The stroller helped me to move a child and one of our carry on bags. Once I reached a gate, it was simple to fold and leave for the airline personnel to store in the luggage hold.
Traveling with children can be fun, difficult or somewhere in between. Being prepared and staying flexible will make the biggest difference for you and your children.
Chris Flynn is mom to two rambunctious boys. A homebody at heart, Chris fell in love and found herself moving around like a gypsy. When she isn’t packing, on a plane, or in a car, you can find her at Mom’s Favorite Stuff or on Twitter.