I’ve been traveling with Raegan since she was an infant. She was the only baby I knew that had been to 4 different states before she was one! While it was an influential experience for her, every time I was full of anxiety b/c of the drama I would have to go through to even get to my destination. Honestly, even at 4 years old… it still is!
I remember venting my concerns to a fellow mother and she responded by saying… “really, traveling with my 3 year old is easy.” My response… “well of course it is, you have a spouse to go with you or at the least, you have you older kids that can help you.” *Silence* No, your situation doesn’t compare to mine b/c point being… YOU HAVE HELP! Nonetheless, I wasn’t going to let traveling alone with a little person keep me from doing my favorite hobby; I’ve been doing pretty much everything else on my own, why not add traveling to the list.
Taking a Trip, Here are some Tips!
In hopes of inspiring others to follow in my footsteps, I want to pass on some tips on how traveling with a little person doesn’t have to be as scary as people think:
Raegan was about 6 months when she took her first airline trip. I remember being at home, packing my suitcase and then moving on to hers. Then I remembered, wait I have to bring her stroller and car seat… how in the world am I going to maneuver through the airport with 2 suitcases, a stroller and a car seat??! I knew the answer, I just didn’t want to succumb to the fact of combining our clothes in one suitcase. Whhhhhyyyyyy???!!!!! You don’t know how I cringed at the fact I had to share a suitcase… yes, even with my own daughter. Me- a Queen has to have her makeup, skincare, ugh plenty of shoes, etc. in order to make this trip perfect- LOL! Nonetheless, it made more sense. Instead of bringing 2 small suitcases, I would combine everything into one medium size suitcase and call it day.
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that all airlines have a luggage limit of around 50 pounds, otherwise you will pay more for over sized luggage? So you mean to tell me, first the “powers that be” wants me to share my luggage with my daughter, now I have to be strategic in what I bring so that I don’t have to pay extra upon check-in! I’m not feeling this! Think BIGGER picture, Queen… you will be on vacation… you just have to get there first. Wu-sa! Okay, think…
- Do I really need all of these shoes? Actually, yeah I do but whatever… I’ll sacrifice so the child can have may be more than one pair. (j/k, Raegan usually traveled with more shoes than me)
- Can I bring less makeup? Fine… I guess I don’t have to bring my whole makeup kit. I can just pack my essentials that I wear the most.
- Wait, why am I packing all these diapers? I can just buy a pack while I’m there… YES! Now there will be room for another pair of shoes I can buy as a souvenir for my self- HEHEHE! 😉
Although, I carefully paid attention as to what I packed, I still was pretty close to the limit upon check-in. After a couple of times, I invested in a suitcase weight scale (similar one here). Let me tell you, this little device was one of the best inventions made when it came to traveling. It’s not exact but it allows you to have an estimate of how much your suitcase weighs prior to check-in. Believe me, you don’t want to be that person holding up the line trying to move items out of one suitcase into another. Talk about embarrassing! It is also handy if you are the one that likes to shop while on vacation and want to have room in your suitcase to bring back the items.
Don’t By-Pass Check-in
I know what you are thinking… I’ve already paid $200 for a plane ticket, now you want me to pay an extra $25 each way to check in your bag? Well, it’s up to you but I chose to make this sacrifice when I packed the suitcase in the first place. I’d rather pay for checked luggage than to walk through the airport with luggage that will fit in the overhead bin but would stress me out from exhaustion. Remember, I still had the stroller and infant car seat I had to deal with.
Fast forward– Raegan can now walk fast enough so either I don’t need to bring a stroller OR not only can the suitcase be checked, so can the stroller and the car seat! Guess what…. FOR FREE!!! You have to pay for the luggage to be checked but the stroller and car seat are free! Thank God for airline officials, taking pity on people traveling with small kids- LOL! So that you won’t have to go through security with these items, check these items at the departure gate.
Be Thee Oh so Entertainment Ready
For those of you that don’t believe in games, child YouTube, or Netflix for your child… may God Bless You! You can judge me all you want, but after going through the stress of waiting in line for check-in, being bamboozled by TSA and had been given 3 side-eyes by 3 different people (obviously single or no kids)… by the time I get to the gate, I need some “me-time.” There goes the entertainment for the kid.
Traveling with Raegan as an infant was a little easier b/c she was a quiet, independent baby. She was satisfied with her feet or a small toy. However at 4 years old, I wouldn’t dare travel without 2 tablets, her headphones and Nintendo! Why 2 tablets? Kids get bored easily so even if the tablets have the same set of apps, just the fact of changing the device keeps them interested. Besides, while she is on one… I can be on the other.
What is a Trip w/out Snacks
There is this myth that you can’t go through security with food but that isn’t true. You can’t go through with liquids over 3 ounces but a food substance is okay. We all know how expensive airport food is and when you are traveling with a growing child, who wants to spend an extra $25 on both of you to eat. | NOTE: Again it’s about what’s best for you. I chose to spend $25 to check in my luggage but for you, you may not mind paying to eat at the airport. | Just like the entertainment, Raegan and I love options. Bring their favorite items- remember, they are on vacation too- if you constantly make them eat healthy at home, buy them something extra while traveling so they feel special as well. Besides, it may also help ease their anxiety as well. If all fails, bribe the child. “If you are quiet for 5 minutes, I’ll give you some M&Ms.” Hey, no judgement allowed 😉
Don’t be Proud, Accept the Help
Although, most of the time I had it under control, there were many times I just looked so pitiful that people just offered to help and I gladly accepted. There were (and still are) some chivalrous men that offers to carry my car seat to the gate for me; there were women that offered to hold my child while I packed my items after going through security; gate agents that showed me favor by allowing Raegan and I to get on during Group 1 while my ticket said Group 4. Thank you Lord for kind people still in the world!
You are on Vacation, You must Have Fun!
Now that Raegan is older, I find ways to show her she can enjoy her vacation too. At home, we may not stop for Frozen Yogurt but why not treat ourselves to some TCBY while at the airport. Lastly, don’t let traveling become a chore. Yes, getting through the airport can make you anxious but in the end you will develop tricks and trades to make it easier. Take time to read the fine print prior to getting to the airport (luggage rules, check-in rules, traveling with a child rules, etc.). Relax, Relate, Release… for goodness sake… you are on vacation!