Best Travel Gifts for Toddlers

travel gifts for toddlers

21 Travel Gifts for Toddlers

travel gifts for toddlers

If you’re looking for travel gifts for toddlers, I’ve got you covered! Here I list 21 of our favorite toys, equipment, and food ideas for your traveling toddler. I go beyond the standard suggestions with lots of unique ideas. Which ones are your favorites? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Every Tuesday on this website I post new travel tips. Be sure to subscribe to email notifications (in sidebar) and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. What aspect of family would you like me to address?

(For your shopping convenience this post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you make a purchase through these links I may receive a small commission, which goes toward the operation of this website. Thank you for your support! -Beth Henry)

TOYS

Stickers, Color Wonder Markers, Play-Doh…You already know these busy bag ideas for your toddler. Here are some less commonly suggested, compact and lightweight ideas for keeping your child entertained in flight:

1) Lauri Toddler Tote $10.93 (orig. $14.99)

This is a great little package with lightweight foam and plastic toys to keep your toddler busy! For your flight busy bag, remove the items from the box to save on space then pack them in a Ziploc bag.
travel gifts for toddlers

2) Nuts & Bolts $14.95

Have you ever noticed that the simplest toys (and non-toys) are often a toddler’s favorite to play with? This simple activity of nuts and bolts might occupy your toddler longer than anything else! Even if it occupies a busy toddler for ten minutes it will be worth it!
travel gifts for toddlers

3) Buckle Toy “Bolt” Airplane $24.99 (orig. $29.99)

How cute is this!? It has 5 different style clasp buckles on the underside and a zipper across the front. Note the size is 9″x 6″. If your carry on bag is already full you could just clip it to the outside using a Carabineer “D” Clip.
travel gifts for toddlers

4) Pocket Mirror $6.99

This was one of my son, John’s very favorite things to play with in flight! As I wrote in this post: 5 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler in Flight, between making faces at himself in the mirror and coloring on the mirror with dry-erase markers, this little item kept him occupied for long periods of time.

travel gifts for toddlers

5) Dry Erase Markers $5.40

You can use these to color on the mirror or on a window. I’ve even used them to write on glossy board books (remember to erase right away because if it’s left on for a long time it won’t erase). Crayola makes dry-erase crayons too, but I actually found them to be messier than markers.
travel gifts for toddlers

6) Poly-Gonzo Geo Twister $6.31

I love this little fidget! It’s super-lightweight and is really fun for all ages to twist around to create new shapes.
travel gifts for toddlers

7) Sesame Street Elmo with Airplane $9.57

I bought this on impulse when my son, John was two years old. He’s almost four now and still loves to play with it. It’s fun to have something airplane themed when you’re flying with your toddler, and small figures can offer endless opportunity for imaginative play.
travel gifts for toddlers

8) Soft Activity Books $12.89

My son John hardly sits still for anything! But one thing he has loved since he was an infant is reading books. Board books are heavy, so you probably don’t want to add those to your travel bag, but it’s easy to carry one or two cloth books to read in flight. Here’s a popular one:

travel gifts for toddlers

9)Backpack Busy Bag with Assorted Toys $39.95 (orig. $49.99)

Available in Frog, Cat, Bear, or Pig. It’s a great all-in-one gift!
travel gifts for toddlers

10) DIY Toys– FREE (Using Household Supplies)

There are several DIY toys you can do too! Among our favorites are a drop-toy, made of an empty spice jar and straws or toothpicks, or of an empty mini Pringles can and pipe cleaners, straws, buttons, or paper clips. Instructions can be found here and here. I also make this drop-toy, using airplane galley supplies, for restless toddler/preschool age passengers when I’m working as a flight attendant.

diy-toddler-activity

11) Alex Jr. Tots Sticker Pictures $9.55 (reg. $13.99)

Pack a just a few of these sticker scenes in your busy bag along with a few sheets of stickers.
travel gifts for toddlers

Equipment

12) C.A.R.E.S. Harness $69.95 (orig. $74.99)

If you’re not bringing the car seat on the plane, this C.A.R.E.S. Harness is the safest way to fly! This is the only FAA approved airplane harness, designed for children ages 1 and up, weighing 22-44 lbs. and up to 44 inches tall. You can check your car seat at the ticket counter (free of charge as an assistive device), or use the Go-Go Babyz Travelmate (my favorite travel tool) and check your car seat at the gate, then just walk on the plane and easily install this C.A.R.E.S. Harness. Easy to use, it keeps your child more safe and secure. For my kids it gave them more of a signal that they needed to stay seated. I was so grateful that I had my daughter, Ella, safely buckled in this when she was about 3 years old and after takeoff we encountered wake turbulence. Everyone rose an inch or two out of their seats as our plane dropped. The C.A.R.E.S. Harness keep her securely in her seat. Some passengers screamed, but Ella lightened the mood when she cheered, “Let’s do that again!” For her it was like a fun roller coaster ride.

travel gifts for toddlers

13) GoGo Babyz TravelMate $73.99

This is my all-time favorite piece of travel equipment. It quickly transforms your car seat into a stroller as you attach the plate to your car seat with a quick-release ratchet strap. The telescoping handle is adjustable for your comfort. Read my complete review of the GoGo Babyz Travelmate. They have updated this with a fold-down plate to accommodate the larger car seats that are common now.
travel gifts for toddlers

14) Firik Soft Fleece Adjustable Headphones $19.99 (orig. $39.99)

Toddlers often won’t tolerate regular headphones but on the airplane they need to use headphones or turn off the volume when playing video games or watching shows. These headphones are a cozy headband and reviews show that kids are far more likely to wear these than regular headphones. I like that they don’t take up as much room in your carry on bag as regular headphones would. Several styles available, including frog and penguin.
travel gifts for toddlers

15) Disposable Table Topper Stick On Placemat $12.09

I love these not only for the purpose of keeping germs away from your child, but also because they have activities on them! Another thing to help occupy your toddler!

travel gifts for toddlers

16) PRIMO Folding Potty with Handles $7.57

I like this folding travel potty because of the handles feature, which keeps your toddler from grabbing the toilet.
travel gifts for toddlers

TRAVEL TIP: When using public toilets, cover the automatic flush sensor with a sticky note or sticker before your child sits down. This will prevent it from flushing and terrifying your child. Read my tips on Managing Public Restrooms with Your Young Child.

17) Rolling Backpack $21.00-$38.99 (from $45.99)

Toddlers love the independence of having their own bag to carry their things, but we all know that after about 15 minutes you will be the one carrying the bag. This cute little rolling backpack is small enough for a toddler to comfortably wear it on their back when they get tired of rolling it. And it’s easy to toss over the handle of your roller board when your toddler isn’t up for carrying it.

TRAVEL TIP: I pack all the busy bag toys in a gallon size Ziploc bag and then put it in this rolling backpack. This small backpack easily fits under the airplane seat and can often share the space with my tote bag.
travel gifts for toddlers

18) Walking Safety Harness $14.99

Your toddler wants freedom! The new challenge arises of keeping your child safe in crowds. Read my post, How to Prevent Losing Your Kids in Crowds, for some ideas on keeping your child near you. One way is by using a safety harness, like this one. Worried that people will judge you? Don’t be! Read my post, Backpack Harnesses, Useful or Mean? to get more information on what most people really think.
travel gifts for toddlers

FOOD

19) Munchkin Snack Catcher $6.99 for two

I’ve tried a lot of different novelty travel snack cups but I always went back to this simple design. It was the most spill-proof and easy to use one for my kids.
travel gifts for toddlers

20) Banana Saver $7.32

Is there a more perfect toddler food than a banana? To keep the banana fresh and bruise-free, use this banana saver. I have even packed bananas in my checked luggage using this and they have not had one bruise!
travel gifts for toddlers

21) Plum Organics Jammy Sammy Sandwich Bars Variety Bundle $12.23

For a little bit of nutrition when your toddler won’t eat anything else. These bars travel well. I often pack an unopened box in my checked bag too. (By keeping it in the box the bars don’t get mashed up.)
travel gifts for toddlers

22) Little Duck Organic Tiny Fruits & Veggies 6-count $22.99

These little freeze-dried snacks are pure fruits and veggies–no added sugar! It can be tough to get your toddler to eat well on-the-go. These fun snacks can help add a few nutrients to your child’s diet.
travel gifts for toddlers

23) The First Years Take & Toss Sippy Cups $2.68 (from $4.19)

I always bring a spill-proof cup for my kids when flying. These cups are inexpensive enough to toss if you can’t wash them and durable enough to wash and reuse when you’re able. Even if your toddler is still nursing, they will probably like to have a drink of water when the beverage cart comes by and everyone else is getting drinks.
travel gifts for toddlers

What do you think of this list of travel gifts for toddlers? Do you have favorites that I missed? I love it when readers comment! Let me know what other things you would suggest.

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Flying with Toddlers

flying with toddlers

flying with toddlers

The Best of: Flying With Toddlers

Flying with toddlers can be fun, but age 1-3 is probably the most challenging age to deal with then traveling. Since toddlers are less able to express themselves than older children, they can get easily frustrated and act out. Toddlers have an unbelievable amount of energy and hate sitting still, so keeping them occupied and happy in flight takes some effort. But don’t fear! You can do it! My children are really active. When  my husband and I describe the activity level of our kids, people respond with, “Yeah, yeah, kids are busy!” Then they meet our kids, and as the kids run around like Tasmanian Devils, our friends say, “Oh! Now we see what you mean!” And yet, I’ve taken over 75 flights with them during the toddler stage, and we survived! Most of the flights I was solo with them and  I enjoyed it (most of the time)! So in this post I’ve collected all I’ve written to date about flying with toddlers in hopes that my tips will help you when flying with toddlers. I’ll update and add to this post as I write more about flying with toddlers. Pin or bookmark this post now for reference!

Preparing Your Child for First Flight

flying with toddlers

Quick Tips for the First Time Flier

Getting Through Security

Pro Tips for Long-Haul Flights with Toddlers

Packing-Carry On

Packing for Onboard the Plane: Toddlers

Things to Pack for a Stuffy Nose/Cold

Busy Bag Ideas

5 Items to Entertain Your Toddler

Toy Using Galley Supplies

Car Seat

flying with toddlers

How to Get Your Child to Buckle Up

Car Seat Safety

Car Seat Transport Tool

Passing Time

Waiting to Board Your Flight: What to Do

7 Tips for Flight Delays With Kids

Ways to Keep Your Child Safe

Backpack Harness: Useful or Mean?

How to Keep Your Child Who Runs Away Safe

Prevent Losing Your Kids in Crowds

Sleeping

Aerobed for Kids Review

Tips from Sleep Expert

Products that Help

Routines vs. Schedules

Food

Breastfeeding on a Plane

Milk Options

Food on the Plane: What Can I Bring?

Fun Travel Food Ideas

French Toast Muffins

Behavior

Addressing Toddler Tantrums on the Plane

Tips for Flying with a Sensory Sensitive Child

Reduce Anxiety for Your Sensitive Child

flying with toddlers

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Best Travel Gift Ideas for Infants

travel gift ideas for infants

Here are some of the best travel gift ideas for infants I can recommend. From clothes to toys to equipment, they’re all things that will make family travel more pleasant.

(Amazon Affiliate links are used in this post for your shopping convenience. When you make a purchase through these links I may receive a small commission which goes toward the operation of this website. I appreciate your support!)

20 Travel Gift Ideas for Infants

1) Sleep Hat $12.99

travel gift ideas for infants
If your infant tolerates hats, this is the best! Once the baby falls asleep just fold down the flap over their eyes! I had this for my son, John, who was colicky and wouldn’t sleep during the day, and he actually slept (while being held) at a birthday party! This will keep you from cursing the flight attendants when they turn the lights up before landing.

2) Go-Go Babyz TravelMate Deluxe Cruiser $189.99
travel gift ideas for infants

Turn your infant carrier into a stroller! This Deluxe Cruiser can also grow with your child: when you add the adapter kit it can be used with a convertible car seat! Read my review of this here.

3) Lamaze Clip & Go Flutterbug $9.41 (from $15.99)

travel gift ideas for infants

Infants don’t need too much for entertainment, but they can get bored. Bring a few small toys for them. Something to keep in mind: avoid noise makers. Consider the passengers around you and don’t bring electronic toys or squeaking toys.

4) Soft Cover Book $14.97
travel gift ideas for infants

Even infants enjoy a good book! But don’t add to the weight of your bag with board books, just pack one soft cover book for reading to your infant.

5) Soft Cover Photo Book $13.98
travel gift ideas for infants

6) Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Musical Activity Gym $23.97 (from $32.99)
travel gift ideas for infants

If you have an infant who needs lots of stimulation, you will want to pack something for your baby to play on when you’re at your destination. For some of you, packing something like this is a little extreme, but for my first born it was necessary. She needed overhead toys/stimulation and lots of variety. It was so worth it to pack her activity gym in my checked rolling duffel bag.

7) Manhattan Toy Mobile To-Go $9.44 (from $12.00)
travel gift ideas for infants

This was another life saver with my very active infant. A clip-on mobile provided lots of great stimulation and kept her more content when we were on-the-go.

8) Bright Starts Links Accessory Toy $3.88 (Amazon Exclusive)

travel gift ideas for infants

Attach toys to your stroller or car seat so they don’t drop on the floor. Or just use these rings as toys themselves! The varied textures and colors make for interesting toys for all babies.

9) KidCo Peapod Plus Infant Travel Bed Kiwi $89.99 (Black $99.95)
travel gift ideas for infants

Small enough to fit in a rolling duffel bag, this infant travel bed gets rave reviews. It’s a pretty simple bed. If you want something more sturdy, take a look at what we used: the Bjorn Travel Crib:

10) Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light Silver or Pink $209.99, Black $227.99 (from $299.95)

travel gift ideas for infants

I was so happy using this travel crib for my son. I used it for him from age 1-3.5. We even used it for him daily for six months while living with in-laws as we were waiting to buy our house. He was very comfortable in it! Set up is easy and only takes about a minute, which is so nice after a long travel day.

11) Yummy Mitt Teething Mitten $19.99

travel gift ideas for infants

Another clever invention! You don’t have to worry about this dropping on the airplane floor.

 

Click here for How to Pack Your Carry On for Infants

 

12) Elesa Miracle Baby Leg Warmers $17.99 (from $29.99)

travel gift ideas for infants

These leg warmers are great to have on hand for warmth. They can be used on arms or legs, and slide easily on and off, even if your baby is strapped in the car seat. We had these and my daughter used them up to age 6 on her arms!

13) Robeez Little Peanut Crib Shoe $19.46 (from 25.00)

travel gift ideas for infants

These little crib shoes stay on! If you’re tired of shoes or socks falling off, these are the solution. It’s all I used for my daughter until she was walking.

14) Trumpette Baby Sock Set $24.99 (assorted styles available from $17.55)

travel gift ideas for infants

So many infant socks slide right off, but these Trumpette socks stay put. They have lots of cute styles that mimic shoes. Cute and cozy!

15) aden + anais Muslin Dream Blanket $49.99

Save $10 on the “Liam The Brave” style only $39.95

travel gifts for infants

This is the most versatile baby blanket I have used. It can be used for swaddling, warmth, a nursing cover, and a car seat cover. I would even pack two for my flight.

16) Go-Go Babyz Sidekick Diaper Bag $59.77

travel gift ideas for infants

I loved this diaper bag when traveling with my infant son! The front flap unzips and turns the bag into a baby carrier! It’s so convenient when flying! You can read my review of the Sidekick Diaper Bag/Baby Carrier here.

*Note: this does not offer enough support for a newborn. Your child should be in the sitting stage to use this as a baby carrier.

17) Oxo On-the-Go Drying Rack $14.99

travel gift ideas for infants

If you’re traveling with bottles, this little brush and drying rack is perfect!

18) Boon Squirt Silicone Baby Food Dispensing Spoon $6.40 (from $9.99)

travel gift ideas for infants

You can put the baby food in this holder and squeeze on bite at a time into the spoon. I used it for both my kids and it was so convenient!

19) NurturMe NurturMeals, Dried Organic Food Pouches 5 count-from $5.94-$15.27 ($2.50 coupon on Amazon)

travel gift ideas for infants

I love these NurturMe Dried Organic Food Pouches! Packing these instead of purees allows you to not have to worry about TSA liquid restrictions. They are also lighter to pack. Right now on Amazon there is a $2.50 coupon for your first order of NurturMe. You can read my review of NurtureMe Food Pouches here.

20) Blowout Blocker

travel gift ideas for infants

This is a genius invention! Blowouts never happen at a convenient time, and it seems to me that the airplane cabin pressure might increase the chance of this occurring. I used this for my son when he was an infant and it worked just as intended.

travel gift ideas for infants

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One Day Only! Amazon Prime Sale $79!

amazon prime sale

Amazon Prime Sale From $99 to $79 (One Day Only)

Great Amazon Prime sale! For one day only, you can become an Amazon Prime member for just $79 (20% savings on their regular $99 price).  We use Amazon Prime regularly for the great prices and convenience. Most items include free 2-day shipping for Prime Members!

(This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase through these links I may receive a small commission which aids in the operation of this site. Thank you for your support!)

Ways to use Amazon Prime for travel:

  • Order supplies (diapers, toddler snacks, etc.) to ship directly to your destination.
  • Receive last minute items you forgot to buy in time for your trip.
  • Shop and compare travel items from the comfort of your home.
  • Use Amazon Video to download free TV shows and movies before your flight.
  • Use Amazon Photo Storage for unlimited free photo storage (and limited video) to organize and back up your travel pictures.

Check out all the benefits of Amazon Prime Membership here: Amazon Prime Benefits.

The $79 sale is for one day only, November 18, 2016. It is for new members only. Amazon Prime Sale starts on 11/18 at 12am Eastern time and ends at 3am Eastern 11/19.  Bookmark this page for easy access to the deal and click here to get the deal.

 

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How to Prevent Losing Your Kids in Crowds

prevent losing your kids in crowds

As parents, our job is to keep our children safe. When traveling, that job doesn’t change, but the surroundings and dangers are different from at home. Here are ideas for ways to prevent losing your kids in crowds. Even the most compliant children could get separated in a crowd, so you need to have a plan to make sure your child is safe. (Every Tuesday I post new travel tips on this site. Be sure to check back each week for a new tip! Subscribe to our emails to be notified of new posts.) Looking for specific tips? Comment below or on our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), and I’ll write a blog post just for you!

Prevent Losing Your Kids in Crowds

Develop a Plan

Most children, when they get separated from their parents, naturally tend to run around looking for them. Once in the grocery store, my daughter thought she lost me but was only about 5 feet away. I watched her panic and start to run down the aisle (of course she was running away from where I was standing). I called her name and was quickly reunited, but you can see how it can be dangerous if the child follows their instinct to run looking for you. They are more likely to become lost!

I tell my children that if they get separated from me, they should sit down right where they are and then yell for me. This will aid me in finding them and keep them safe from becoming even more lost. We practice this any time we are in a retail store that doesn’t have many customers. I walk around the corner and they pretend to be lost, then sit on the floor and call for me. I started this practice when they were about 2, so that it would become an instinctual response. (I must give credit where it’s due: I first heard this idea from my sister-in-law, who did this with her kids.)

If your children are older they may be able to safely find a prearranged meeting spot if you get separated. Be sure to talk about where that might be as soon as you enter a crowded venue.

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I may receive a small commission when you make a purchase through these links. I appreciate your support!

Wear ID

prevent losing your kids in crowds

Make sure that your child has your name and phone number on them in one way or another. I have bracelets made that include the child’s name, my name and phone number, and my husband’s name and phone number. The following are a few ideas for wearable ID:

1. Road ID: My daughter used to wear this all the time. Her dad wears a Road ID every time he goes for a bicycle ride, and she wanted to be like him.  If your child often runs away from you this is the form of ID I would recommend.  You can buy the original ID or Interactive. The Interactive feature includes Emergency Response support. For $9.99/year (first year free), your ID lists a website where emergency personnel can find your emergency contacts and medical information. Again, if your child runs away a lot, this is a really good option! SmartKidsID has a similar bracelet, with an app to store information that can be shared with emergency personnel.

2. Paper Bracelets: I ordered a set of these paper ID bracelets and they’re great for keeping in your travel bag. Put one on anytime you’re headed out into a crowd and then just cut it off at the end of the day. If your child is not fond of wearing the bracelet on the wrist, you could put it around an ankle or belt loop.

3. Sharpie: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to help keep your child safe. If you don’t have ID bracelets you could just use a Sharpie Permanent Marker to write your name and phone number on their body. I would recommend writing on their stomach for a place that’s out of sight but easy to remember.

4. Dog Tags: Another option would be to have a necklace made with your information on it. You could order something like these dog tags. If you have family in the military, then your child might be excited to be like them.

prevent losing your kids in crowds

Stick Together

Easier said than done, right? My nearly four year old son thinks it is so funny to run away when I yell “STOP!” From ages 1.5-3.5 I always regretted it when I didn’t use the Backpack Harness. He just couldn’t control his impulse to run. Here are four things that have worked (at times) to keep my kids near me in busy places:

    1.  Quack Like a Duck: A pilot told me he did this with his kids when they traveled through airports: Play a game where the adult is the Mama Duck and the kids are the ducklings. Have the kids follow you and quack at regular intervals so you know they are near. This is a great way to sneak in a lesson on nature and animal behavior.
    2. Backpack Harness: As mentioned above, the backpack harness is a great way to keep your young children close and safe. If you are afraid of being judged by others for “leashing” your child, don’t be. I took an unofficial Facebook survey and found that only a tiny percentage of the general population frowns on these harnesses and most people understand that it can be a life-saving device as it keeps your children near you and out of harm’s way. Read this post to see how I almost lost my son as he ran up the jet bridge and into the airport terminal before I could catch him. You can tolerate a few judgmental stares when you know you’re doing what’s best for your child’s safety.
    3.  Push the Cart: If your children don’t want to hold hands or you don’t have a free hand to hold theirs, put them to work! Have your child help push the cart, suitcase, or stroller. You might have to move more slowly, but if it prevents having to take off in a mad dash to catch the little runaway, it will save you time in the long run. As a bonus, pushing weight is a great form of “heavy work”, which helps to calm your child as it helps regulate sensory input. (Read this post for other ideas on ways to incorporate calming activities in your travel day.)
    4.  Stop and Go: This worked for my daughter, but not my son. When she was a toddler, we went to an open park and practiced “stop and go”. I would call out, “Go!” while also using the sign (American Sign Language) for “go”. I let her run a little while then called out, “STOP!” while using the sign for “stop”. I got in front of her, signing right in front of her body so she would have that visual along with my vocal commands. We played this game several times a week and after a few weeks she automatically responded when I called out “stop”.

Plan for Trains/Buses/Elevators

prevent losing your kids in crowds

Art Tiles at Penn Station, NYC

Train and bus doors close quickly, and much of the time they don’t reopen like an elevator door would if you put your arm or bag out to stop them from closing. When I was 8 months pregnant with my son, I was in New York City with some friends. The subway train was packed and we were squished into the middle of the car. When we got to our stop, it was difficult to get off the train because of the crowd. By the time I got to the doors, they were closing. I tried to quickly jump out when the doors closed right on my pregnant belly! Luckily I put my arm up between my stomach and the door, so I could keep the door from squashing my baby. But I couldn’t get in or out of the train! There were several moments of panic when a man finally jumped up and pried the doors open and I jumped out before the train started to move.

3 Things to Review

  1. Map out your stop. Before traveling by bus or train with your kids, look at a map with them. Show them where you are and where you are going. If you can get a paper map, highlight the route and give them a copy to carry with them.
  2. Tell your child to wait where they are if they get off the train/bus and you don’t. Teach them the same for elevators. It will be quicker and safer for you to back track to get to them then for them to try to find you.
  3. Instruct your child to get off at the next stop if they miss your stop and are separated from you. You’ll then know where they are waiting and can take the next train/bus/elevator, or even a cab to get to them.

Do you have anything to add? Something unique that you do to prevent losing your kids in crowds? Share in the comments below! Your tip may come to the rescue of other readers!

prevent losing your kids in crowds

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5 Steps to Take Before Flying With Kids

5 steps flying with kids

Flying with kids is great because you get to view the world through their eyes. They get excited about things you’ve taken for granted, and they give you a fresh outlook on the world. But flying with kids can be stressful and challenging, and it does require a little more planning. Here are 5 steps to take before flying with kids that will help you be more prepared and better able to enjoy the ride. Be sure to check the website every Tuesday when I share a new travel tip. Have a question about flying or family travel? I’d love to help! Ask in the comments below or on my social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

1) Select Seats

Many people think that since they booked tickets together, they will get seats together. This does not automatically happen. When you book your tickets, be sure to select seats. If there are not seats available together, follow these steps to get seated together for your flight. If your family is booked on separate reservations (maybe one is using miles and the others paying), you can call reservations to have them link your reservations. This way the agents at the airport will know that you’re traveling together.

2) Install Helpful Apps

Little Peanut on the Go

5 steps before flying with kidsThis little app helps so much in planning and sharing lists. Instead of  hand-writing all the to-lists, emergency information, and caregiver instructions, just enter the information in this app. You can share the lists with others and it’s easy to update as schedules or needs change. This app will save you time and will help ensure any caretakers helping you have the information they need to properly care for your children and pets.

Flying With Kids

5 steps before flying with kids

 

If you’re new to flying with kids, you’ll love this app. Easy to navigate, this app shares a pre-flight checklist, tips for in-flight, soothing music to help calm your sleeping child, and fun videos to help distract a restless child. Ideal for parents with babies who are new to flying. Read more about this app here.

Airport App

5 steps before flying with kids

Check the app store to see if the airports you are flying in and out of have apps. These can be useful for mapping out play areas, the best food choices, and other useful amenities, like travel lounges (especially useful if you experience a lengthy delay) and nursing rooms.

Lyft and Uber App

5 steps before flying with kids

Ride share programs have taken off and many times it is easier with family to get a Lyft or Uber Ride. By downloading these apps in advance you will have them available when you need them. If your children are still using car seats and boosters, be sure to plan to bring them for the ride, as the drivers won’t usually have these available. To make car seats more transportable, try using Go-Go Babyz TravelMate to transform your car seat into a stroller. For booster seats, check out the mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat or the BubbleBum Inflatable Booster Seat. To learn more about the Lyft program and to get a sign-up credit of $50, check out this guest post, Memoirs of a Lyft Driver- Part One.

3) Create Packing List

As mentioned above, the Little Peanut on-the-Go app is a great place to create your packing list. I’m more of a pen-and-paper kind of girl when it comes to making lists, though. However you make your list, start it early so you can jot down ideas as they come into your head. Think about your destination and whether or not you will have the opportunity to buy supplies like diapers and kid-friendly food there. Consider ordering items to be shipped to your destination rather than packing them. Grocery store delivery services might even be an option. It’s a fine balance to pack essentials but not bring more than you need. But creating a list helps you determine what items are important for you to bring and what items you can get at your destination.

4) Think About Car Seats

If you have children in car seats, will you bring the car seat on the plane or check it? Will you need the car seat at your destination? For my family we have always traveled with the car seat since we need it to get to and from the airport both at home and at our destination. Once in a booster seat we have been able to sometimes leave it behind when family members picked us up from the airport with a spare booster seat. If you are bringing your car seat but not planning to use it on the airplane, there is no need to lug it through the airport to the plane! Airlines will check it for free as an “assistive device”. A travel bag is recommended for protection. I always forget to bring one and one time my car seat was soaked when it was returned to me on a rainy day!

If you want to use the car seat on the airplane

  1. Check to be sure your car seat is FAA approved. There will be a sticker on the side of the car seat that says it’s approved, and you might need to show this to flight crew if it’s requested of you.
  2. Check with the airline to determine the aircraft seat dimensions then verify your car seat will fit in the seats.
  3. Plan a way to get the car seat to the plane. My preferred method is the GoGo Babyz TravelMate Wheels, but you could also use a luggage cart or a car seat backpack.
  4. Request early boarding in order to get the car seat installed.
  5. Know that per the FAA, car seats must be placed in the window seat, or not between a passenger and the aisle.

5) Make Sleeping Arrangements

Whether you’re staying in a hotel, renting an apartment, or staying with relatives at their house, you need to consider where your child will be sleeping.  It’s not so  much of an issue for older children: a sleeping bag on the ground would even suffice. But for babies and toddlers, who are more sensitive to their sleep environment, finding a safe and comfortable bed is important. When my oldest was a baby I used a pack ‘n’ play. It was a hassle to travel with and wasn’t very comfortable. She didn’t sleep well in the first place and getting her to sleep in the pack ‘n’ play was a huge struggle. For my second born I purchased the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib, and it was great! It sets up in less than a minute and is very comfortable. Since the mattress rests on the floor, there are no support bars poking into baby’s back like on the pack ‘n’ play. We used this travel crib until my son was 3.5! Even though he really was too big for it, he loved sleeping tucked against the side, so it didn’t bother him that he couldn’t stretch out.

If you need an extra place to sleep for a toddler or preschooler, this AeroBed for Kids is my top choice. We used this from age 3-7 for my daughter. Having a consistent travel bed helped her sleep since she didn’t have to adapt to a new sleep setting each place we traveled. This mattress is comfortable enough for me to sleep in!

5 steps before flying with kids

When you’re traveling with kids it can be easy to feel overwhelmed, but don’t panic! When you take these 5 steps before flying with kids your trip will go much better and you will have time to enjoy the new outlook through your kids’ eyes. Comment below if you find this this post useful! And share with your friends—I could use some encouragement to know I’m reaching some people. <3

5 steps before flying with kids

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Overhead Bins: Assist Mechanism

assist mechanism

[[Video]]: 737 Bins Assist Mechanism

Did you know that some Boeing overhead bins have an assist mechanism? As a flight attendant who shuts hundreds of overhead bins each flight, I couldn’t believe I didn’t know about this until last year! I had been shoving the entire weight of the full overhead bins when there was an easier way! Luckily I flew with someone who noticed I wasn’t taking advantage of this great assist mechanism and he told me about it. I made this video to share with you and with other flight attendants who may have missed the memo, as I did.

I got mostly positive feedback from my video, from both flight crew and passengers who had not been aware of this assist mechanism. A few colleagues kind of made fun of me, “Yeah, we knew that already,” and “Yes, I knew this—I read the memo when it came out.” Oh well, you can’t make everyone happy. I figured that since this was something I had somehow missed I probably wasn’t the only one. Comment below if you knew about this assist mechanism or not. Next time you’re on a plane that has this, give it a test. See how much difference it makes when you flip the switch vs. not using the assist. Tell us what you think!

(This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. When you use these links I may receive a small commission which goes toward the operation of this site. Thank you for your support!)

Travel Tip: Luggage

assist mechanism
On topic overhead bins, be careful when you purchase luggage that claims to meet airline sizing restrictions. Sometimes the wheels protrude beyond the approved measurements or the luggage expands to a depth that won’t fit in overhead bins. I advise bringing a measuring tape if you are shopping in person for luggage. And remember that different airlines have different bag size restrictions. Also different aircraft have different sized overhead bins, so the excuse, “It fit on my last flight” doesn’t always fly. When I’m traveling with my kids (who are still young: age 8 and 3), I find it easiest to pack my things along with the kids’ in a rolling duffel bag and I check that bag. Then for onboard I pack a backpack and tote bag for me, my 8yo carries a rolling backpack, and my 3yo carries a mini rolling backpack. Everything fits under the seats (my tote bag fits alongside the mini backpack). Then I don’t have to worry about overhead bin space at all.

One cool thing in larger, more modern Boeing aircraft is the newer Space Bins, which hold 50% more bags but the way they are designed, the weight loads toward the bottom of the bin and doesn’t require any assist mechanism! I haven’t flown yet on a plane that has these, have you?

assist mechanism

photo credit: Jason Redd

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5 Pro Tips for Long Haul Flights with Toddlers

long haul flights with toddlers

Planning For Long Haul Flights With Toddlers

A reader recently asked for tips for flying long haul flights with toddlers. So far the longest flight I’ve been on with my kids was scheduled 6 hours, becoming 10 hours long with delays and diversions. I reached out to some of other great family travel bloggers and they shared with me some of their best tips for flying long haul flights with toddler.  These are great tips to follow even if you are on shorter flights with toddlers. Comment below if you have any tips to add! I’d also love to hear which tips help you the most, so come back and comment after your flight!

Although toddlers usually require more attention in flight than older kids, you can still have a fun time traveling with them. Be as prepared as you can, slow down and enjoy the things they find joy in, and don’t stress when schedules are interrupted. When your toddler gets fussy, just focus on meeting his needs and remember we all get a bit fussy when tired/hungry/hot/cold/irritated. One of the best ways to help your child calm down when irritated is to show empathy. “I understand” are such useful words.

long haul flights with toddlers

1) Create a Routine

Kid World Citizen shares how they followed a routine to get through the flight: “This is what our 13+ hour flight looked like with a 3 year old: snack, walk to potty, read books; snack, walk to potty, put stickers in in-flight magazine, color; snack, walk to potty, play dough, play peekaboo with neighbors; snack, walk to potty, beg Vivi to snuggle and rest for a bit (to no avail).” Read here about their 13 hour flight from the US to China.

2) Learn From Experience

One of the best resources I’ve found for travel tips is the book The Travel Mama’s Guide. This book gives so many great travel tips, including an entire chapter about flying with kids. Even though I have lots of experience with flying with kids I still found a few great tips in this book. Packing lists, entertainment ideas, snack ideas and humorous stories are all included in the chapter on flying. The rest of the book gives tips for all kinds of travel, from road trips to camping, hotels to hostels. It’s time for me to read this book again! There’s so much great information for all types of travel!

3) Find Space

When booking your tickets, select seats that will offer you a little wiggle room. Bulkhead seats might work well for your child to play on the floor in front of the seats. A grouping of middle seats for your family might work out, especially if the flight doesn’t end up being full and you get lucky with a seat or two empty next to you. Travel With Bender, in this blog post of 10 Tips for Perfect Flight with Kids shares these recommendations about finding space on your flight:

“When you travel with a baby the bulkhead seats are a lifesaver. Not only does it offer more legroom, which is great for a crawling baby, but often comes with a bassinet for sleep time.

With older children, attempt to gain extra seats at the back of the plane after take-off. There won’t be more legroom, but there are often spare seats to spread out on and catch a few z’s.”

4) Consider Your Child’s Temperament

long haul flights with toddlers

When traveling with your child, it will help everyone function better if you consider your child’s temperament. Plan activities and distractions to meet your child’s needs. Shelly Rivoli’s Travels with Baby has a blog series on temperament. Read these to determine your child’s nature and find ways to travel well with them. Positive, Negative, High-Sensitive, Low-Sensitive, Intense, Mellow, Slow-Adapting,….What type of child do you have?

5) Pack Essentials

Be sure you pack everything in your carry on bag that you might potentially need for the next three days. That way if your checked bags don’t make it there with you, you will have what you need until you either get your bag or can get to a store. Diapers and wipes, snacks, thermometer, fever-reducing medicine, several changes of clothes (for everyone in the family) are examples of the things you need to be thinking about when packing your carry-on bag. Click here to read a more detailed list of what I pack in my carry-on when flying with toddlers.

Do you have tips to add for flying long-haul flights with toddlers? We’d love to hear them! Comment below to help other readers as they plan for their flights.

long haul flights with toddlers

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Memoirs of a Lyft Driver- Part One (guest blogger Becca Davis)

lyft

Have you ever thought of becoming a Lyft Driver? My sister, Becca Davis, has been thinking about it for a while and decided to give it a try in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Here is some useful information about becoming a driver for a ride share company and some of her stories from her rides.

If you like this post and would like to hear more memoirs of a Lyft Driver, be sure to leave a comment below! If we get enough positive response we will add a section to this website. Be sure to check back next week for part two of Memoirs of a Lyft Driver. –Beth Henry, Cloud Surfing Kids

: Memoirs of a Lyft Driver: by Becca Davis*

I’m always looking for ways to stay busy and make some extra cash, so I decided to try out being a driver for Lyft during the early morning, evenings & weekends. Here are some things that I didn’t know and think you might be interested in. Also, I’ll tell you what some of my passengers are like, to thrill anyone curious. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for discount and reward links if you want to become a Lyft passenger or Lyft or Uber driver. 

Lyft vs. Uber

Most of my Lyft passengers tell me that they’ve tried Uber and prefer Lyft because it feels safer and they enjoy the experience more. Lyft does a national background check on all of its drivers. Uber only does a state background check. Unlike Uber, Lyft gives the opportunity to tip through the app, so drivers will have no cash on hand, which seems safer to me. Both Lyft and Uber take 25% of the trip charge, the driver get the rest and gets to keep 100% of their tips. The trip rate is calculated by miles and time but most trips come out to be about $1/mile. Both companies have opportunities to rent cars if you don’t have your own or if you don’t want to put the wear and tear on your car, or my biggest fear – have your car vomited in. Both companies have great referral incentives for the passenger and the driver. If you’re downloading either app for the first time, make sure to find a promo code. I will gift you discount codes in links at the bottom of this article.

lyft driver

Airport rides are my favorite and safest! So, I’ll start my passenger summary with my favorite ride.

Passenger 1: Airport

I picked up a man from work and found out we were headed to the airport. He was on his way to Nebraska with his fiancé to plan their wedding. I shared parts of my wedding and honeymoon that I loved or regretted as he asked for my advice and told me what their plans were so far. They plan to get married this time next year so they’re way ahead of me, as I only took 6 months to plan my wedding. He was so nice and easy to talk to; it was like giving a friend a ride to the airport. He gave me a $5 tip. Smile

Good to Know: The rider gets charged for the airport toll through the app and the app reimburses me.

Travel Tip: Make sure you have a plan for safe seating if you’re bringing a child. Drivers most likely will not have a booster or car seat and you are required to follow State laws regarding car seats.

lyft driver

Don’t worry, I was parked!

Most of my rides are very comfortable. I’ve met a lot of really nice people and it’s been fun to get to know them a little bit. I’ve picked up students from school to take them home, picked up people from work and dropped others off at work. I’ve picked up a man in a wheelchair, which disassembled and fit perfectly in my trunk. I’ve taken a father and daughter to an Oktoberfest and I took a couple to the State Fair of Texas for a concert. Unfortunately, I’ve also encountered a sketchy ride.

Passenger 2: Sketchy Ride

I knew I shouldn’t have accepted the ride because it was about 15 minutes away. I usually try to accept rides 7 minutes away or less. Driving to their pickup location is on the driver’s dime, so you don’t want to drive far just to start the trip. The passengers smelled like marijuana, they asked me for a bigger discount because they didn’t have much money, they asked to smoke in my car, they said they were so desperately needing this ride to “drop off a friend’s wallet”, the destination was in a bad part of town – just a few red flags warning me about how this would turn out. They changed the location to farther than originally planned during the drive, and then asked me to take them back home after their transaction. I quickly learned this was probably some type of drug deal. Again, being too nice, I waited for over 20 minutes at the destination (a gas station) for the guy to return to the car. He never did and I finally told the girl to get out of my car, the trip was over. I did make sure that she found him. He wasn’t happy that I was leaving without them, but my heart was racing the whole time I was waiting and it took me that long to finally stand up for myself and leave the unsafe situation.

You never know who you’ll get when you arrive to the pickup. You also don’t know where the final destination is until the passengers are in your car. This is what I don’t like about driving for a ride share app. I learned a lot from that last ride. Now I know can put my foot down and kick people out of my car if I don’t have a good feeling about it. I have decided not to drive after about 8pm. I have also decided to try to do most of my work at airports. Drivers need an extra permit to  pick up at DFW and Love Field airports, and I will be working towards attaining one. Drivers do not need a permit to drop off at the airport, but you never know if a ride will be headed towards the airport.

Good to Know:  Sometimes a driver can’t find the passenger and needs to call them or a passenger is taking longer to get ready and need to text the driver to wait. The app encrypts both phone numbers, so no contact can be made after the ride.

Travel Tip: Remember to check for discount codes out there for Lyft. Discounts vary by city. Try searching Google or Instagram to find the discounts.

(Disclaimer: links will give you a discount as well as give the author, Becca Davis, a bonus. Cloud Surfing Kids founder, Beth Henry, is not being paid for this post and makes no profit from the links in this post.)

Discounts

If you are using lyft for the first time, you can get $50 toward your next rides by using this link.

lyft

 

Interested in becoming a Lyft Driver? Click the photo below and receive a $100 bonus after giving 50 rides within 30 days!

lyft

If you think you’d make the Uber world better by being a driver, you can use this link:

expirestomorrow (3)

Thanks for reading! Comment with any questions you have about Lyft or Uber, either for riding as a passenger or as a driver. We’ll do our best to answer your questions. If you enjoyed reading Memoirs of a Lyft Driver, we would love it if you comment and/or share this post. If we get a good response we will continue to post stories of Becca’s Lyft driving experiences.

 

lyft

*Becca Davis lives near Fort Worth with her husband and adorable little puppy, Leo. When she’s not driving for Lyft, she keeps busy with her job at Samsung, working out in the gym, working at Cheerful Heart Gifts & Boutique in Glen Rose, walking her dog, and playing with nieces and nephews, and taking Hip Hop dance classes. In her “spare” time Winking smile she shares videos on YouTube to help others with busy lives find ways to eat well and stay fit. You can follow her adventures on Instagram.

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Aviation Costume Ideas

aviation costume

Halloween Aviation Costumes

Does your child love aviation? Are you still trying to come up with a Halloween costume? Here are a few ideas for aviation costumes that you can get in time for Halloween! The first one is a DIY costume: a flight attendant! All you need is a white shirt, dark skirt or pants, and the all-important red scarf! If you have a set of the wings the kids sometimes get on flights, add those. If you need wings pins, you can get them here. Or maybe you know a flight attendant who lives nearby who would loan you their wings.

One of my good friends, a former flight attendant, put together this simple and adorable flight attendant costume for her daughter a few years ago. Isn’t she the cutest?!

Aviation Costume

Cute as a button, Carys shows off her DIY Flight Attendant Fashion.

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can get these costumes in just two days with free shipping! (If you’re not a Prime member, now is a good time to take advantage of their free 30 day trial. With the holidays coming up there’s no better time to start saving on shipping costs!)

(The links below are affiliate links. When you make a purchase through these links I may receive a small commission which goes toward the operation of this website. Thank you for your support!)

Deluxe Children’s Pilot’s Costume

Here’s a nice looking pilot! This costume comes with a shirt (with attached tie), pants and Pilot hat.
aviation costume

TeeTot Aviator Pilot Costume Size 3-4 with Jacket, Pant, Helmet, and Airplane Goggles

I love this look! What a great aviation costume.
aviation costume

Amelia The Aviator Costume for Kids

This is so cute! I’m going to try to convince my daughter, Ella to try this costume next year.
aviation costume

Flight Attendant Costume Set

The costume Carys is wearing in the first photo in this post is cuter, but this flight attendant costume is a great alternative if you don’t have the right clothes on hand for a DIY costume. At just $23.95 (limited sizes) this is a good deal.
aviation costume

Sealike Pilot Aviator Fleece Cap with Earmuffs

Get this aviator hat for either boys or girls, add a bomber jacket, and you’re good to go! This would be a warm and comfortable costume. Great for kids who don’t like masks or disguises.
aviation costume

Maybe your girl wants to be a pilot or your boy wants to be a flight attendant. No problem! Girls: wear a flight attendant uniform and add a pilot hat. Boys: the best way to do a flight attendant costume is don a white dress shirt and dark pants and add a wings pin. Rolling suitcase optional.

aviation costume

Will you or have you ever worn an aviation costume for Halloween? We’d love to see pictures! Share on our Facebook wall or tag us on Twitter or Instagram! Tell us in the comments what you’re dressing up as this year. My daughter, Ella (age 8) is going to be a cat and my son, John (age 3) is going to be a mouse.

Aviation Costume

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