Tomorrow the kids and I are headed to the Caribbean for spring break. Some people think I am crazy to travel solo with two toddlers, and half the time I question my sanity as well. Thankfully I’ve had a lot of practice going back and forth from Tokyo to the states and finally have a system down. I wish I could lie and say, “Flying with kids is so much fun, don’t worry, everything will be awesome!”, but I’d be a psychopath to speak such nonsense. I’ve had 45 minute screaming fits, I almost asked if an exorcist was on flight, I’ve dealt with blowouts, barfing, pee pants and the worst, a dry flight! SALT IN THE WOUND. Then I’ve had seamless, angelic flights and watched movies. In my experience, each flight is a complete crapshoot and you run the risk of a World War 3 tantrum. You win some, you lose some, but each time I learn and now I don’t step on a plane without enough ammo to win the war.
I thought I’d share my carry on checklist, as well as some other simple tips that make it a little easier flying alone with the kiddos. It’s not all thaaaaat bad. 🙂
I always choose a large tote as my carry on. It doubles as a beach/pool bag on vacation and roomy enough to store all the goodies. Within the tote I organize everything into separate small bags. I just recycle free bags from fashion shows, make-up purchases, cosmetic bags or Hefty storage bags.
These are the basics that I keep in MY carry on. Each kid brings along a small backpack with 1-2 (ONLY) of their favorite figurines, doll or craft.
I do my best to travel as LIGHT as possible. I have learned my lesson with this and now we only travel with one suitcase. Three of us in one suitcase! I use Hefty bags to separate the kids clothes, pack in the same color palettes to mix and match and roll everything up to make the most space possible.
Talk About the Trip
As soon as I book a trip, I start building the excitement up for the kids. We mark the calendar, count down the days and talk about the AIRPLANE ride! My daughter (4 yrs old), has been “packing” for the trip for the past few weeks. We talk about the flight, appropriate behavior and how she can help me if younger brother has a melt down.
To me, this is the most important factor when traveling by yourself with kids. Keeping everything organized, in bags and easily accessible is key. It sets the tone for the trip, eliminating unnecessary chaos and panic.
I hope this was helpful for any Mama or Papa flying solo with the little ones! Feel free to share with someone you know and I am happy to chat about my past experiences with anyone who needs additional tips or just a person to tell them they aren’t crazy :).