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Flying with kids: some do’s and mostly don’ts

We went on a flight with our kids once. Once being the operative word.

It was Christmas a couple of years ago. We flew nonstop cross country to see my family. At the time we had a newborn and an almost-toddler. I didn’t just prepare for the flight, I flippin’ OWNED that thing…or so I thought.

I will spare you most of the gory, ear-infection packed details, save these 5 tips:

1. DO pack extra outfits in your carry-on, for EACH of the travelers in your party. I thought of the kids but not myself and, thus, sat in a vomit-crusted turtleneck for the whole five hour flight.

2. DO get a Sit ‘N Stroll 5-in-1 car/plane/wheely/stroller/can’t remember the fifth thing-seat. We loved it so much it was not only the hero of our trip, we might reach out to the company to become their spokespeople. Literally, I tell everyone – even random strangers – how great that thing was. Considering having it bronzed for posterity.

3. DO take a page from our book: I wrote the following and packed it in individual Ziploc bags full of candy and earplugs and placed them on the seats of all the rows surrounding our row. People loved it. It bought us a lot of good will, so that when our kids inevitably started screaming and vomiting before we even took off, nobody rolled their eyes. At least not in front of us, anyway.


“We know what you’re probably thinking: ‘UGH! I’m sitting near babies!’ We get it. We’ve been traveling without kids our entire lives…until now. Rest assured, we’ve come prepared. That said, we can’t know how our babies will react to their first flight. So here are some ear plugs just in case. Hopefully you won’t need them. Enjoy your flight. Sincerely, Seats 3A, B and C”

4. DON’T travel during the holidays. Or if you must, pick odd dates/times, in efforts to avoid the crowds. Holiday travel is the worst: passengers are often sick and you and your kids are breathing that germy canned air.

5. DON’T go if you don’t have to. Seriously. Traveling with babies is terrible. But the good news is: they grow up! We have decided to remain land-locked for the next few years: we drive to nice in-state places, the kids nap on the drives: everybody wins. As my husband said, after our long-delayed return flight: “The next time we get on a plane, our kids better be able to fly it themselves.”

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