Traveling with a Toddler: Must-Haves, Must-Dos

Everybody’s been on that flight: there’s a screaming toddler who can’t be contained or maybe the impish tot who’s sitting behind you, kicking your seat until you’re numb in the rear and your last nerve is fried. I was totally freaked about flying with Jude and being those people. Who among us hasn’t watched with semi-dread the parents and small child walking down the aisle of the plane, hoping they wouldn’t have to sit by them? I’m raising my hand right now — I was that person.

Last year when we went to Florida, he was tiny and unmobile enough to just sit happily on our laps. He was a smiling, happy watermelon, if you will. This year, I knew it would be another story. Having a direct/nonstop flight was going to help us substantially, as well as having a really good schedule in terms of time of day. We went ahead and got him his own seat because I knew there was no way I or Simon wanted to wrangle him the other time. Plus, he knows that when he sees his carseat, he is going to be strapped into it. So, we planned to haul onto the plane his massive Britax carseat.

Enter stage right: Grandmother to save the day! I owe my mom BIG TIME. She found us the most ingenious item I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know how we were going to wrangle (1) wiggly toddler, (2) La-Z-Boy size carseat, (3) wiggly toddler’s stroller, and (4) our two FAA-approved carryon bags. I was exhausted just thinking about it. So when Mom offered to order us this, I said YES YES YES! The GoGo Baby is basically a set of wheels that converts your toddler carseat into a wheeled seat, allowing us to check our stroller with our luggage, and roll Jude throughout the airport with ease.

It really saved our life. And numerous people stopped us along the way to ask us where we got it. I could be a millionaire if I had been genius enough to think this little contraption up! Genius!The other bit of priceless advice came from my doctor. She told me that when traveling with kids, bring new books and/or toys for them to see on the airplane so it really captures their attention. I went to Half-Price books the day before the flight and got some Elmo and Thomas the Train sticker books, as well as a couple of other little doodads, and he was entranced. Once again, great motherly advice to save the day!

My only gripe about our traveling experience was the lack of the pre-board. Remember how they used to offer pre-boarding for people with kids or those who needed a little extra help? Yeah. No more. That’s been kiboshed. Whoever decided to nix that obviously never had to use the pre-board. Because let me tell you, it was realllllly not fun to have to carry our La-Z-Boy-sized carseat onto the back of the plane, smacking all the rows of passengers already boarded as we passed by. Dee-lite-ful.

Traveling with kids is hard, no way around it. And I will never ever judge anyone again for having fussy kids on an airplane! It’s just flat-out difficult, but it can turn out well. Thank you, Mom, for helping us out! We love you!

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3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Lisa said,

    The car seat wheelie thing is fabulous! I do similar things when traveling for 2 days in a car with my son. It usually involves a trip to the $1 aisle at the store. I get party bags (1 for each item) and they are surprises when tensions run high during the trip.

    Loving the pictures. Makes the countdown to my vacation easier!

  2. 2

    dori said,

    i have to ge tone of those for future trips! genius!

    as far as the lack of pre-boarding…it sucks!!!! we flew at x-mas time when M was 2 months old and it was insane that with all our crap (carry ons, baby, snugride, snao n go, snugride base), you wouldn’t extend the courtesy of letting us get settled with a new born before letting everyone else on. ridiculous.

  3. 3

    Bridget said,

    The best trick that I know for traveling with kids is telling them that you could only gets seats in the sleeping section of the plane – they fall asleep immediately, especially when the person sitting next to you nods with your mom and says “Yes, this is the sleeping section!” Genius 🙂


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