5 Airport Travel Tips for Moms
How to get your family from point A to point B while staying sane.
Imagine this. You’re on the way to the airport. Your seven year old sings to herself happily. It’s a song she made up, and it would be the cutest thing ever if it wasn’t for your two year old screaming for her wand, which she keeps dropping no matter how many times you retrieve it. Oh and don’t forget about the middle child, who’s complaining about a stomach ache.
Sound familiar? Moms are rockstars, and you’re no exception, but sometimes the idea of traveling with kids is…well, daunting.
With five, hard-earned travel tips, we’re here to bring confidence back into your travels. Because you work too hard all year to miss out on vacation.
We know what you’re thinking! Vacation is a generous word for something that takes this much work. We understand. But fortunately, there are ways to make traveling with the kiddos a safe and pleasant experience.
From packing your luggage to touching down in one of our beautiful destinations, we’ll provide the need-to-know info for each step of your next trip.
Success Starts With Packing
The trick is packing what you need without a fleet of bulging baggage. Try limiting yourself to a carry-on backpack. That way, your hands are free for the children and everything is a quick zip away.
Prepare for the worst and pack extra outfits for your tots. To keep your backpack from becoming a black hole, store the clothes in one or two gallon zip-top bags. Once you’ve squeezed the air out, you won’t believe how little space they take up. Plus, you’ll have extra bags for any spills or accidents. Win win!
Put together a diaper “go bag” separate from your carry-on. Make sure it’s complete with diapers, wipes, a changing pad, and disposable baggies. When it’s time for a change, you’ll be ready without having to dig through your carry-on or personals.
On many airlines, Allegiant included, you can travel with a diaper bag at no charge. It doesn’t count as a personal item or carry-on, so there’s no reason not to.
Getting Through Security
Nothing screams stress quite like rushing through check-in and security with fussy kids. Avoid a Home Alone situation and start prepping early. If you’re flying out of Orlando Sanford Airport, arriving a solid two hours before your departure time will help mitigate stress. If you’re flying out of another airport like MCO, you may need more time.
We’ve all had to guzzle or throw out liquids when going through security. But formula, breast milk, and juice for infants or toddlers are allowed in reasonable quantities. Simply declare these liquids to a TSA officer, saying you’re carrying more than 3.4 ounces.
If an agent needs to inspect the liquids, ask him or her to first put on a clean pair of gloves. Curious to learn more? Visit the TSA site to dig deeper.
Wonder if you should bring the stroller? We see it as a helpful tool, not an extra burden. While navigating security, it can serve as storage for your carry-on and liquids before getting folded up and screened—at which point you can carry your infant through the rest of the screening process.
Beyond security, a stroller makes food purchases, restroom visits, and gate hunting much smoother. Not only does it save your energy, but everything is in one place, including your child who’s strapped in, safe, and cozy.
You can get a tag for your stroller (and car seat) at the gate and can keep it until you’re literally at the door of the plane. That’s also where you’ll pick it up after landing.
Flying With an Infant or Toddler
What to Know About Car Seats
When it comes to flying with your little one, you may be considering an airplane car seat. The FAA recommends using one, but here’s the rub. To use a car seat, you’ll need to purchase a separate seat for your infant or toddler.
Do you really need one? The FAA doesn’t require children under the age of 2 to be in a car seat. They’re allowed on your lap free of charge. And depending on how your child takes to flying, they’ll probably be happier there anyway.
If you go with the car seat, make sure it fits on the airline’s seats. Give your airline a call to check. Most car seats on the market are approved for airplane travel (look for the FAA approved sticker), but that doesn’t guarantee it will fit on every type of airplane.
We’ve all experienced the distracting power of technology. While you may limit your kids’ screen time day-to-day, there’s no time for technology like flying. It’s vacation, after all, and you deserve a little break. Download kid-friendly apps and games ahead of time so you’re ready.
Flying in a Positive Headspace
When things don’t go according to plan, stay positive! Make reservations, plan activities around naps and meals, and be flexible. Opting for Plan B isn’t settling if you have an open mindset.
Worried about a tantrum at 35,000 feet? It’s easy to feel self-conscious and anxious when your little one gets fussy in public, especially on a flight. But here are some things to keep in mind.
Many of the passengers you feel like you’re disturbing are moms and dads. The slick guy in a suit might have a baby at home. The older couple across from you might be missing their grandkids.
Take a deep breath, and think positively about the people on your flight. More often than not, they understand how you feel and are rooting for you.
Traveling With Kids on a Budget
The hardest part of flying with children is the cost. It’s hard to justify buying a seat for your three year old who still likes to sit on mommy’s lap, but if you find the right airport with affordable airlines, you won’t have to spend a fortune.
Here at Orlando Sanford International Airport, or SFB for short, we’re proud to offer lower airfare, close and economical parking, shorter security lines, nursing centers, kids programming, and more.