*Raises TALLEST wine glass* Here’s to all the mama’s out there that have taken on traveling with kids solo. . . and I’m not talking roadtrips, we are talking busy international airports, security, TSA, pat downs, hand swabs, customs, checkin kiosks, checkin humans, baggage, strollers, weight limits, meltdowns and blowouts! When you master your first flight “solo” with your cubs in tow, you just entered the mamas that fly higher club, its a thing, I totally initiated it, honestly go ahead mid flight and get yourself a bloody mary, or two you deserve it!
I gotta brag I’m totally rockin’ my Diamond Status with mamas that fly higher club, but Lord knows the tears, fecal explosions, and ear aches I’ve endured to be essentially a master traveler at airports, the Do’s and Dont’s. No mom wants to be feel the piercing eyes, of passengers screaming in their minds “Please keep moving, please god, please don’t let her seat be 15D, not beside me, not in front of me, not behind me, PLEASE GOD NOOOOO!” I’m going to lay it down for you mamas of what you need, to keep your sanity, and make your travel experience the most positive.
Top 10 Musts, the Ins & Outs When Travelling with 2 Cubs Under 2. . .By Yourself!
1) Before you even BOOK your flight, figure out where your going, for how long, what’s the weather going to be like, this is going to help you pack accordingly, and the big decision of whether your going to check your luggage, or take a carry on, book a nonstop, or choose a layover.
Natasha’s Tip (I’m a fan of checking luggage if absolutely necessary, if you have a washer and dryer where your headed take advantage of it, and just travel with a carry on. Did you know you can pack 2 weeks worth of clothes for 2 kids, and 1 adult, and a Dock-A-Tot in a carry on comfortably! I did, zip lock space bags WILL be your friend, an absolute must!)
2) Scrutinize and research the BEST airfare deal, sometimes this means using a third party for bookings like expedia etc. go ahead and put in your search bar 1 adult and 1 child, choose your flight, and checkout. Once you receive your confirmation # call the airline directly, and add your other baby as a lap infant, he/or she will be free, if this is an international flight you will pay 10% of your adult fare for your lap infant.*Remember a lap child is a child under 2 years old*
Natasha’s Tip (It is extremely imperative before your travel date that you call the airline again, to confirm you are traveling with 2 children, 1 lap child and 1 child in seat, for international flights I cannot stress enough how important this step is, many representative are not familiar, or trained in correctly coding and connecting your children to your iteniary, each child will have a ticket, if you do not have confirmation via email about your children, then they don’t exist in the system, because people don’t care that you miss your flight for their mistake, don’t care about the headache you endured to be rerouted to another airport, a different airline as well, thanks United this happened to me last week… Beyond unprofessional, horrible airline, be proactive and don’t trust an agent to do their job, this has happened to me several times, even with my due dillegience, just insist on a manger or supervisor from the get go, and give yourself plenty of time.)
3) Your airport routine should consist of car seats, a stroller, a baby wrap like an ergo baby, solly wrap etc. a backpack diaper bag, and your carry on, unfortunately with kids you can’t check in online, you have to go to the kiosk/counter to verify age, and see if your airline phone representative correctly had your children put in the system (for me this is the most stressful part of the entire travel day), if the agent didn’t enter your children correctly it’s a nightmare to fix, and ridiculously time consuming, so much so it can mean missing your flight, so give yourself plenty of time. At this point you can also go ahead and check your car seats for free, or gate check them at your terminal, whatever you choose keep one car seat for your child that’s sitting in their own seat.
Natasha’s Tip (Have birth certificates, passports or drivers license handy along with your iteniary, you want to come up to the counter calm, collected, and with the program, not frazzled, stressed, and looking for everything. Be prepared and organized. One child should be confined to the stroller, and the other strapped to your chest, your on a mission mama!)
4) If you got this far, and past the check-in stress, then your well on your way to making your flight. Upon entering security have your liquids, and laptop already out while in line, and shoes off, have your documentation, and tickets ready for the TSA agent. Be prepared and organized. Your stroller will be hand checked, your baby can stay in your wrap/ergo, you can walk, or carry your other child through the metal detector, your hands will be swabbed, then your done, go regroup your belongings and head to your gate.
Natasha’s Tip (If you eventually want to be Diamond Status on mamas that fly higher club go ahead and invest the $85 for TSA precheck you’ll keep your liquids, and laptop in your bag, your shoes on your feet, further protecting your sanity and your organization will be on point! Your children will be placed in these expedited security lines with you till they are 12, and the precheck is good for 5 years-score)
5) Once at the gate, immediately go to the gate agent and ask for a gate check tag, this will allow you to leave your stroller outside of the plane prior to take off, and allow you to retrieve it promptly after you deplane, you can also do this for your carry on depending on your flight.
Natasha’s Tip (If time allows go buy a large water bottle for your flight, and random snacks outside of what you may have already packed)
6) Hold your ground right there by your airlines priority line, you know those swanky business first class folks, right beside them, because your rockin’ your Diamond Status on mamas that fly higher club, you can just ignore that group or zone number in bold it doesn’t apply to you, because you are a professional traveler you’ll board right after them!
Natasha’s Tip (Memorize your seat number once your ticket is scanned your gonna shove that ticket deep in your pocket, lost forever with candy wrappers, and a pacifier)
7) At the end of the jetway take baby # 1 out of the stroller, a backpack leash works great in this moment if your little one can walk, fold your stroller and leave it there, the tag should be visible, leave your carry on if it’s tagged as well. Get ready to escort your tribe on the plane!
Natasha’s Tip ( You can either strap your kid into their car seat, and carry the car seat right to your row, or hold both separately on to the plane, or if you have both the car seat and carry on, place the car seat on the carryon and escort your lil one to your row, if your baby can’t walk yet, then your like Platinum Diamond Status on mamas that fly higher club I’d suggest wearing both children and carrying what you need to your seat, or if we have twins keep that one in the car seat,cursing in your mind how beyond stupid this is, and never again, this where I would bagcheck everything! and don’t forget to grab the first alcoholic drink you see while you gloriously waddle, and stride right on by first class seating.)
8) Get situated, being one of the first ones on the plane will be your save and grace. Install the car seat, pull out your tricks like the iPad, a toy a snack etc. your going to feel extremely hot, hotter then Aunt Hilda’s Gumbo, this will warrant a few choice words, just keep drinking the Bloody Mary you swiped from 2A, and ravenously apply essential oils, to in essence drug your kids so they sleep in flight, or are completely chilled.
Natasha’s Tip (Choose to wear a loose top to breast feed if doing so, or take this time to prepare a bottle so it’s ready to go.)
9) Patiently await your victim to be seated next to you, shake their hand push your call light, and get a Bloody Mary in the works for them to.
Natasha’s Tip (If your in a plane with 2 seats in a row then obviously no one will be sitting next to you, if your in a plane where there is 3 seats in a row, your most likely going to be in the middle, and your baby situated by the window, middle seat always has the most room to store belongings under the seat.
10) Take off and landing YOU MADE it! You will be asked to unfasten baby from your chest for these moments, but during flight they can remain in the wrap/ergo. Just blast the air on you, and relax the hustle is over, don’t stress have a pacifier or a DumDum lollipop ready to go for equalizing ear pressure, tending to entertaining your little one will be fairly easy. Welcome to Diamond Status on mamas that fly higher club!
Natasha’s Tip (Make sure the night before you download on your phone, tablet, or iPad your airlines app, and gogo inflight, or their recommended entertainment app most airlines offer wifi on their planes and free movies and games, also the plane may or may not have mini tv screens on the headrest or wifi. Being prepared, and proactive will at least give you a secondary option to choose from. Safe and Happy travels, you rockin’ mama!)