Last Updated on December 1, 2014 by Jody Halsted
Flying with kids can send even the most laid back parent into fits of worry. Beyond the worries about safety (see my two favorite safety items for traveling with kids) and worrying about boredom on the plane (see my 5 great non-electronic travel toys article) you also have to think about getting through the airport, keeping everything together and keeping your kids comfortable.
I may not have all the answers, but I do have a few flight favorites when I travel with my kids.
My daughter thinks turbulence is fun, like little bumps in a road. Fortunately we have never hit really bad turbulence (and I pray we never do); the kind that can easily pull people from their seatbelts. After my girls hit age 2 I stopped bringing their car seats onto flights and began using the CARES Aviation harness. It's very easy to use- just slip it over the back of the seat and slide the seatbelt through it- and you have a 5-point harness. My girls have never minded wearing it and it gives me added peace of mind.
I purchased my CARES Aviation Harness from Family Travel Gear. It weighs only 1 lb and fits into a small bag for easy carrying. $64.
Apparently you're not supposed to keep your items in the seat back pockets on flights- who knew? And, honestly, who hasn't forgotten something that has slipped to the nether regions of said pocket- behind the SkyMall catalog and under wadded up napkins? I adore the Trayblecloth because it not only gives you plenty of room to keep small items close at hand (it has lots of pockets!) but it also has a see-thru dry erase pocket on top for drawing and games. One additional bonus- you've got a clean surface for snacks!
The Trayblecloth slips easily over the tray table and can stay on for the entire flight. When you land just remove the Trablecloth and place it in your carry on- nothing gets left behind.
The Trayblecloth is available from Family Travel Gear. It comes with 4 mini dry erase markers and a reusable activity sheet. More free games are also available. $21.95
There is also an adult version of the Trayblecloth. $18.99 for original, $21.99 for executive.
My girls are still fascinated by airports. We used to have to practically drag them from from one terminal to another because there was just so much to see… That all changed when we got the Trunki. Trunki is a suitcase that kids can ride on- which makes getting through the airport a breeze! Of course they can also pull it or the strap can be hooked and you can carry it over your shoulder like a tote.
Trunki fits easily under airplane seats- though it does not fit in many overhead bins.
For added fun Trunki also comes in limited edition designs such as Frieda the cow, Tipu the tiger and a ladybug.
Trunki is recommended for ages 3-6 for riding (though my 2 year old had no problems) and will carry up to 110 lbs (well past age 6).
My Trunkis came from Family Travel Gear. Prices begin at $39.99 for the basic Trunki and $54.95 for the limited edition models.
If your child is too old- or too young- for a Trunki I recommend a wheeled backpack. My girls were wheeling their own carry-ons from the time they could walk. The benefits of your children handling their own carry-ons are 1) More room in your bag for your stuff, 2) learning responsibility, 3) they will gain a lot of positive admiration from people for being “so big” and “such a good traveler”!
Wheeled backpacks are available practically everywhere; Amazon has a wide variety (click packing) including Disney characters, Hello Kitty, and Spongebob beginning at $19.
Airplanes are dry places so you want to be sure you and the kids all stay well hydrated. You can't bring liquids through security but you can bring your own refillable water bottles- just stop at a water fountain and you're set for the flight!
The adorable Hello Kitty bottle at the left is from KangarooBoo. They have a wide variety of refillable bottles for kids of all ages, as well as straps to carry them easily. Prices begin at $17.99.
Amazon also has a nice selection of refillable bottles. If you don't want to bring a bottle with you I would suggest getting some sports lids that fit most water bottles- just in case the bottle you buy doesn't have one. 99¢ (Amazon.com, click eating)
Do you have a favorite product for flying with kids? I would love to hear it! Please share in the comments!
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Family Travel Gear and Amazon.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own. If you click a link I may make a tiny (tiny) amount of money.