Fresh off our trip to California I want to share some tips about how we managed the airport, early morning and very late night flights with our 2 young toddlers (age 18 months and 3.5 years old).
This was our first time flying with both girls. We have a lot of experience flying with babies but not with 2 toddlers :) It was a learning lesson but I think we really handled every situation well, had minimal meltdowns and overall had an amazing time! The hardest part for me is realizing that some things are just out of your control (like when Southwest cancels your return non-stop flight home the day before) – and just to prepare yourself for a long day of waiting when you travel. Lots and lots of lines!
So – lets get to it! First up … our travel gear and what we packed and checked. We are PROS at this. Austin is really, I can’t take the credit!
We did NOT bring our own carseats for this trip (we have in the past) – we got a rental car in California and rented carseats for our girls. It really lightened our load.
We brought 1 lightweight umbrella stroller. We wanted something cheap we wouldn’t worry about, compact and an option for both girls to ride in. This fit the bill perfectly. We’ve had this stroller for about 2 years now – and its great (3k reviews on Amazon)! We gate check the stroller on all our flights so we have it to use around the airport.
Lillebaby carrier is a godsend! We love this and have always worn our babies in a carrier through the airport. It’s the ONLY way to do it! I wore Flora until we got out our gate and then let her free to play around – and put her back in the carrier for boarding. It works perfectly because I can wear our diaper bag backpack and have both hands free.
We used our Petunia Picklebottom Pathway Backpack Diaper bag (see what’s in it here). I love this bag for travel because you can wear it over your shoulder or as a backpack and it has so many compartments so it’s easy to keep organized!
I got the girls a ton of fun activities for the long plane rides and crammed them all into 2 mini backpacks. Piper wore hers the entire time and we carried around Flora’s mostly which was kind of annoying but I’d still pack their toys this way again because it was nice to have them when we were out and about.
We realized at the last minute our large suitcase was broken and we quickly ordered this large suitcase on Amazon. I have to say I LOVED it!! We fit SO much in it and it really worked great with our packing cubes. I packed everything for the girls and I in this suitcase!
Austin brought my Calpak suitcase which we love using.
And Piper had her JetKids BedBox to ride on/pull that also had more carry on items (toys, blankets etc.) inside.
So the carry-on breakdown:
Gate check stroller
Austin: Backpack (snacks + electronics + my wallet, sunglasses etc.)
Piper: JetKids Bedbox + mini backpack
Caitlin: Diaper bag + mini backpack
Other travel tips:
Think about your flight time strategically. I booked us on early morning flights because I hate waiting around the airport for hours – in the morning delays are less likely and I just feel everything moves quicker. Waking the girls up at 330am also meant they were really tired and the both napped on the plane. Goal accomplished!
Let your kids FREE once you get to your gate. They need to stretch those legs! My girls loved watching the airplanes take off!
Bring empty water bottles & sippy cups to fill up after you get through security!
Always think ahead and let your kids know the plan… “next we will wait to get off the plane and then we get to walk through the tunnel!” Since there is a LOT of waiting involved in a day of travel we tried to set Piper up for success, and snacks all the snacks help.
Seriously #1 tip any mom will give you is have plenty of snacks on hand. We had a million bars and pouches and I filled our Beaba containers with fresh fruit, cheese, muffins etc.