I have always been scared of having to take my kids on a plane. We’ve never done it, because our family is close enough to visit by car, and every time I fly on my own I surreptitiously stare at other parents trying to manage small kids and strollers and bags and think to myself, oh thank GOD that’s not me.
The time has come, however, for me to nut up and face my fears, because I have the opportunity to take my 3.5-year-old on a trip to Washington DC at the end of this month. It will be just the two of us, and I am both thrilled about the adventure and, um, COMPLETELY FREAKED OUT.
We’ve been talking a lot about the trip and watching YouTube videos of planes taking off and so on; I feel like I’m doing an okay job on preparing him as best I can. He’s super excited about everything, but I know the fickle nature of a preschooler: it’s inevitable there will be some challenges along the way. So, what sorts of gear can help make it all a little easier? I’m hoping you guys can help me out, especially those of you with experience traveling with children. Here are some items I’m looking at:
Kidz Gear Headphones. I’m going to load up my laptop with Curious George episodes and let him veg out as much as he wants during the flight, so he definitely needs some headphones. In reading about this brand I’m hoping they do an okay job of filtering out plane noise (I have a feeling he is going to be freaked over how loud the engines are) without being too heavy on his head.
Evenflo X Sport Plus Umbrella Stroller. There’s no way around it: I need a travel stroller. He’ll be four in August, but I can’t expect that he’ll walk all through the airports and during our museum visit once we get to our destination—nor do I want to be constantly telling him to hurry up, we’re going this way now, etc. So I need something that can support a 35-lb toddler, not be too bulky, and not cost me an arm and a leg. This Evenflo looks pretty good, but any suggestions are more than welcome!
Kids Backpack. In theory it seems like a fun idea to give Riley his own backpack to carry a few toys and his blanket, but I wonder if it will backfire and I’ll just end up having to deal with it on top of everything else. What do you think?
Amazing Airplanes Book. I just bought this on Sunday and it’s been a FANTASTIC way to talk about the different things he’ll experience, from the line to get tickets to the way we have to sit in our seats with seatbelts buckled to the noise the engines make. I love this book series (we have the one on rockets), they’re informative and cute without being overwhelming.
CARES Restraint System. No way am I bringing a carseat on the plane, nor am I going to check it and let it get banged to hell. I think I’ll try and book a car with a booster seat if possible for the driving parts of the trip, but for the plane ride itself this thing looks like a decent option. Although not very comfortable, especially if he falls asleep. Look, be honest with me: is it okay just to go with the lap belt, or will I be tarred and feathered for being an unsafe parent?
General ideas. I plan to bring snacks, drinks, a few new toys, crayons, books, and at least one change of clothes for both of us. Plus, just in case, earplugs, so that I may offer them to the people sitting near us. What else?