As a military spouse and mom of four little ones, I’ve done my fair share of traveling with children—especially when we lived overseas in Europe. Some of our trips went surprisingly well, like the time I flew cross-country with all four kids by myself! (because… deployment). Other times, however, we had a ‘learning experience,’ like the time we returned from living overseas and the baby cried for most of the trans-Atlantic flight! Note to self: bring the baby carrier.
One of the hardest parts about traveling with children is that they have So. Much. Stuff. It takes days just to pack all their clothes and essential gear. Then you have to figure out how to lug it through the airport. If you’re traveling with multiple children or making a trip as the lone parent, this can be a nightmare. I’m here to offer my tried and true strategy for traveling with kids without breaking your back (or the bank).
What to pack when traveling with babies and children:
- Put as much as possible in the checked luggage. This will save you from dragging it all through the airport.
- Pack your carry-on with the essentials you and the kids need during the flight: food, electronics, headsets, chargers, diapers, bottles, change of clothes, hand sanitizer, and boarding passes (print these out 24 hours in advance so you don’t wait in another line). Lollipops are good to relieve ear pressure during take off and landing.
- In the airport, use a baby wearing carrier or a lightweight stroller. This will give you extra hands, and you can check a stroller at the gate for free.
- Toddlers and older children have their own seat and get their own carry-on. Make it a backpack they can carry. Give each kid a change of clothes in a Ziploc bag (trust me, they will probably need it!), a coloring or activity book, crayons, a small toy, and/or a book to read. It’s also helpful if you give them a travel pillow and an empty water bottle. (Fill it after you get through Security).
- Let kids wear layers, so they can take jackets on or off.
What NOT to pack when traveling with babies and children:
- You do not need to pack car seats, a pack and play, large strollers, baby hiking backpacks, high chairs, or booster seats. Those are all way too bulky and expensive to fly, and you can get them on location when you arrive. One easy way to do this is by using FlyBaby App.
How FlyBaby helps moms
FlyBaby connects moms with other moms who have extra baby gear. They essentially rent and deliver the baby products to a mom who is traveling. This is a game-changer to military spouses who travel with kids, especially if it is on your own during deployment! If you are flying to Grandma’s house or joining the family for a destination vacation, you can use FlyBaby to rent and reserve the gear you will need ahead of time. A local mom will then deliver it to you—at the hotel, the AirBnB property, or even Grandma’s. They will also pick it up when you are done. No more lugging all of that through the airport on your own! Think how much this could help during a PCS move when you first arrive at a new duty station too.
If you are a military spouse with extra baby gear in your garage, (as a mom of 4, yes, I’m totally guilty of this) then FlyBaby is a great simple way for you to make extra money. Here’s how you can add the FlyBaby “side hustle” to earn cash without needing childcare or committing to traditional job hours:
- When baby outgrows the crib, or when you have three strollers, put them to work as rental gear
- Moms get to choose the price for their listings, and they get to choose how far/close they want to go for deliveries.
- Local mom partners can make $600/month, with only 3-4 local deliveries.
- There are $0 listing fees, so it’s totally risk free. (Not like certain brands that make you buy your inventory up front!) FlyBaby only gets paid when there’s an order, and they only take a small percentage.
- FlyBaby is instant signup, with no long forms or interviews.
- FlyBaby doesn’t give out personal information to customers and takes care of customer disputes, if they arise.
If you want to use FlyBaby for your next trip, visit their website to reserve gear at a town near your destination.
If you want to make money renting out your baby gear, then learn more about becoming a FlyBaby Local Partner.
Find more tips for traveling solo with babies in this FB Live video