We will start off with two suitcases, three carseats and me in a van shuttle. Any tips for managing it all while I am flying with three children by myself? I will have my 15 mo in a back carry most likely for the airport. A shoulder style diaper bag that will have my purse attached. A pull along/ride on (trunki) suitcase filled with snacks and toys for all. And my 4 and 3 yo will probably have a lightly packed bag with their favorite stuff, but will fit in the trunki afterwards. Honestly the carseats are the most challenging. My kids stay with me for the most part after a thorough discussion. I am thinking curbside check in is my best bet. How much to tip for all the work?
I have flown with two kids by myself, but this just seems insane-especially the carseats! I think my 15 mo will be the greatest challenge.
I didn't want to rent just any carseat, so I decided to bring my kids boosters since I know their history and the safety ratings. We will be there for three weeks so at least it won't be a lot of work for very little time.
Different people have different levels of comfort, and others will be happy to post horror stories but I flew with DD's car seat one time and then never again. (We fly to visit my mom at least 3 timer per year) It was a huge hassle and half the time she wanted to be held anyway. If you are not concerned about the flight, you could curb check the seats with your luggage.
When you say van shuttle, how are you doing that? Is it picking you up at your home or are you driving to the airport and then you have to shuttle from the parking to the terminal? I would think it would be worth it to be dropped off right at the curbside and be done with your bags immediately. The driver and the curbside people should help you unload. Once that happens, if you do keep the car seats you could get a luggage trolley and just pile everything on there. But, you wouldn't be able to take that through security. If you are at a smaller airport someone on staff might assist you. If you are somewhere like Newark, it would be surprising if anyone helped.
You can do it! It's just going to take you a bit of time and be a process.
I heard a while ago that someone can actually help you to the gate. You may check with the airline and see if that's true or not if you have someone who could help you out. I would do curbside check with your carseats and ceratinly the driver of the shuttle van wold help you out. No sense dragging them around the airport if you aren't going to use them on the plane. Good luck, I'm sure with some planning it will work out fine.
Proud Mommy to my amazing boys (6 and 4) and my precious little girl (18 months).
Who's picking you up? Is it possible so buy some new car seats and have them shipped to your destination? That way you know the seats will be safe but you won't have to struggle with them at the gate. You can get a Scenera for pretty cheap.
Definitely do curbside checkin. IIRC they charge about $2 - $3 for each bag and then recommend a tip of about $1 - $2 for each bag. And I think they are a cash only thing so have lots of fives and ones.
And personally, I find using a carrier (Ergo) with a backpack (baby on back, backpack on front) is easier than an over the shoulder diaper bag. The weight is more evenly balanced, and you can more easily access boarding passes and cash since its on your front.
Another option is a cheap umbrella stroller to use for a kid or stuff.
what about checking those seats though? i've heard that baggage handlers will literally mangle them to the point of ripping the fabric and throwing them all around. apparently a carseat luggage bag is recommended as essential.
Yea I heard the same about carseat check ins. If they have bags like that I would totally get them.
We are in the same predicament. I am checking DS's carseat because I'll too many other pieces to manage by myself. I did not want to buy a separate cover bag so I am using the bag for my huge camping backpack.
Momma to DD (12/04) and DS (11/09) .
I survived 16 mos! Ask me about breastfeeding a baby with posterior tongue tie, high palate, and weak oral motor skills- whew!
I agree with you completely that renting carseats is a bad idea, fwiw. I do have three kids, but two are babies (6mo) and I haven't flown alone with all three yet. But we do fly regularly with kids and carseats!
Can someone at your destination pick up a new scenera for you? It would certainly fit your youngest, and that would be one less seat to schlep.
Do you own, or can you borrow, a double stroller? Even if none of the kids ride in it, you can pile stuff into it. Stack two of the carseats in one seat and one carseat in the other seats, with your carryon suitcase on top... Plus I find a stroller very helpful for my 3yo to hold onto when she needs to remember to stay with me.
Or, if you can buy/borrow a luggage cart, you can strap one carseat to the luggage cart, put a bag in the carseat, then strap a second carseat upside down on top of the luggage (bring bungee cords). If your carryon bag is a rolling bag you can strap the third carseat to that, and pull the two rolling items with the 1yo on your back.
Check out the Ride Safer Travel Vest for your bigger two kids. It would be a pricier option, but very convenient. If you fly or carpool regularly or if you could resell it after you use it, it could be worthwhile. You could pack the vests in your luggage and only deal with one carseat (for the baby). The one carseat can either be attached to your rolling carryon suitcase or on a luggage cart for easy carrying. Or if two RSTV's is too expensive you could get one for your 4yo and only deal with two carseats. The one vest could be passed down through all three of your kids on future trips.
Leave a LOT of extra time for security. You're going to have to disassemble whatever tower of stuff you've put together, get all the stuff through the scanners, get the baby off your back, deal with everyone's shoes, etc. Then once your kids are all freaked out by the weirdness of it, you have to try to keep them from running off while you get the shoes back on and everything reassembled. It can be done, and likely total strangers will offer to help you, but it will be a bazillion times worse if you're in a rush. We flew a redeye with two 3mo babies (twins) and a 2.5yo (two adults, thankfully) and it wasn't awful, except for the security part.
Are you buying a seat for the 1yo or will he be a lap child? If he's a lap child you'll have to gate check his seat (which is very easy, IME). Regardless, board as early as humanly possible so you can get yourselves situated.
Also, on the subject of renting, for the price of renting three carseats for three weeks, you could buy three new carseats. Actually for the price of renting one carseat for three weeks, you could probably buy new safe seats for everyone.