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Not sure if this is the best place to post this, but hopefully I'll get some ideas. We just bought tickets for all 5 of us to fly to Chicago for 2 weeks for a "fun" vacation and visit to DH's grandma. So 2 adults, 2 8 1/2 year olds, 1 toddler who will be about 20 months at the time and will be a lap baby. Great-grandma has only seen the twins once, when they were 5 1/2, and has never met the toddler, so this is a very important trip family-wise.<br><br>
I hate flying - the airports, getting there hours early, being stuck in a tiny seat for hours. We've only flown a couple of times with the twins, only when they were older, never with a lap baby. And now with the airlines not letting you bring liquid on board and charging for every bag. . .<br><br>
I'm mostly looking for tips on packing. We have always tried to check as much as possible so hands are free to keep track of kids. We have also always brought things like bowls, silverware, etc. so we can eat some meals in our hotel room. But with each checked bag costing about $50 round-trip, we need to pack totally differently. Any ideas on how to pack 2 weeks of stuff for 5 people in 4 carry-on sized bags? Plus all the entertainment and toiletry stuff we'll need for 2 big kids and one toddler on the flight. . .I think I'm going to have to check at least one bag, but anything I can do to keep it to only one will help!<br><br>
What about car seats? All 3 kids are still in car seats (the toddler still rear-facing) or boosters. Is the airline going to charge me to check those?!?<br><br>
What do people do about diapers? We have always used cloth, even when traveling, but if I'm going to have to pay $50 to haul cloth across the country & have to pay to use a laundromat at the other end, maybe we should go to the "dark side" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> and use disposables. But I don't even know how much they would cost - would it actually be cheaper? If it's about the same cost to haul the cloth, I'd rather take the cloth.<br><br>
Anyhow, any tips/ideas/words of experience would be helpful. I'm already dreading this and we don't leave for 2 months <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I hate flying too! I just did trans-atlantic flights on my own with 4 kids ages 2 to 11. I packed 4 weeks of stuff for the 5 of us in 2 carry-on size suitcases (which I checked for convenience sake, and also because ou can check one bag per person for free on international flights ), and each of us had a small backpack for entertainment stuff and snacks on the plane.<br><br>
Pack as lightly as possible. If you will have access to a washer and dryer - just take enough clothes for one or two days (three for toddler) and wash more often. You can wash socks and undies in the hotel sink. Also, it is not ideal, but if you find you need another pair of shorts/shoes/whatever you can always go to a thrift shop or Target or other cheapy store once you are in Chicago.<br><br>
You can also buy paper plates/bowls etc for use in our hotel room.<br><br>
Also, I personally would use sposies - at least part of the time. You could take a few cloth diapers, and buy diapers once you are there. Or, send a box of cloth diapers to grandma's house ahead of time. You may even be able to find people in Chicago who could loan you diapers while you are there. We've always been lucky on our travels with people being very generous and loaning us cloth diapers, toys, kitchen supplies... It doesn't hurt to ask.<br><br>
Of course, it may even out paying for an extra checked bag or buying what you need once in Chicago - but less bags means less hassle, IMO.<br><br>
You should check directly with the airline or on their website to find out about checking carseats, as well as bringing liquids on the plane for the baby.<br><br>
Have a fun trip!
 

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All airlines I've flown let you check kid items such as car seats and strollers for no cost. You can find that information on their websites.<br><br>
I always overpack and having to pay for bags last time was annoying. Sometimes just shipping stuff slowly by USPS or UPS is cheaper than flying with it.
 

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I have a tendency to do everything the hard way so I feel a little hypocritical saying this... (but I think I have learned from past experience!)<br>
I would suggest looking for the easiest way to go... like, a pack of disposables is $20 (we've been using... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> ) for 100 diapers. That would save you the trouble of carrying all that stuff through the airports... and having to wash diapers while you'rethere. If you consider your time worth $10/hour, it's well worth it.<br>
For the other things... like plates and silveware, why not buy it there? you can get a pack of plastic plates for a buck. And won't the 5 of you go through about a tube of toothpaste while you there? and a bottle of shampoo?<br>
I would just pack the things you know you won't be able to find easily when you get there.<br><br>
Also when I flew last summer they checked our carseat for free. I think that's pretty standard... and... I'd look into the plicies of the air line you're using. I think some of them check the first bag free.
 

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Could I just add onto this a question about what people do with their toddlers on long flights. We haven't flown since DD started walking but are going on several trips this summer, and when DD doesn't want to be sitting in our laps, she can let everyone on the plane know.
 

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I've flown a few times with my toddler and the airport always lets me bring drinks for her through security. As long as they are in a bottle or sippy they will just test them for explosives and let them through. Checking a car seat and/or a stroller has always been free for us, on multiple airlines (American, Midwest, Southwest).<br><br>
As far as how to entertain them, my advice is don't schedule the flight for naptime or bedtime because they will refuse to fall asleep and will be cranky and miserable the whole flight, unless they have their own seat and can sleep in the car seat. On our last flight I managed to get DD asleep in the ergo before we boarded and then the *%%$*! flight attendant made me take her out, saying it is against airline regulations to wear a baby, I needed to just be holding her in my arms. Of course she woke up and treated the airplane to lots of screaming, thanks to airline policy. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"><br><br>
What *hasn't* worked to entertain my toddler: laptop with movies on it (Kipper and the like) because she just bangs on the keys and stops the movie since it's on the tray table right in front of her (plus she's too little for headphones and can't hear any of it without disrupting fellow passengers).<br><br>
What *has* worked: songs and fingerplays (this is equally annoying to my fellow passengers I bet, but they can't complain like they could about the volume on a laptop) and books. Our bag for Evie is always snacks and books. The books should be a mix of favorites and brand new, never seen before.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Check your airline policy about checking bags and how many carry ons are allowed. Even if they charge for checking, most places still allow 1 carry on per paid seat, which means you get four.<br>
the NY Times just had a great little bit about <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/05/06/business/businessspecial/20100506-pack-ss.html?scp=1&sq=carry%20on&st=cse" target="_blank">how to pack a carry on</a>.<br><br>
Go to the dark side and use disposables. 2 weeks travelling with cloth is undoable in my opinion. Also use disposable cups/plates/etc. Stop at a store when you arrive and get the essentials.<br><br>
The car seats should be free to check - I have not heard of an airline that charges a fee for strollers or seats. Most will also gate-check them, meaning they stay with you until you board and then they go into cargo, and they will be there at the arrival gate as well, not in baggage claim.<br><br>
The airlines WILL let you bring liquids, but they have to be purchased after security. I know bottles of milk/formula/medicine are allowed, but they did do a sort of fume test when I went through last. I'd recommend having snacks handy and just buying beverages after you get through security.<br><br>
I think the added expense of some convenience is better than being super frugal but being hassled all the time.
 

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Every airline I've flown since having a child has checked the car seat for free. We do disposables on trips, even when we have access to laundry- just takes up too much space in luggage otherwise. We buy the disposables when we get there. Although I like the idea of seeing if you can borrow cloth when you get there...<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Could I just add onto this a question about what people do with their toddlers on long flights.</td>
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We just got back from a trip to Rome, Italy with our 19 month old (8/9 hour flight to Europe plus a couple extra hours from Amsterdam to Rome). . The trip out there was easier because it was at night and she slept- we did a shortened version of the bedtime routine and actually got her dressed in her pjs. But the flight back was just a couple of naps and otherwise she was AWAKE. Here's what I brought/did to entertain her:<br>
*lots of different snacks in interesting little containers<br>
*crayons and paper<br>
*plastic easter eggs with "toys" inside (one was actually legitimately a toy-- tiny windup car but the rest were things like tiny pine cones, straws, pieces of yarn)<br>
*travel aquadoodle<br>
*ripping up the skymall magazine<br>
*stickers<br>
*walking up and down the aisles...my duaghter is very friendly and she enjoyed walking and waving at all the people- no one was annoyed (that I could tell) cos she was cute ... and not crying! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br>
*DVD with headphones. They make headphones for toddlers/small children. My daughter doesn't ever really watch TV so this was only good for about 10-15 minutes at a time. But that's worth it, when you've run out of ideas/patience!<br><br>
As someone else mentioned, they do make you take the babe out of the Ergo or wrap/carrier for takeoff and landing, as annoying as that is (& I don't think it makes sense, from a safety standpoint but what do I know). But using the Ergo in the airport and through security (I've never had to take her off through security) is a big plus. This latest trip sometimes she wanted to run around and trying standing on the people movers, etc. which was fine with us -- anything to let her get energy out BEFORE getting on the plane.
 

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FOOD! Why didn't I think of that? Maybe because she was just starting solids the last time we flew.<br><br>
The other ideas were great too. I'm afraid that all she'll want to do is walk up and down the aisles, and she's not that steady yet, and she'll fall and cry, and then she'll be angry when I take her back to the seat. Too bad she still doesn't sit still for stories. The Easter Egg idea is brilliant. DD would love that. It would keep her going for hours!
 

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Yeah, and I tried to let DD walk the aisles last time we flew and the flight attendants fussed at me that she is only allowed to walk the aisles when necessary (on the way to the bathroom). We used songs to let her use up her energy (we shook our sillies out and clapped our crazies out <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> )
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the carry-on link w/ packing tips. Yes, we get 4 carry-ons. But I have always thought carry-on luggage was a huge PITA when trying to get children and food and in-flight entertainment through the airport security, who needs a bag of clothes on top of it all? Guess we'll do it anyhow!<br><br>
I guess disposables might be easier, but we have never ever used them (on our 3rd child <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">), including camping, car, and airplane trips - so the idea of finding a store, figuring out what will fit her, worrying about rashes in my super-sensitive kids, all sounds like more hassle to me. I'm actually thinking about placing an order w/ an on-line drugstore for toiletries to be waiting at Grandma's for us, though. And if I'm going to spend $20 on diapers, that's 1/2 the cost of a checked bag, which will hold a lot more than just the diapers we'll need. As far as laundry, I'm going to be doing it anyhow since we can't pack 2 weeks of clothes! Although I like the idea of hitting a thrift store. . . we can always donate it back before we go home.<br><br>
As far as entertaining the toddler, I plan on lots and lots of snacks of various sorts in lots of little containers. A box of bandaids from the dollar store. Ditto dental floss for her to unroll. A pack of those sticky tabs to mark pages in books (she LOVES those). The Nintendo DSi with lots of photos loaded for her to look at. Crayola color wonder paper and pens. Bribe big brother and sister to entertain her for periods of time so I can breathe. Pray for a stewardess who will let us walk up and down the aisles.<br><br>
Glad to know they will make me take her out of the sling for take-off and landing. That was the plan <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"> Guess she'll be nursing in my arms instead. A screaming, awake, uncontained child is of course preferred to a content, calm one in a horribly unsafe sling!<br><br>
Has anyone ever used one of those attachments that turn a car seat into a stroller (like: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FGo-Go-Babyz-GoGo-Kidz-Travelmate%2Fdp%2FB002RXWZSS%2Fref%3Dpd_sbs_ba_3" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Go-Go-Babyz-Go...ef=pd_sbs_ba_3</a>). We don't own a stroller, but this seems like it would help reduce the amount we're hauling through the airport!
 

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I haven't read this whole thread carefully, but I just wanted to chime in because I just did a 3-hour plane ride with my kids a few days ago. My dd is 19 months and a lap child, but one thing that worked great for us was that she was able to sit on the seat between us, by lifting up the armrest. She loved sitting the the seat, and it helped not to have a squirming kid on my lap for the whole flight.<br><br>
You know your kid best, but some things that worked for us:<br><br>
SNACKS, lots and lots of them, and sort of junky exotic ones (froot loops, chocolate covered pretzels, peanut butter cups, etc.) The sweet cereal was the biggest hit, and it kept dd occupied for quite a while. You could also bring a something to thread the "o" type cereal onto, and then you have a built-in activity with your snack<br><br>
lots of very small toys...the biggest hit for us was two small dog play figures tucked into a snapping change purse (we played hide and seek with those dogs for half an hour easily)<br><br>
color wonder coloring book<br><br>
I would recommend bringing lots of plastic ziploc bags of varying sizes in your diaper bag. You will always find uses for them (using them for random trash, dividing up snacks, saving extra pretzels handed out on the flight, etc. etc.)<br><br>
Have fun!
 

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Because you are going to be staying with a relative it is very very worthwhile to look into shipping a box with most of your stuff in advance. Only carry on the stuff you have to use in the couple of days before the trip. That will make the airport experience MUCH less stressful.
 

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I haven't meant another on here but here is the advice from the resident flight attendant:<br><br>
As someone who lives and works on a plane I have a few words of advice that these wonderful mothering posters have not entirely covered so far.<br><br>
A. What airline are you flying? This means ALOT as to fees policies etc.<br><br>
B. I assume just domestic? The great thing about domestic lap child stuff is that if someone does not show up or the flight is barely full your lap child will progress to a car seat child (please believe us....they're better off that way) AT NO CHARGE.<br>
When you check in ask....if there is a strong possibility of open seats the preliminary gate agent at check in will tell you and not check that seat. It can be gate checked with the stollers (btw gate check is never charged to you) and you will have a child under two flying safely as possible in a carseat FOR FREE!<br>
I say this please take no offense my own 20 month old travels "at will" across the globe and believe me there are times she is not in a carseat and a lap child due to flight loads. But it is safer and "easier" i.e she's been traveling since 1 month old all over the world due to my job and it is easier to have them understand what is going on if they believe it is similar to car travel i.e "in your seat or else".<br>
I have also personal reasons for however wishing young ones stay in supportive FAA restraint devices. Obviously they are safer for a reason and no need to get into details but again in normal situations they really in their minds compare car=plane so that is easier on you.<br><br>
C. Magna doodles rock. We all love play dough...just please make sure all stickers are removed after we land <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
Look at your flight attendants! Most of us have a few children (these days most have GRANDCHILDREN) and we will do whatever it takes for you to be comfortable. If you need it, ask. Again, I don't know what airline you are flying but most of us are more than ready to do whatever it takes for the kids. When we have a 14 hour day ahead of us nothing makes us feel better (when we miss our own!) than helping another mum with her kids and getting a high five here or there <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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Oops and BTW TSA is usually wonderful when I travel with kiddies (they are so helpful!) and this is coming from someone who goes through 2-5 times a day!!!!!! They really do a great job any juice/breastmilk/milk anything is exempt in the US P.m ME for details international if anyone needs them as per country but you just step aside for them to be screened (takes 7 seconds) and you'll be fine.
 

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great advice from everyone....just an FYI for the wy home...We flew out of O'Hare in March and the Children's museum had a great exhibit/play area where all 3 of your kiddos could play and run....IMO sleepy/worn out toddler is the best thing for a plane <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Wow great advice here. We're flying with DD who will be 22 months in July to California to visit family. I don't mean to hijack the thread but how do you transport the carseat? Do you buy a cover for it?
 

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hmmmm, I've never had a flight attendant say that we couldn't walk the aisles. But then again, aside from the 8 or 9 hour flights Thalia has been fairly happy to just hang out with us in the seat.<br><br>
I have to say that the vast majority flight attendants we've encountered have been more than helpful and kind to us when flying with a baby and toddler. Those that haven't I just let go of it cos who knows what's going on, and, just like anyone else, they are trying to do their job.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>daniturtle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15416438"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">But using the Ergo in the airport and through security (I've never had to take her off through security) is a big plus.</div>
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We've flown many times with our little one, who is now 16 months and we've had to take her out of the Ergo to go through security every time. Even when she was sleeping!<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lit Chick</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15416078"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Go to the dark side and use disposables. 2 weeks travelling with cloth is undoable in my opinion.</div>
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We did a mix this last trip ... CD while at our 'home' base and day trips, and disposables for overnight jaunts. My aunt and uncle told us not to bother bringing disposables with us and to just get them there. It was a good compromise.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>JMJ</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15415363"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Could I just add onto this a question about what people do with their toddlers on long flights.</div>
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We were just in Costa Rica for two weeks, with a long travel day on either end. We did two legs there and two legs back. Four hours on the plane, three hours layover, then another four hours on the second plane, with a couple of driving hours to a from.<br><br><br>
What worked well for us on the plane and at the airport:<br><ul><li>We didn't take a stroller of any kind, and just stuck to the Ergo, even while in CR.</li>
<li>We took DD's favourite bear and blanket (but be warned, they will have to go through the security scanner so prepare or distract for that inevitability).</li>
<li>We packed light ... we had one backpack between the three of us, and a shopping bag that squishes to nothing in case we wanted to stow sweatshirts or DD decided not to carry her bear or we purchased snack or things that wouldn't fit into the pack.</li>
<li>We took only one change of clothes for her, we decided dirty was fine, and that we would only change her in the event of a throw up or poo explosion, neither of which happened. The meant just one small sandwich bag with a spare t-shirt and leggings.</li>
<li>We took a hackey sack to play with at the airport during the layover ... it didn't roll away, and was great for getting her running and moving.</li>
<li>We encouraged DD to drink lots of water so her tummy stayed regular and she was well hydrated.</li>
<li>DD played with cups of ice on the plane ... wet messy, but good for an hour of entertainment!</li>
<li>We brought new books, and a couple favourites.</li>
<li>We brought a few new small toys and only took them out when I thought she was getting bored or frustrated.</li>
<li>PURCHASED HER OWN SEAT ... WORTH IT'S WEIGHT IN GOLD!!!</li>
<li>And most importantly ... <span style="font-size:x-large;"><span style="color:#FF0000;">BOARD LAST!!!</span></span> Why board first? That means a good half hour more that you have to entertain them. We'd always boarded first until this trip, when another mama told me how crazy it was. And of course she's right!</li>
</ul><br>
Anticipate the best, plan for the worst ... and take some Rescue Remedy before you leave.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>starling&diesel</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15431888"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We've flown many times with our little one, who is now 16 months and we've had to take her out of the Ergo to go through security every time. Even when she was sleeping!<br><br></div>
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Weird, (and kinda obnoxious, for the sleeping babe). In all the domestic airports (let's see: Portland, ME, Bangor, ME, Minneapolis-St Paul, Baltimore, Philadelphia, JFK, so it's actually not a very exhaustive list- we go to Maine a lot!) I've been in here they never made me take her out. Nor in Athens, Rome, or Amsterdam. Including several trips after the Xmas Day attempted bombing. But you never know, so it's good to be ready for anything!<br><br>
Oh and they do make rescue remedy for kids...I bring it on carry on just in case (has to go in clear baggie with other liquids), but I've never had to use it. (Thalia is really a very good traveler!)
 
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