Disney + Travel Tips || Part Four - Flying with Kids

Part One - How to Fly for Free Click Here
Part Two - Hotels, When to Book and Budgeting Click Here.
Part Three - All Things Disneyland Tips Click Here. 

I wouldn't say I'm an expert flight traveler with kids but we have taken lots of flights with them and I'm just going to share what works for us.

  • Check EVERYTHING. We literally check as much as we can. I've already covered that when flying Southwest you get two free bags per person. We usually take one large bag and a small bag when we travel. This next trip however since we wont have a car we'll be taking a second bag full of food. But honestly when you have that many free bags check all the things haha. Take as little as possible onto your flight. The only thing we try to take as a carry on is anything of value (ie., camera, ipad, laptop, chargers, phones.) Just anything valuable I bring onto the plane with us and I'm crazy about luggage getting lost (knock on wood it hasn't happened yet) so I make sure to pack one outfit per person in my carry on just in case we were without luggage for a day or two. It's so much easier to go onto a flight when you only have one carry on VS a carry on for everyone. I do however, let the boys take a small child size backpack with snacks and toys. That is, one backpack shared between them because lord knows I'm the one that ends up carrying it. 
  • Check your stroller at the gate. We will check everything we need to when getting a boarding pass except our stroller. It's easier to put the boys in the stroller and get to our gate than A) carrying them, B) listening to them complain that "it's too far and my legs hurt and my arms hurt and my nose is cold" haha or C) having them run around like the crazy toddlers they are and try to wrangle them in. Checking the stroller at the gate, just do it. BUT make sure to check it in prior to boarding. You don't want to go to scan your ticket and not have your stroller ready with it's check-in tag. So as soon as you get to your gate, find a Southwest employee and tell them you need to check your stroller and they'll help you out. 
  • Have some things for your kids to do on flight. Luckily for us the flight form Salt Lake to California is less than 2 hours but the kids still get restless. We like window clings, water works books, stickers hidden in Easter eggs, movies uploaded on the iPad, etc. Just busy play. Also, yes you can bring packaged snacks on the plane when traveling with small children. Just tell the TSA beforehand and they'll help you out!
  • Fly early in the day! This is so big. Especially when you're flying into LAX and have to get to Anaheim. We've booked flights before for after Josh gets off work, so like 6 or 7 pm. BAD idea because we typically wouldn't get to our hotel until nearly midnight, not fun with kids. We've learned from this and now try to get into LA around noon-ish. That way we usually get to the hotel right before check in which gives us time to chill out and relax. (tip: when you land and know you'll be early to the hotel call your hotel and tell them you plan on being early to see if they will have your room available) We've almost always been able to get early check in when we give them an hour or two notice.
  • Mentally Prepare. So this sometimes works for us and it's something we like to do; Mentally prepare the kids for the flight. We start about a week or so in advance and just get Copeland and Finn pumped for the trip. We talk about going on a big plane, that it's taking us to California, etc. We talk about manners on the plane and being respectful. I mean obviously a 2 year old isn't going to be that respectful when he's grouchy but it does help Copeland at least, to know that other people will be on the plane with us and to try and be a good boy. 
  • Get up and walk if you can. When the seat belt sign goes off and the kids are restless, I do let them run down the plane and back. Josh or I will go with them to make sure they're not bugging anyone but it just helps get the wiggles out. And a smiley toddler running up and down the isle is way better than a screaming one trying to sit still, so most people don't mind. Also, we've had plenty of times where the boys have been just pissed. It sucks, but I mean, that's life. You do what you can. We usually sit in the back of the plane, grit our teeth and try to get through it haha. 
Have more tips? Share them in the comments!

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