I started out my traveling with infant and toddlers blogs getting really real. I explained how your travel day probably won’t go exactly as you planned, how that’s okay, and how it’s important for Moms to keep their cool through it all. This still reigns true when traveling with older kids. The part that makes it easier, is that kids understand if a flight is delayed or if there’s a change. They may not like it or complain about being bored, but they understand.
You are required to buy a ticket for your kids. They cost the same as an adult ticket and they qualify to bring whatever baggage is included in the cost of the ticket. You will not need to bring any type of ID, when flying domestically.
Once your child carries their own backpack to and from school on a regular basis, they are old enough to carry their own backpack when flying. Have your kids pack the bag with whatever they will want to play with during the flight. Pro-tip: always check the bag before you leave the house. They have a way of putting very random, heavy things that they think they “need”.
Here is my video with carry-on bag necessities for you, Mom:
Below are a few items I’d suggest you sneak into your kids backpack, so you don’t end up carrying for them:
- Headphones: We prefer our younger ones to use the over the head headphones. But, earbuds are fine too (and save a lot of space). Personal preference.
- Neck pillow and small blanket: If your kid may doze off during the flight, having a neck pillow will ensure they will actually get some rest. Otherwise, they’ll have a bobble head and won’t get any sleep.
Not sure what to pack in their suitcase? We have a blog and vlog for that 😉
As mentioned above, you won’t need to provide ID for your child. They will receive their own boarding pass and will have to go through security. Make sure they take out any tablets they may have in their backpack before putting it into the machine. They will not need to take off their shoes and will go through the old school metal detectors, not the full body scanner.
I always suggest heading to the restroom about five minutes before boarding starts. Even if they “don’t have to go”, I force them to try. You never know when you’ll be able to go again. Pre-boarding when traveling with a kid is up to you. If you’re traveling with younger ones, definitely take full advantage in getting those extra minutes to get situated on the plane. If you’re only traveling with older kids, you may want to wait until regular boarding. This is something that’s completely up to you. Some airlines specify anyone traveling with children under 2, some say in strollers/car seats, and another just say small children. There isn’t a definitive ‘rule’ here.
Always have your kid put their backpack underneath the seat in front of them. Before the flight, I suggest getting the headphones, tablets, and whatever else they may need your help with our of their bag and into the seat pocket in front of them. That way, you’re not fumbling to get mid-flight.
If your child has ever experienced discomfort during takeoff or landing, give them a piece of gum to chew on or a snack during this time. Thankfully, once they’re this age, they can clearly explain what’s bothering them.
This, is a time I actually consider somewhat relaxing. Once your child is settled with their show/movie/tablet/book and snack, you should be able to sit back and enjoy whatever you brought for yourself. I have to say, it wasn’t until my son was about five that I finally was able to watch a show I wanted to watch on the TV. Before that, I was constantly making sure the kids were good that I didn’t get a chance.
Once at your Destination
Since you’ve outgrown the stroller and car seat phase, you don’t need to worry about getting these when you land. Always do a sweep of the seat back pockets and underneath the seats to check when you’re getting off the plane, to make sure you didn’t forget anything.