Best Travel Advice from a Stranger
Our flight was delayed on our way back from New Orleans to Chicago back in January. Luke was getting restless in the gate area and asking when we were going to board the plane. A man sitting near us started talking to us about a trick or activity he did with his kids when they were Luke’s age (his kids are all in their 20s now). He said that whenever they were traveling or going somewhere, he would measure the distance or time to get to their destination by saying where they were using their body – from your toes to your head. The toes would be the starting point and the head would be the end. The halfway point would be your stomach. He said it was a great way for them to learn about time and understand where they were at in the journey.
We have been using this trick not only for our travels but in every day life and it seems to work. Instead of saying, “soon” we now show Luke where we are using our bodies. It sounds funny but it actually works.
Luke’s first trip was when he was four months old to New Orleans for his cousin’s baptism and his first long-haul trip was to Maui when he was seven months. He was really good on both flights. But I, on the other hand, was a hot mess! I worried about the trips weeks ahead. I think I was fine by the time Luke went with us to French Riviera when he was 23 months. That’s when Charlie and I looked at each other and said: “we got this!” Of course, we only have one child. I’m sure our routine would be a lot different if we had more…which I’m fine with.
We just booked our spring vacation to Europe and I cannot be more excited! It is to a place that’s been on my bucket list (more information in a later post). And while we’re at it, this will be the longest toe to head game we’ll play with Luke so we’ll see how it goes. We don’t leave for our trip for awhile but I’m already planning where to eat and getting an idea of what to wear for both me and Luke. Charlie likes to do his own packing. LOL!
The one thing that Charlie and I have learned about traveling with Luke is not to get stressed out (especially when boarding the plan) or show any indication of stress. Kids have a way of sensing it and their reaction is not very pretty. So I’ve learned to stay calm on our travel days so that Luke will be calm. I’ve also learned some things to bring on these during the Trans-Atlantic flights so they don’t turn out to be longer than they actually are.
I’ve listed below things that Luke normally uses on all our flights. I think planning is key! And it helps to get Luke involved in with packing process.
I would love to hear what your kids’ travel essentials are!
A Fun Backpack
When Luke as a toddler, we got his a backpack to put all his little toys, snacks and wet wipes in. This backpack from Skip Hop was the perfect size and the monkey face helps too. We still take this backpack with us so he can put his small toys and snacks in. It’s the perfect size for a toddler and pre-schooler.
His Own Carry-on Suitcase
Last year, we got Luke his own suitcase and he loved it! He was very proud to be wheeling his suitcase around the airport and even wanted to put it on the TSA security table. It was very cute. Since he was into the Cars Movie, we got him the Lightning McQueen rolling suitcase from the Disney Store. We pack his books, extra clothes, toys and snacks into the suitcase. Luke likes to use the outside pocket to put all his Hot Wheels cars in.
We also have an airplane outfit for him. He has to wear his track suit my mom gave him on every flight! I don’t know why the track suit is his outfit of choice but hey, if he likes it and it’s comfortable for the plane ride, I’m not going to question it. When he puts on his track suit, you know he’s ready to fly.
An iPad with Interactive Apps
Of course this list has to include an iPad! What did kids do before the iPad? I don’t remember and I don’t want to.
Some of Luke’s favorite apps that keep his busy during a flight are:
Don’t forget to download the airline’s app since there are entertainment and movies for kids, which could be a good alternative to what you have on your tablet.
Small Doodle Pad
Activity and Sight Words Books
Activity books have been a hit for Luke…so a pencil and few crayons are also a must. Since Luke loves anything from the Cars movies, some of his favorite sight word books are this one and and this one.
Toys – Hot Wheels
Luke is obsessed with cars so we let him bring up to 10 Hot Wheel Cars. He likes driving the cars in our seating area and up and down the armrests. We end up losing a few here and there. Thank goodness Hot Wheels are less than $2/car or else I wouldn’t let him bring so much.
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