Traveling with 2 is kind of like traveling with 1… except harder. Just kidding, it actually depends on the children, the ages and everything else. It can be easier if you have a tiny baby that sleeps a lot and a well-behaved 4-year-old, than a teething 18-month-old. Every flight for us has been completely different. Some have been pretty tough and others have not been that bad. It’s never going to be as simple as traveling without kids, but some good tips and the right mindset can really increase your chances for having a successful trip.

  • Be comfortable. I wear one of two pairs of shoes on the plane. Either slip on ankle boots if I am going to a cooler climate or cute tennis shoes when I am going to a warmer climate. Prepare to move carseats around, walk through the airport trying to get the wiggles out of your kid, run back to the car to grab the pacifier, etc. My go-to outfit is a pair of Lululemon black align pants, a black turtleneck and a warm cardigan. It’s not pajamas, but it’s also extremely comfortable.

          
        
  • Also, keep the kids comfortable. As much as I don’t like pajamas on airplanes for adults, little ones are another story. Keeping them cozy in my opinion makes them more likely to sleep and associate it with night time. Also, this little gap filler is such a great idea to take advantage of space. Traveling with two, it’s nice to have that extra seat and extending that is even better.
          
        
  • Pack light and strategize. I used to bring a duffle bag when we did a short weekend trip, but now we need rolling bags so we can stack something on top. Our magic formula is that each parent has a rolling suitcase and that we try to fit the kids clothes in our suitcase. Then each kid uses their backpack for the plane. We put their iPad, essentials (diapers, wipes, etc.), snacks and blankets in there. It’s important not to fill the bag to the brim. You should be easily able to find what you need. We each bring a personal item like a backpack too, but try not to lug anything crazy in it. Also, I try to only use cheap hard suitcases. We see family a lot abroad and we have a revolving wheel of suitcases because sometimes we only need a carry on and sometimes we need a bigger suitcase. Not being extremely attached to the suitcase really helps to be practical when the time comes to ditch it at my in-laws or trade with someone.
          
        
  • Toys are usually a bad idea. You can fill your bag with toys, but the kid only wants the tablet or to mess with the lid from your coffee. If you are going to bring an activity or toy, make it simple and new so there is an element of surprise. Save the exciting part for later on in the voyage. If they know they are about to get some serious screen time, we buy ourselves a few hours and tell her that once the drink cart passes she can have the iPad.
          
        
  • Netflix download option for your kids’ favorite cartoons. It’s so nice because they erase before you forget to delete them for storage purposes. My tip for this is to sit down with your kid and let them pick the ones they want. If your child is anything like mine, you can show them the cartoon they have been watching every day for the last 4 months and suddenly they have decided they only want to watch a cartoon the kid sitting next to them is watching. If they have a say in it, they are more likely to watch it.
  • Don’t count on anything… Oh, your flight is exactly at their naptime? How convenient! Not. Things like this never go to plan. They are in such a different environment that they will most likely be overstimulated. That being said, if they do fall asleep, even if it’s a couple hours before you arrive and they go to bed, let them sleep. It will all work out. Over-tired kids in airports only leads to meltdowns. All schedules go out the window while traveling. We start our typical routine the day after we arrive.
  • Dig deep and communicate to your partner from a place of love. Easier said than done when everyone is exhausted and someone needs a diaper change and the older child has just pushed their patience to the limit and wants to move around. You won’t be on the plane forever and the kinder you are on the plane the better your vacation will be.
  • We all do our best to avoid germs, but gosh airports are nasty. Our pediatrician said not to panic because it’s common after a long day of traveling for a younger child to have a fever for the first 24 hours from being tired and overwhelmed. Wiping down your seat area and keeping some extra socks or pajamas is always a good idea if a kid happens to get something weird on them…
      
    
  • Document storage is highly important. We designate one person to keep all of the passports–obviously, one of the parents. Gosh, if Fear Factor still existed they should have the 4-year-old be responsible for the travel documents This pouch helps keep all documents together and it truly helps to have a designated pouch because it’s easy to find and also protects everything.
  • Strollers and carseats are totally dependent on your situation. If you are staying at an Airbnb and they happen to have a stroller or if you will only need a carseat from the airport to the hotel. Both strollers and carseats can be checked for free, so just do what is right for your situation. If you can avoid the carseat, I would recommend it. It’s truly a lot to carry. I really don’t enjoy having to use those giant rolly carts in baggage claim to get places or having to shove 8 suitcases into the Uber while the driver looks at you with disgust.
  • The last think I would encourage you to do is to arrive early and give yourself plenty of time. Even my husband who hates sitting in the airport understands that something always comes up. If we are leaving France, someone is always on strike. In the US, we have long security lines or big last minute gate changes. Once our lap child didn’t transfer from the 3rd party site we used to book to the actual airline and it took a strange amount of time to get that fixed. You just can’t anticipate all of the things that will slow you down, so I highly recommend to just be early and avoid the stress of running to the gate with a baby in tow… No one wants a Home Alone situation (Kevinnnnn!!!!)