Navigating Airports With Toddlers & All Their Stuff
As a parent of small people you find out pretty quickly that in addition to all of the things that you fit inside of your suitcases, you have lots extra stuff that has to be lugged along as well. For us, this includes two car seats and a giant double stroller. So with only two adults having only two hands each, how do we transport all of that stuff to and through multiple airports before we get to where we're going?
Usually, we pack pretty light and carry only two rolling carry-ons (so we can strap the car seats to them). BUT occasionally (like when we're moving across the world using only suitcases) we use a few large suitcases in addition to those two carry-ons. This is how we cope.
Step 1: Arrive at airport, find a luggage cart STAT
Step 2: Load all large bags onto the cart, hook both girls into the stroller (plus their little backpacks, stroller bag, car seat bag and my purse). Attach car seats to rolling carry-ons with handy dandy little strap. This way one adult pushes the luggage cart and pulls a carry on/car seat and the other adult pushes the stroller and pulls a carry on/car seat
Step 3: Check-in for flight and check large bags all the way to the destination. Because our youngest is still sitting on our laps during flights we can also check one of the car seats at this point (for free! Woop Woop!)
Step 4: Head through security with only two carry-ons, one car seat and the stroller. Pray that they have a family/handicapped only line at security.
Step 5: At the gate, disassemble stroller and store in the padded stroller bag (the padded kind makes it harder for them to break the stroller - though not impossible). Kids wear their backpacks with toys and snacks onto the plane. One adult pulls carry on with car seat, one adult pulls carry on and carries the stroller bag to drop off at the gate.
Step 6: Parent with car seat gets on first followed by both kids, followed by the second parent. The car seat is hooked in, carry-ons stowed and the flight flows effortlessly by (maybe. hopefully.)
Step 7: Upon arrival at the final destination go through the above steps in reverse.
And there you have it, logistics handled. Go for it dreamers, you can do it!
Because I care about you, I thought I'd include some of the handy tools we use (you can also find them in the post about the "Tools For Traveling With Toddlers".
1. Traveling Toddler Car Seat Travel Accessory ($13.99)- This little strap hooks your (American) car seat onto any carry on size roller bag so you don't break your back trying to lug a car seat through the airport.
2. Travel Babeez Durable Car Seat Gate Check Bag ($26.95)- You can technically check your car seat without it being in a bag but there's a good chance it'll get pretty dirty and possibly ripped. We travel quite a bit so paying a few bucks extra for the super durable fabric is worth it. This one also comes with backpack straps so if you don't get that awesome strap I was just talking about you could just carry the car seat on your back. Bonus: A lot of the times just before we get on the plane we toss our coats into the car seat bag so we don't have to deal with them on the trip.
3. JL Childress Standard and Dual Stroller Travel Bag ($34.99) - We had a giant, non-padded stroller bag for a while and it got completely mangled over the course of a few flights and eventually split right open, the stroller and pieces fell out and in the process the airline broke our nice stroller....sooo now we have a nicer, padded bag to save ourselves some trouble. Our stroller is giant so we chose this one but sometimes you can find nice ones created for your specific stroller.
4. Skip Hop Little Kids Backpack (19.99) - A backpack that is small enough for the kids to carry their own headphones, snacks and entertainment = genius.