No matter the length of the flight, I hate being on airplanes. Adding a three year old into the mix is downright crazy but sometimes you have no choice.
It has been some time since I went on a trip and I was really itching to get out of town. A little over a month ago I randomly decided that as a three year old, this is the perfect time to take Savannah to Legoland! Paul can’t get time off from work like I can so I planned a special Mother’s Day getaway for just my girl and I. Then I realized that a flight and theme park with a toddler would probably be too much for me alone so I invited one of my younger brothers along! After having a semi flawless airplane experience I have some tips for you lucky parents taking a little one on a plane!
1. Prep them early.
Our flight was on a Friday and I wanted to prep Savannah for the idea of riding in an airplane early. Being so young, Savannah has no concept of time so I had to be careful with how early I brought the topic up otherwise she would think it’s happening that day. She’s trying to learn what tomorrow means and what the days are called so the Monday before the flight I told Savannah that on Friday she would ride an airplane with Uncle Tyler and I. Every morning and every night I would go over what day it currently was and that we were going to ride an airplane Friday morning. She loves airplanes so this was very exciting for her. I’ve found that when she is looking forward to something she is more willing to behave herself. She was prepped and ready to go.
She wore her favorite Cinderella dress and was thrilled to be inside an airport. This wasn’t her first time but it’s the first time that she is aware of her surroundings. An added bonus for her was getting to ride the tram to our gate. She called it her train (everything is hers) and giggled all the way through.
2. Fly during sleepy times.
This one is easy. Fly during the very early morning or late at night so the little one will most likely fall and stay asleep. Our flight took off at 7:55am so not exactly early for us but we had been awake since 5 that morning so little Savvy was tired.
3. Travel light.
Check in as much of your belongings as possible. You don’t want to lug around a ton of bags plus a toddler. I had my theme park purse (yes, I have a designated theme park purse and it’s a small cross body Michael Kors), the diaper bag backpack we use for travel that was filled with cameras and my laptop, the car seat (a small one for flying), Savannah’s little backpack for her to carry, and my brother had his own little carry on. This is a lot to walk around with, especially with a tot that refuses to stand on escalators!
4. Parents need prepping too!
I didn’t think about this one until we were already at our gate and I was getting frustrated. I chose for Savannah to not eat breakfast at home so that we could eat airport food at the gate. It gave us something to do without taking anything out of our bags. The airport experience was moving along nicely up until this point. The man over the intercom announces that it’s time for pre-boarding and that people needing assistance are going first. For some reason everyone at the gate took this as the signal to make a mad dash to the lineup area. We had our little breakfast party spread out on the floor partly because it’s just easier for me with all this stuff and partly because there were no more seats at the gate for us. This stampede of people led to us being a bit jostled and Savannah started getting upset (she really does not like strangers or people invading her personal space). I should have really prepared myself for the people that don’t care or don’t understand that traveling with a little one can be difficult. This was our only hiccup so I’m thankful for that!
5. Carry on something you know your tot loves to do or something completely new that they don’t know about yet.
As a reward for getting 100 stickers on her potty training board and for consistently using public toilets I get Savannah her very own Kindly Fire HD Kids’ Edition. (I’ll do a review of it and some apps once she has used it a bit!) She had no idea it was in her backpack until she was strapped into her car seat on the plane. I also got her matching pink head headphones that are child sized so she wouldn’t get upset that mine are too big.
She uses an iPad at school so she calls her kindle an iPad because that’s what she’s familiar with. The entire flight (55 or so minutes) she was enraptured and most importantly quiet. Her headphones were great because the people around us didn’t have to listen to the game sounds and I was able to take a short nap.
6. Window seats are the best!
Before we were allowed to turn the tablet on Savannah was entertained with looking out the window. It was rainy and there were a lot of airport employees out on the tarmac. She loved learning about what the people outside were doing and she had a little lesson in not putting her feet on the seat back in front of her.
I had a rental car reserved for us but at the last minute (like Wednesday or Thursday) Paul got time off from work and decided to come with us. He couldn’t get a plane ticket so he had to make the five hour drive on his own. The nice thing about that was he got to take our suitcases and the stroller. The only thing we had to check in was Tyler’s suitcase. So easy! Because we were landing before he would get there we planned on him meeting us at the Legoland hotel. The hotel is about 45 minutes away from the San Diego airport so the three of us still needed some kind of transportation. I hired an executive car through Super Shuttle because I figured the car ride would be more peaceful. Savannah slept the whole way to the hotel and it was so needed.
The airport, flight, and getting to the hotel went smoothly and I was so happy to start our vacation on a good note. Savannah’s tablet and headphones can be found here: Amazon Kindle Fire and LilGadgets Headphones.
Happy travels everyone!
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