Traveling with Littles: flights, rides, hacks, and more

July 12, 2023

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I'm  Rachel!

As a mama, wife, and blogger I lead conversations around the ups and downs of life, from practical tips to relatable stories that'll leave you thinking, "hey, I've been there too!"


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About this episode

Here are nine practical tips to help you travel with your littles. Pick and choose the travel tips that you love and try them out in your own travel routine. Traveling can be stressful, so many variables can play into making it a fun or a rough day, but I have learned to find joy in the adventurous moments as a family traveling with littles and I hope a few of these tips will help you do the same!

Practical #1:

There are no rules

 In the Awtrey family, we have one rule on travel day and Thomas can share it with you too, our one rule is that there are no rules on travel day. Here’s what I mean by that: We have two, two and under. Maddex is two and Oliver is 6 months. Traveling is funky, it can be alot. The best way I love myself, love Thomas, and extend grace is to take out the pressure of our normal rules and routines. On any other day of the week if Maddex wanted m&ms and pretzels for lunch it would be a no with a side of convincing him to add some color to his plate, aka veggies. On travel days we take that pressure away, if he wants m&ms and pretzels for lunch then that will be our airport dream meal.

Flying has become so fun for Maddex because we are all treating it as an adventure. Travel anxiety can often come from people you are being led by and I never want my kids to be afraid of traveling/flying/ etc. because I made it stressful. Don’t get me wrong, stress mode is my natural mode when traveling. This type A, planner, thrives in routine personality, can want all the details in order perfectly. That is not realistic for days like a travel day but I have learned to optimize the adventure on the go.

Practical #2

MamaVa App

Nursing and pumping in the airport can be the most vulnerable moment of traveling. Yes, we are doing what our bodies are created to do, nourishing our babies, but it can also be a little uncomfy which is why I want to share this resource with you. 

I stumbled upon a mothers room pod when traveling with Maddex as a baby. It looks kinda like a camper! These might be easy to pass by but they are located in every concourse, near gates, even at the zoo! If you are looking for some privacy and a space to land in the hustle of the day, this is a great space for you! You can locate these with an app called MamaVa. MamaVa makes it easy and helps you find one near you. When you get to the pod, you actually unlock it with the MamaVa app, you can turn up and down lights, airflow, sounds, it is really the coolest experience. Hello Bello has sponsored a few of them so they are decked out, super cute, and feel just a little more comfortable than in the middle of the airport.

Practical #3

Snackle Box 

If you have littles that are snacky which are all of them, but aren’t nursing, I have something that will be so fun for you and them. One way I love to pack travel day snacks is by using the container I normally use for formula. Imagine a tower of cylinder compartments that stack on top of each other, there is a spout you can twist and spin on top and pour formula out.  Instead of filling the compartments with formula, we fill each layer with different snacks. It’s a creative way to have a variety of snacks for the littles without having to reach with a baby on hip, one handed, and into the diaper bag trying to pick the right snack. Another container you can use is a “snackle box” which is the new and improved tackle box but for snacks. This is great for airplanes, road trips, you name it. It helps when Maddex is snacky, in a munchy mood, and wants a little bit of multiple snacks. 

Practical # 4

Decide Once 

Now this rule I have to share credit for, I got from Kendra Adachi. She has been on the show and is the “Lazy Genius” where she makes the things that are important easier for you and leaves space for the things that aren’t as important so that you can have an easier life. She has a set of rules that she lives her life by and one of her rules has rocked my world, that rule is to decide once. In other words, If there is something that is recurring in your life, decide once about it. Maybe you decide that every Monday you cook pasta, decide once and run with it. This rule applies to the airport for me, you can apply it to car trips as well. You may decide to stop one time at a drive through on your road trip, decide once what that restaurant will be and stick to it.  We love, this is so gross, airport chinese food. I don’t know why it just hits different but we love it! Everytime we travel through an airport and it’s time to eat lunch we look for a Chinese spot. Deciding this in advance and sticking to it eliminates arguing, bickering, defying, travel attitudes, it removes it all. No more deciding multiple times, long stops, or indecisiveness, find what works best for your family and decide once. 

Practical #5

Through TSA with Babies 

Going through TSA taking shoes off, putting down bags, the conveyor belts, chaotic noises, it can be a lot. I have learned one thing that makes this easier for me is baby wearing. If you have your baby in a stroller, take them out of a stroller and put them in a wrap or carrier. I love the Solly wrap because it can fold down and fit into my bags better, chunky carriers are great during the day but might be harder for the airport. It gives you a hands free moment that is really helpful. 

Another helpful thought is that you can skip the x-ray machine for your baby, which I recommend, and go through an alternative security check with a metal detector over the big x-ray machine.

If you are nervous about flying with breast milk, snacks, water for formula and you are flying through TSA, speaking from my experience they are so helpful and friendly. Technically these things are considered medical needs so they have to allow them through TSA. They will have to test them but they have to let them through. I hope that eases your worries about bumping heads with TSA because of baby necessary liquids. 

Practical #6

Check car seat, pack in play, and strollers check for free

An additional Awtrey travel necessity is to bring a stroller. We use the doona stroller/car seat and it is amazing for airport and errands. This gives a great space to nap, put them down and run if you need to get to a gate quickly, and you will always use extra space to put your stuff. 

Don’t be intimidated by worrying about it as a carry-on, you can check it as you get on the plane. They store it, and bring it out for you when you exit the plane at your destination. Most airlines even let you bring car seats and pack-in-plays for free on flights. 

Practical #7

What’s in my diaper bag

I have heard the rule of thumb that whatever amount of hours you are traveling, pack that many diapers. If you have an 8 hour travel day, pack 8 diapers. Obviously this will vary by the little, Maddex won’t go through a diaper an hour but Oliver could. I also keep the snack containers in my bag as well. I will keep toys, wipes, chargers, screens, portable charges, anything that the boys could possibly need in my diaper bag. Hand sanitizer wipes are so helpful to wipe down any surface your babies may try to lick, I love sprays and wipes over the gel.

For me, I pack a nursing cover. My favorite nursing cover is by We Are Amma. It is breathable, beautiful,  similar to a poncho. Last diaper bag essential is a diaper changing pad. On a travel day you will often have to change your littles on whatever space you can find, to keep this sanitary and to save space I use puppy pads. Yep you heard it right, they are compact, cheap, and do the job well.

Practical #8

Extra outfit and ziploc bag

In my diaper bag I always keep an extra outfit for each boy and ziploc bags to go with. Whether your little has an accident or gets m&ms all over their shirt, we always have a backup in case the mess just needs a whole new outfit. Ziploc bags are helpful to put dirty clothes in, dirty anything really that you will still need to carry with you. It keeps the dirty clothes in one place and also helps your diaper bag to not get covered in the mess.

Practical #9

Packing with shoe organizer

and bags 

We found this hack and decided to try it for this trip. I told you guys I would update you and here is the update… It was amazing!! When traveling with littles there are so many tiny pieces you are traveling with, whether it’s tiny shirts, socks, bibs, this hack keeps those things together and organized. When we got to the house we unpacked so fast because we just pulled the show organizer out and everything was unpacked and organized. It’s easier for others to help because everything is in one spot and they can just go in and grab the one item needed. Systems make life easier and this is one of my new favorites! 

I hope this inspires you and helps calm your nerves for traveling with the littles! It can be intimidating, it can be worrisome, but it does not have to be as hard as you may feel. There are memories waiting to be made with you and your family, stress and worry have no authority to hold you back. You’ve got this!  Send us pictures of you traveling, message us what worked for you! If you have any other questions or worries don’t hesitate to reach out, I am always here to help a friend out! 

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IMPORTANT NOTE: In the summer of 2023, Behind the Bliss Podcast was rebranded to the new title Real Talk with Rachel Awtrey. Some information and links may have changed since recording this episode.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in each episode are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the podcast host and team or the owner of this Intellectual Property. This podcast is not an authority of legal advice, and listeners are encouraged to seek professional counsel with regard to their brand, business, and otherwise. We hope you enjoy and find value in each episode.

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I am an online encourager based out of Birmingham, AL that's obsessed with my girls and sharing bits and pieces of my life. I wear a lot of hats these days including mama to two boys, military wife, blogger, podcast host and more. You can find me behind the microphone at Real Talk with Rach where we talk about everything from jeans to Jesus, playlists to pop culture, the good and the grief and everything in between. 

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