We have been traveling a lot lately but just recently we took our first flight together as a family of four. Now, I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m an expert by any means BUT we did do some things that we were SO GRATEFUL WE DID so I wanted to make sure to share them with you in case you’re planning on traveling in the near future!
Traveling out of Columbus (Mississippi… not Ohio) is an ordeal. There is a local airport but since it’s the size of our primary bedroom, prices are insanely high. Every other airport is a hefty hike away. This past trip we were flying out to my brother in Salt Lake City to work on his house and (part one) of his wedding (THE BEST WEEKEND!!!!) so we decided to go out of Memphis to take the direct flight. With our 2.5 and 1 year old in tow, we left the house at 2:30 am to drive the 2.5 hours to the airport and have plenty of time to make our flight. With adrenaline running high and sleep cut way short, the girls were running on fumes. The set up we had in place was a life saver especially considering these circumstances.
Months ago my brother sent me a video of a seasoned traveling family rolling their kids on carts in their carseats around the airport. I immediately started looking into the carts and budgeting because I knew we’d have to bring both carseats for the car once we arrived in Utah and we really didn’t want to bring a stroller just for the airport (we knew we’d be fine without one once we got there). Fast forward a few weeks and I went to a local kids consignment with Ellie. I was walking through the store and thought, “It would be so awesome if I could find a used cart here…” I turned around AND THERE WAS ONE! Brand new in the box for half the price. I was giddy. “Thank you, Jesus!!!” Looking back on how useful it was, I would definitely pay pull price if I hadn’t found it! It was worth every penny. The exact one that we used is out of stock everywhere but THIS is what I would’ve bought if I hadn’t found it.
Here’s what we did. We had to take both car seats and a portable crib for Sophie so we checked one car seat in this bag that we borrowed from our friends (Thanks Tudi and Bebe!). We’ve borrowed it from them multiple times and it will also be something I go ahead and buy. It protects the carseat well and even though you look like the epitome of a pack mule, is really convenient to throw it on your back when you are traveling with the kids solo especially. We also checked our two suitcases and the crib. All we had left after that was the diaper bag, a backpack, and the cart with the carseat on it. I wore Sophie in the carrier and we strapped Ellie’s carseat to the roller cart and rolled her around the airport. She loved it and we loved that we were able to keep her close on our way to the gate until we took her out to burn off some energy before boarding.
When it was time to board the plane, we got on during the family board time and Stephen quickly installed the car seat. The roller cart folds up super easily so he stuck that in the overhead bin. Once we arrived in Utah we did everything in reverse. With our setup, Stephen and I were able to handle everything and get it to the car without needing an extra set of hands! We’d definitely do it this way again!
For the plane ride we brought a few books and activities including a little kit from my friend Liz at @clayandplaykits to keep Ellie occupied (tons of other great ideas HERE!). Oh and lots of snacks of course! She ended up seeing the screens on the seats though and it was game over. She watched a little cartoon (without headphones even ha), looked out the window a bunch, and ate before falling asleep… Of course right when we had started the descent to land.
I’m trying to think of anything else that I missed. If you have questions feel free to add them to the comments and I’ll get them answered. The main point – invest in a roller cart! It was a huge life saver and I’m sure that even as our family grows, we will as least always have one kid in the carseat on the cart.
I sincerely appreciate you all shopping through my affiliate links like the ones included in this post. I make a small commission when you purchase through these links at no extra cost to you. These funds help support my family and allow for us to produce better content for you all. I can’t thank you enough for supporting all that we do!