This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Park ‘N Fly Airport Parking. All opinions are 100% mine.
Last year, we took a big trip to Argentina. Talk about a flight! All four airports and sixteen-and-a-half hours of it.
I’m so glad we had a few shorter airplane trips with the kids under our belts before we went on the monster flight, because sheesh, that first time, it was stressful.
I packed too much, tried too hard to entertain the kids, and basically had myself in a frazzle before we ever touched down – and it was only a two hour flight.
But I’m happy to say we’ve learned a lot from our experiences, and I’m here to tell you that traveling shouldn’t be any more stressful for mom than it is for anybody else.
8 Tips That Will Eliminate Travel Stress For Moms
Keep Luggage To A minimum
Having less luggage eliminates far more stress than having 15 outfits per person. So be diligent and ruthless when you pack. Can you get by with two shirts? My goal, when I travel, is to fit all of my things – clothes, shoes, and toiletries, into one backpack, and to fit both kids things in one other (at some point as their clothes get bigger, they’ll each require a separate pack, but I’m enjoying this while I can!). Trust me, the less luggage you have to get in and out of cars, busses, and planes, the less stressed you will be!
Get a baby sitter to watch the kids while you pack
In my case, I ask my husband to take over caring for the kids to make my packing fast, efficient, and stress-free with no “but mom, I want to take my superman shirt, five nerf guns, and my roller skates!” whining.
Adjust your expectations
That is to say, don’t expect your kids to act like little adults. Let them wiggle, let them play and make noise as far as is appropriate, and just roll with it. During layovers, we’ve usually been able to find a mostly deserted corner of the airport to let the kids work out some of their energy – usually be running races up and down aisles of seats. On the plane itself, it’s okay to let them talk and giggle, and play little games. I guarantee your fellow passengers would rather hear that than risk flying with cranky kids.
Make a list, then organize it
I know, you probably already have a list, but once your list is made, pull out a new sheet of paper, and start categorizing. Make a list of what goes in each bag – it will make a difference depending on whether it’s a carry on or check bag. Categorize by date too. What can you do ahead of time so that you have less on your plate leading up to your actual travel date? Categorizing will help tremendously to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Start preparing ahead of time
Is this a trip that you need to make snacks for? Make them days – even weeks – ahead of time and freeze them. Buy trail mix, or other snacks, and divide them into individual serving-size snack bags to make handing out snacks easier (this is especially important for flying, where you need snack bags to be 3oz. or less to get through security). One of our favorite travel snacks is protein packed energy bites. They’re so easy to make ahead and freeze, and non-messy to eat!
Prepare your kids for flying
Let them know what to expect going through security, and how you expect them to behave during the flight. The first time I took my kids through an airport, we were a bit of a mess, because their “don’t listen to strangers” training, went into full effect when the security worker tried to motion them through the metal detector in front of me. It wasn’t that big of a deal really, but when you’r flying solo with two toddlers for the first time, you don’t need any extra stress!
Get on the same page with your spouse
We moms have a tendency to do everything ourselves, and it’s not always the best plan. So have a talk with your husband and make as many decisions ahead of time as you can, including who carries what bag – yes, I’m serious! That way you can each grab the things you’re responsible for get on and off the plane, in and out of cars, hotels, etc. without even thinking about it. Make it a family trip, not a mom-does-everything-but-have-fun trip.
Use a great parking service
I’ve done quite a bit of flying over the last two years, and much to my surprise, getting to and from the airport has been one of the biggest stressors (I honestly expected it to be security, but no, security’s no big deal as long as you know the rules!)
Do we ask a friend to drive us to the airport? Do we try to use remote parking and try to corral the kids and all our luggage into a public bus?
Guys, there’s a better way! You can go online or use the app to reserve a parking space at Park ‘N Fly Airport Parking so you know you’ve got a spot when you get there, rather than risking a full airport parking lot and no place to park. Park N Fly easy airport parking then picks you up right at your parking spot and takes you directly to your airport terminal – no walking to the public bus with all your kids and luggage – and then of course, they pick you back up and take you to your car on the return trip, and make sure you get in your car safely (this is especially important if you’re flying alone!).
Their drivers also help load and unload luggage, which is terrific for us families – especially those times mom is flying alone with the kids (because yes, we’re actually crazy enough to do that!).
You also earn free parking through the Frequent Parker Loyalty Program to help make traveling even more affordable.
One Last Thing
With all of these things being said, the very best advice I can give moms for keeping stress out of traveling is to look for ways to simplify. We all know that traveling is one of the greatest experiences we can give our kids, but not at the expense of our own stress levels.
You’re the only person who knows your limits, so it’s up to you to create boundaries, a be vigilant to intentionally keep the stressful situations out of your life.