…based on my personal experiences this weekend.
1) Stroller = restraint. With a little creativity, it can be used as a high chair, should a venue not provide any (ahem, Texas Discovery Gardens).
2) The child will scream on the plane. Oh how I scoffed when someone suggested I hand out earplugs to the people seated around us. Boy did I wished I had some to offer when the time came!
3) Most major international airports have trams or trains that link terminals. Using your stroller as a restraint/car seat, ride the tram in a big circle as long as the kid stays asleep. I was able to read emails/blogs and play candy crush while she napped this way.
4) Google your airport for kid play areas. There were several at DFW, but without googling where they were located, I would’ve been looking around forever. Unfortunately, they were not completely enclosed, so because most toddlers are freaking Houdinis, team up with other parents to build a barracade across the entrance out of strollers and suitcases.
5) Let your kid run free down the terminal halls to expend energy prior to the flight. Stay right on their heels, of course! Discourage/restrain them when they try to grab people’s iPads/laptops/sodas. Take them up and down an escalator. Let them press buttons on an (unused) elevator.
6) The mess you leave behind in the seats when you leave the aircraft is atrocious. Oh well. We used a box of bandaids as entertainment, so imagine all the wrappers that were everywhere. Our bag of rocks spilled several time. Not to mention all of the crunchy, munchy snacks all over the seat and floor. Put aside your type A tendencies, and let the people who clean after you leave do their job.
7) It really sucks when the screen of your tablet breaks before the flight starts. All those toddler apps and videos would’ve been SO AWESOME for killing time. So the moral of the story is… put your screen in a protector of some sort!!!
8) Do not board the airplane without at least 2 of whatever helps your kid sleep. For us, it’s a bottle. And we only had one prepared. Because of turbulence, beverages were not served in flight. So we were SOL. Luckily she (eventually) fell asleep anyway. I did have pacifiers in every pocket of every bag, though, so yay me.
9) Plan to arrive at events on time or even late, and leave events early. The baby couldn’t stay up past 9:30 central time (10:30 home time). This meant we missed out on later events… but guess what, we had tons of fun in the sand pit and water tables at Perot Science Museum, and visited many local playgrounds! We tried not to be early to dinners, weddings, or meet ups. My toddler can only last in one place so long. This includes boarding the plane… the less time stuck on the plane, the better, so board last!
10) Prepare for baby jet lag after the trip. Mentally prepare, that is. My kid slept great at the hotel while traveling, and spent 3 total hours screaming and whining in the middle of the night last night at home because she was awake and wanting to play.