Cross Country trip with 20 month old...any advice welcomed!

Kelsie - posted on 02/12/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )




I have rarely flown anywhere in the first place and now I am flying from Montana to Maryland to meet my husband's family. The trip itself is stressing me out. We just found out that I am 2 months pregnant and are going to tell his family in person which on top of introducing myself and our son is going to be interesting.

We have two layovers on the way there but each is only about 2 hours which is not what scares me. The 5 hour flight from Chicago to Baltimore is what makes me nervous. My son will be 20 months when we take the trip and I can only imagine what 5 hours in a confined space will be like. In my imagination it is truly scary. I would appreciate any stories and advice that can help me make peace with this trip on any level.

We only paid for seats for my husband and myself thinking that holding my son on our laps will make the trip a little easier but I am not sure if I need to let the airlines know ahead of time that he will be on our laps. We booked our flights online and there was no spot to include him. We are flying with Alaska Airlines and another one, like I said flying is not my thing, but the websites say nothing about traveling with a toddler. Input on that would be helpful as well.

I am going to take my laptop which has some of my sons favorite movies and such on it but the battery only lasts 3 hours...and in total we will be in airports and planes for 14 hours...the math isn't good. Is a portable DVD player worth purchasing or will I have the same problem? I also will be taking snacks and toys and such to try and entertain him so any advice on what has worked for other families would be awesome.

The kicker is that we are driving my husbands car from Maryland to Montana to get home...thats right...a 3,000ish mile road trip with a 20 month old and a 4 month pregnant me. Again I will have my laptop and my husband is looking into a cord that plugs into the cigarette lighter which will be awesome for that situation but what if my son tires of the movies. He does pretty good in car rides and we took a practice 30 hour road trip around Montana last weekend. He was bored after about 4 hours at night and refused to go to sleep due to napping throughout the day. And he was crabby during the day due to lack of sleep and im sure being stuck in the same carseat for an extended period of time. Nothing really calmed him down. We were making excessive pit stops to try and relax him and let him walk around gas stations and play at parks and such. I do not want to be on the road forever due to pit stops but I want my son to enjoy the trip. Any tips or secrets from anyone would be great!

I know this is alot to ask but I figured it would be easier to ask it all at once. Thank you to anyone who has anything that could help. :)

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Melanie - posted on 02/12/2010




I have flown (from the midwest to Seattle)with all of my children at different ages, but one thing I swear by is Benadryl. My doctor actually recommended it to open everything up so their ears don't bother them. I also bring lots of books, toys, a special blankie etc. Have never resorted to DVD players and we made it without a lot of fuss.
As for letting the airline know, they do like to know b/c it determines where they seat you. I usually tell them when I check in.
During long layovers I make sure to find an area with fewer people and let me kids run a little bit (within reason of course). They also love to watch the planes come in and go out.
I hope your trip goes well and remember sometimes it doesn't all work out as planned, but you will learn as you go.

Tiffany - posted on 02/12/2010




I just took a 3 hours plane trip with an almost 3 year old by myself and it went better than expected. Bring lots of toys and snacks with you, as well as a blankie or stuffed toy to snuggle. My son had his own seat which gave us room to move around a little. Also, look to see if you can get the seats just behind first class - they are usually reserved for handicap, but if not taken, you can request them. It would give you more leg room and more "play" room. Also, ask the flight attendants about the restrooms and if they have a pull down for diaper changes. My first flight did not have one and my son decided to have the world's biggest poop while on the plane during turbulence and we had to change him standing up on the toilet. The flight home had one (thankfully!). We played with books, cars, trucks, sticker books, magna-doodle boards and watched the clouds go by.

As for the long drive, three words...portable DVD player! And lots of movies. We've been taking our son on long trips since he was 6 months old, but we split the drive up - no more than a 7 hour day, with at least a one hour stop for lunch and play. Again, lots of snacks and books. We are lucky as our son LOVES cars and trucks and will spend hours telling us what we are seeing on the highway - keeps him entertained. Check to see if there are any "kiddie" places that you can stop at along the way and spend some time with other parents and their kids. If you can, take your time and enjoy the scenery. Good luck! I hope your visits and introductions go well.

As for sleep/naps, they'll be crabby, but will catch up once they get home :)

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