Tips for flying with 4 kids 7 and under

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People are quick to comment or offer their thoughts on us having four kids. Most of the time, they are well-meaning, but come across poorly. Tell them you are flying across the country with four kids 7 and under and their eyes start to bulge out of their heads.

I wouldn’t say we are experts, but I think that our flying experience and the entire trip went very well, and I want to go again! Soon!

Tips for Flying with four kids.png

1. Pack all the things! Pack as much as you can in your checked luggage. And check those bad boys. (Taking note to fly on an airlines that does free bags helps). Then use backpacks as carry-ons so you can interchange who carries them easily.

pack all the things

1a. Pro-tip. Take a picture of your medicine dosage charts so you have it with you. You never know when you will have an allergic reaction or a tooth ache or something like that and you’ll need to know the dosage of each medicine for each kid. Don’t forget to pack all of those medications, too in your first aid travel kit.

medicine dosages

2. Give yourself plenty of time. And then add on another 30 minutes for errors, shuttles, waiting for elevators, baggage check in and more.

shuttle pictures

3. Give the kids a pep-talk and while you are at it, give yourself one, too. Prepare them for security (taking off shoes), waiting for other people, lines, potty trips, seat belts needing to be worn, etc. I would not recommend the hubby’s version “Girls, you know how everybody tells you how cute you are? Well, airports are full of people that don’t like kids and are there on business. So, be careful, watch out and pay attention!”

4. When you find you have those bonus 30 minutes to sit and wait, take a family selfie. Us-ie? Family-ie?

stop and take a selfie

5. In those carry on bags, pack all of the entertainment: books, tablets/ipads, headphones, markers and coloring books, stickers + paper, and games.

5a. Pro-tip. Make sure all of the movies, read-along CDs and games you want to watch are already loaded onto your system. Even though the internet costs around $8 per device, you probably won’t be able to stream a movie.

Storybook apps are great, as they read, allow solo reading and sometimes have puzzles and games. They all took turns with it on the iPad.

Frozen app

It’s also important to have shows and movies downloaded on the iPad. Of course, having FROZEN downloaded on ALL of the devices was hugely important and crucial!

Surviving air travel

In addition to movies that we own, we love to have several movies and shows downloaded through our Netflix app. And it’s not just Netflix originals, check out the ‘Available for Download’ menu on the Netflix app on your mobile or tablet device and browse all of the titles available to take with you whenever and wherever you want.

We put them on our iPads and our phones making it perfect for travel with out any cellular or wifi service. Octonauts and BeatBugs are wildly popular with our little two.

Pack Your Phone - Little Kid

Of course, there are shows for our older two girls as well. TROLLHUNTERS is good for them as well at The Magic School Bus Ride Again (and sometimes I can sneak that, too!)

Pack Your Phone - Big Kid

Of course, there are also shows that teenagers can download and watch and even the parents, too. Sometimes you are stuck in that hotel room with kids asleep and all you need is your phone and a set of headphones and you can keep up with your favorite shows or binge a new one.

6. All of the snacks. Especially when you will be on a 5 hour flight. We packed an entire bag of snacks and gum. Things we don’t normally eat were also included as bribes (nope, not beneath a bribe at all!) Also, pack empty water bottles/sippy cups as an increasing number of airports are offering water bottle fill-up stations.

7. Extra clothes. For everybody. Diaper wearing kiddos, toddlers, older kiddos, mom and dad. Everybody needs an extra set. You don’t want to travel with puke/poop covered clothes. This also doubles as a nice bonus if your luggage takes an extended trip to a location other than where you are going.

8. Wipes. They come in handy for all ages and can wipe down a nasty surface or dirty hands in a jiffy.

So, you’ve got your bags packed and your kids are all behaving on that flight. Now, relax, lean back, snuggle your sleeping baby and congratulate yourself on a job well done!

Tips for traveling with kiddos

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46 Comments

  1. We fly with our kids a couple of times a year and for us, the most important thing is to make sure we have lots and lots of snacks. Hungry kids are cranky kids.

  2. Great tips. I love packing goodies the kids haven’t discovered yet to provide quiet entertainment through the trip. (Books and stickers are our favorites!)

  3. grandma pat says:

    great tips and I am very glad your trip went well I know you and the hubs very both a bit anxious.

  4. Kids under 12 don’t need to take off shoes at most airports! Lucky duckies – I hate going barefoot!

    1. Yeah, in Atlanta, we didn’t have to remove them and actually were fast-tracked, so we didn’t have to take stuff out of our bags or anything. Unfortunately, at LAX, we all had to remove our shoes and do the whole deal. That wasn’t fun!

  5. This post is about 20 years too late for me. But great tips! I used to let my son pack his own backpack with the things he liked. Once he finished and put it on his back, he realized he had too much because it was so heavy. Lol. Back then, the small portable TVs, discman, walkman, etc were in. My how things have changed! Thanks for sharing!

  6. We’ll be flying next year with a 2,6, and 7 year old. Great tips, and I will certainly be making note of the backpack carryon idea!

  7. Kids 12 and under don’t need to take off shoes at security at any airport, per TSA, so if they made you in LA they were wrong. Also my 6 year old gets TSA precheck ALL the time and only in some airports do they let us all go through (They never let us in Atlanta, they always say everyone has to have it, but we have been allowed in San Diego, LaGuardia, Cincinnati and DC). We travel often and it gets easier the more you do it, I am impressed you do it with 4!

    1. Thank you for the link.

      So, the kids corrected me. They didn’t have to take off their shoes. But, we did. I guess I was expecting to be fast passed again so I was a little thrown off in LAX.

      In Atlanta, they said we were all fast passed, so that’s why we got to go. In LAX, only some of us were, so we all had to do the traditional take everything out bit. And, then of course, I forgot we were traveling with breast milk and forgot to take that liquid out of the bag! Fortunately, we gave ourselves enough time:)

  8. I have.been putting of vacations because of kids, thanks for this it is calming and shows that it can be done

  9. Great tips! I think there are a lot of parents who fly who could use these 🙂

  10. Your idea to take a pic of the dosage chart was awesome. You’re a smart cookie. LOL to your husband’s pep talk.

  11. I don’t have any kids so I don’t know the difficulties of traveling with them but I’ve heard horror stories! I honestly think if you’re organized and utilize fantastic tips like these for when you plan on traveling, it doesn’t have to be that bad!

    I guess I find out soon enough when I have kids of my own one day ^.^

  12. We used the same story book app when we traveled with my 3 year old last month. Oh yeah and extra clothes are a must for you and your kids!

  13. You are so brave. I don’t know if I would do as well with 4 young kids on a plane. I would be a wreck. You rock. All very good advice I imagine. Well done!

  14. These are great tips! And you really are amazing for traveling with four kiddos. I love the family selfie. So cute. And yes, wipes are good for everything, I’ve decided. Even when my boys are in high school, I’m still planning on having wipes in the car.

  15. I can’t even imagine traveling with such a large family! These are great tips though!

  16. Flying with 2 kids is hard enough. I would probably lose my mind if I had 4 lol. These are all great tips though, no matter how many kids you are traveling with!

  17. I love that you all travel together! Thinking about it with my littles gives me anxiety when it comes to flying. We’ve done train but haven’t flown yet. Thanks for the tips – makes me less anxious or nervous about it if and when we decide to fly to where we need to go:) please you taking your crew is inspiring!

  18. Gosh, I remember those days. I use to travel with my two little ones by myself and I had my hands full. Especially if a connecting flight was cancelled or delayed. These are all great tips and you do have to be organized even if you are traveling with just one child.

  19. You’ve got some great tips here. I’ve never had trouble w/the kiddos (knock on wood) but we did have one flight where they wanted to seat my 5-yr old on his own (uh,no) even though we’d called ahead to make sure we were together weeks prior.

  20. You are one brave lady! I hate flying. I haven’t had a reason to get on a plane with my kiddos yet- but when I do, this will be very helpful!

  21. Sometimes, when I take the bus, I can see parents struggling on how they may manage their unruly children. This can really happen to anyone of us. The tips you shared is truly helpful. Any parent should read this post. 🙂

  22. Gahhh!!! Well, having things to occupy their time would be the best thing for us. My little guy gets so bored so fast, especially if he can’t get up and move around. Or being quiet. Yeah, he doesn’t take to that very well. LOL

  23. the dosage chart is GENIUS. i’m serious. i mean the rest of your tips are great as well but that one just is superb

  24. Great tips; backpacks are a must for ease of use. For the trip itself it comes down to distraction….whatever works!

  25. Great tips for flying with kids! I have been on many flights with parents who were not prepared and their children….and everyone else on the flight suffered.

  26. What a great idea to take a pic of the medicine dosage chart! I’ll have to remember that next time!

  27. Flying with 4 kids under 7 would have me running to the hills! I traveled with my two kids when they were little and I didn’t like it at all. My son had a bad stomach bug wen he was 18 months on the plane. Let’s just say I wished my seat was near the bathroom

  28. It’s so hard to travel with little ones. I know that frozen app and books would be a big hit at my house too.

  29. These are great tips! I’ve never flown with all of mine, but we’ve done long car trips and most of these tips apply there as well.

  30. Great tips! We’ve flown several times with our now 3 year old. The next trip will be with both kids!

  31. These are great tips! Danger didn’t have to remove her shoes at security (lucky duck!) but wouldn’t you know that her carry-on bag was the ONLY one of ours that got extra attention from the security dudes? And there was no liquid or metal inside… only child clothes. I agree that anything FROZEN is a must right now! That FROZEN app really got us through the entire wait time and flight time. Hope you guys can fly again soon 😉

  32. My hats off to you. I was terrified to travel with two. Like you, I had a plan though. Giving them things to occupy them and snacks were key!

    Great tips here!

  33. I know what you mean about packing kid activities – we do it every road trip 🙂

  34. Thanks for the list. I travel alone with them so I have my own list too. One thing I would add is Ziploc bags. I keep the extra clothes in them, snacks, diapers that need to be disposed, etc.

  35. Loved your tips. We’re planning our first family travel and hope it’d be this awesome. Really liked the tips on how I could make them behave. Really smart and educational at the same time.

  36. Grandma Pat says:

    These are great tips.

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