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We just got back from our week long trip to visit grandpa in Oregon! It was a fun filled week of adventures, exploring, and hanging out with my dad and his wife on the West Coast. The last time I have been on that side of the country I was ten years old! It’s been about 4 years since I’ve taken a plane anywhere. Thinking of going alone with my almost two year old toddler had my anxiety through the roof!
With lots of preparation, prayer, and planning, I managed to pull it off with my sanity (mostly) in tact!
I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and in my mommy groups searching for entertainment and snack ideas plus tips and tricks to make things as easy as possible. I scoured different blogs and Instagram accounts looking for products that other mamas used for travel with a toddler and found some of the best ones that truly helped me. I’m going to go over some of these with you as well as some things I’ve picked up over the last couple of months in preparation for this trip.
In this photo you will see just about everything I packed into our backpack for our cross country flight. We had a quick flight from SC to Atlanta, then a 5 hour flight to Portland.
Initially I had planned to wear him, but as he is getting older and more fiercely independent, I decided on a stroller. I bought the one you see here second hand for 16$, so that if anything happened to it I wouldn’t be heartbroken. I kind of love it though! It’s lighter than my regular stroller and easy to travel with.
I forgot that our local airport is TINY and we probably didn’t need to get there two hours early. We breezed through security (they let us go through precheck too) and walked in circles for an hour or so before we could board. We got to see some planes, and watch the sun rise though!
The co-creator of the SugarSNAP files, Tarah, kindly sent me a set of their amazing diaper bag organizers to try out for our trip.
The SugarSNAP files are featured in my Mom Boss Monday series, and you can read more about them in that post if you’re interested!
It was so nice to have a little extra organization in my giant diaper bag backpack! I didn’t end up using the ‘me and mine’ or ‘lotions and potions’ sections, so I unclipped them and put them in my suitcase. The ‘snacks and supplies’ section got the most use!
I put a lot of the flat activities in that section and it was so easy to just pull that part out when we got on the plane and stow it under the seat. That way I could put the backpack in the overhead compartment and not have to worry about needing to dig around in there to get stuff out when my busy toddler got bored or restless.
I used the tiny toddler leash backpack (sans leash) as well to store under the seat. I put a sucker, a couple snacks, a lightweight blanket, paci, and some small toys in that bag. That was for the items that may have been too bulky for the file but that I still needed to have on hand and not above my head.
I’ve been wanting a bento box for Leopold for the longest time, so I was thrilled to receive one to review from Stuck On You! It came just in time to take it with us to Oregon and it ended up being SUPER useful on the way there. I love how solid and sturdy it feels, and it’s the perfect size!
I tried to follow the guidelines on each compartment for this trip and pretty much nailed it except for the grapes in the dip/yogurt compartment.
When we boarded our second, longer flight to Portland, we ended up sitting on the plane for just about an hour waiting for them to fix something. Eventually they realized it wasn’t going to happen, so they set out to find us a working airplane.
I’m happy they didn’t try to get us there on any plane that wasn’t working properly, but it was such a pain to unload everything and then have to find the new gate and wait for about an hour and a half to get back on and leave.
Fortunately we had this little lunch packed and didn’t have to spend anything on airport food.
Leopold was a little champion the entire time. We sat on the floor to wait for the next flight and eat our lunch. I gave Leopold two of the toy cars I’d bought new for the trip and he played so nicely with them. He met a little girl that was a year older and they had a blast playing together. That really helped him get that last bit of energy out!
We had been up since about 5am and didn’t board the next flight until close to 2pm. He was definitely in need of a nap!
I knew I wanted to dress him comfortably for the flight, and these pants from Ittikid were absolutely perfect to travel in! They aren’t too thick or too thin, they are stretchy and comfy and CUTE.
Ittikid sent me these pants for free for Leopold to model and try out and we LOVE them. They are by a Scandinavian brand so it’s not a print you see a lot of here in the United States. They also have big pockets which are perfect for Leopold’s tiny animals that he takes EVERYWHERE.
The shirt was made by yours truly! If you need any baby or toddler t-shirts made, message me on Instagram or Facebook and we can come up with something cute together!
Thanks to Hurricane Irma, our first flight to Atlanta was only half full so we got a row to ourselves. He still sat on my lap for the trip though…of course!
We took some silly photos and the flight was over before we knew it.
I heard a lot of people tell me not to do pre boarding with a toddler…to board LAST, but we did pre boarding anyway. This actually worked out better for us, personally. I get really anxious knowing that we are moving slow and take time to get settled when there are people trying to get past me or waiting behind me.
It was nice to board with other moms and toddlers. I could then let Leopold crawl around in our row before people arrived. That also gave me time to put up our bags and get settled.
He was starting to nod off as we landed in Atlanta, but I didn’t want him to nap yet! I’m glad I made him wait because when he finally did pass out he slept for about two hours.
We were in the middle seat and the entire plane was full so it was nice to have him being still. I even got to watch most of a movie! We had his muslin dino blanket and ‘baby puppy’ in his little backpack so it was easy for me to reach down and grab them when he started getting drowsy.
We took our new toddler socks that we were gifted from Pals sock company.
They were great to have on the plane so he didn’t have to wear shoes but wasn’t barefoot either. Obviously, they are super cute…so that’s always a bonus! We flew with Delta all the way there, and United all the way back. Want to know which one I prefer?? 😉
We didn’t get man handled flying with United which was good, but sheesh they sure are money suckers!
With Delta, we got a box of treats when our flight was delayed. They brought out carts FULL of food and bottles of water for us to snack on at the gate. They had touch screen monitors on every seat, equipped with movies and TV shows on demand. Leopold loved being able to watch Moana and Lion Guard when he wasn’t sleeping.
We got these headphones to review from “Ailihen” headsets a few months ago. They fit him really well and they also fit me, so I was able to use them while he was asleep.
For our return trip, I realized I didn’t NEED all the stuff I took the first time. After downsizing, I learned my suitcase was too heavy!
I ended up packing 4 pounds BACK into my carry on. UGH. Luckily the stroller was useful for carrying the backpack!
I’m so in love with his teeny tiny toddler giraffe backpack that was sent to us for review from GabbyBox. It came with a leash which I tucked into the bottom just in case, but didn’t end up needing it. We got so many compliments on it!
On the way back when we had to fly with United Airlines, we used the kindle a lot since they require you to swipe your card to watch ANYTHING on their headrest TV’s. Not even touch screen either. Puh.
He LOVES Little Baby Bum on Youtube and Netflix so that kept him happy for a while. He only slept for about 20 minutes this time…so that was fun.
I let him stand up between my legs to do some of our activities so he could stretch his legs. Also because the tray table would fold down all the way with both of us sitting there. Thanks a lot, thunder thighs.
On the flight from DC back home, he did get his own seat which was really nice. After a rough and long morning it was a nice break. And how sweet is he, holding my hand?!?!
The window clings came in handy for the last hour or so of our flight to Portland when he was getting antsy. We stuck them to the TV and that made him more interested in Mickey and the Roadster Racers. Pro tip, if you’re flying in the next couple of months, just stalk the Target Dollar Spot!
I found some sticker activity books at Goodwill which entertained him for a good stretch of time. Stickers are never a bad choice with a toddler!
We never used the Buckle Buddy because and this point he isn’t great at operating those things and it just frustrates him. I also packed him a change of clothes, diapers and wipes, and an empty water bottle that I filled up after we got through security. I took a bottle for me but it just ended up being an inconvenience.
We had a wonderful time in Oregon with family! I can now say I survived flying across the country with a toddler on my lap!
It wasn’t easy or comfortable but I did it without pulling my hair out, and he was a champion…like usual. We had multiple people tell us he did great and was a great flyer! I’m very proud of my boy!